July 31, 2005

Grasping At Straws

As Brian Maloney notes, the left's backlash against his story that Air America founder Evan Cohen might have pilfered nearly half a million dollars in government grant money from the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Clubs in the Bronx is in full, curiously-coordinated swing.

Like a depressing amount of lefty commentary, it's mostly namecalling and context-wrangling. The giggly fratboys say "Basically, it's a Washington Times editorial based off of an unsourced story in a community newspaper", they say, assuming their audience will not bother to check that the story in the Bronx News on which Maloney based his story used un-named sources, rather than no sources at all. This is not unusual - and the fact that un-named sources are used is someone one can certainly use when ascribing credibility to a story or not. We'll come back to this.

Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog has a piece that purports to gut Maloney's story. Read it yourself, draw your own conclusions. But her two major points as I see it are, first, that Maloney bases his story on a piece in a newspaper, the Bronx News, whose existence she can't seem to prove, even though she lives "ten minutes from the Bronx", whatever that means. The Commissar from Politiburo Diktat, however, took care of that for her.

Second: one of her piece's cruxes was the graf "The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club is being investigated, yes. I infer that Progress Media is involved. But no authoritative source has said that Air America is being investigated."

Er, right.

In 1974, a burglary investigation started. They were investigating burglars. No authoritative source said the Nixon Administration was involved.

O'Brien's statement is an interesting parsing of facts. Yes, the NY Department of Investigation is investigating the collapse of Gloria Wise; it was a large non-profit ($17 million dollar budget) that used a lot of government money, some of which was diverted under circumstances that would seem to warrant investigation. Evan Cohen was a Gloria Wise board member, and CEO of Air America. So it's true, the NYDOI is probing Gloria Wise. Will that probe lead them across the East River? Time will, as they say, tell - but Maloney and Michelle Malkin and Hewitt are turning up a story that might eventually draw the investigators from the Bronx to Manhattan's Air America offices.

The apologists also keep trying to separate Progress Media from Air America; remember, over a year ago Cohen and Progress Media were expunged from Air America (a company named Piquant took over). To the apologists, the fact that ownership changed clears the current incarnation of Air America of any involvement.

But unless Evan Cohen left his corner office with a suitcase full of small bills labelled "From Gloria Wise" (or otherwise completely insulated the money in question from being spent by the network), Air America is a beneficiary of the scam - an accomplice, if you will, although I'm sure corporate law has a more direct term.

The simple facts are these; the New York Department of Investigation is looking into the collapse of Gloria Wise. Signs point to Evan Cohen. There is smoke - enough smoke to bring state authorities onto the Wise case. Will the trail lead to Air America's offices? Time will tell. (But the mainstream media won't).

But at least O'Brien tries to address the issue. A leftyblogger, "Mobjectivist", wrote a curiously fact-free and bile-filled tirade, titled with presumably-unintended irony "Baloney and Spew", in which he - well, spews baloney:

Basically the "gotcha" issue involves early fraud by the initial startup player in the network, Evan Cohen. I have not seen the film, but the guy evidently gets slammed hard in the HBO documentary Left of the Dial which focusses on the birthing of AAR.
The "slamming" of Cohen in the movie could be best described as "ninety seconds of hate for Goldstein!" Bad vibes with the staff left the new owners to boot his butt out long ago."Bad Vibes" like inflating the startup capital by 500%.
However, the repercussions have just started hitting the right-wing blovatars (see Brian Baloney, stage right). Maloney and others spin it as stealing $500K from a minority summer boys&girls camp and Alzheimers patients.
"Spin"? The money, earmarked for childrens' and Alzheimers programs, disappeared; the programs followed suit (or were rescued by other government grant-supported organizations); Wise collapsed. What's the "spin"? (The underlying fever-current involves fear that the liberal network has gained traction and innovation in the Limbaugh-ruled world of talk-radio. Um, not on this planet in this lifetime.
Not too puzzling that the right wing talkers lack anything by way of innovations such as show-based message boards, blog comment sections, streaming radio, Democracy Now! podcasts, archives, and satellite radio that the fledgling upstarts have pioneered.
I refute you thus.

By the way - right-wing radio worked out all the legal issues that needed to be dealt with before things like streaming and podcasts could happen. FrankenNet exploited it with modest competence - although their "show-based message boards" and "blog comment sections" are intellectually-impassable wastelands of kool-aid-addled echo-chamberites.

"Mobjectivist" closes with this:

The whole brouhaha over AAR will eventually come down to conspiracies.
I wonder if Mr. Mobjectivist (can I call you "Mob?") realizes that that may literally be both literally true and completely damning to Air America. I mean, Watergate "came down to conspiracies", too - and once investigators proved the conspiracies' existences, people went to jail and the president fell.
Mark Riley of AAR's Morning Sedition has a long history as a community voice in NYC. He provides the link to the flagship station's WLIB roots on AAR.
WLIB, of course, served the Caribbean-American community, until Air America's comfy-white-middle-class programming took over
He pushed the Air America Camp because he likely wanted to give back to the community. He and his cohost Marc Maron, told people on-air several weeks ago that donors could request a refund. I do not intend to ask for my money back.

Maloney, shame on you.

Let me get this straight - Mark Riley supported a summer camp (Yay, Mark), so we should keep hands off the pilfering of half a million government dollars?

Did I read that right?It takes a nation of millions of us AAR listeners to make a difference.And yet all you do is listen to Mike Malloy.

We've had about enough fun, haven't we? But when dealing with the fantasy-based community, one truth stands out above all; the viler the names they call you, the closer to the truth you've gotten.

Yesterday, Spew Spewitt [Ah. Cicero weeps.] ranted up and down over this on his radio show; vile [???] coming out of every pore. He raised lots of conspiracies concerning AAR funding.

I base all I know on trust.

Aaaah. That explains a lot.

Posted by Mitch at 10:27 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 29, 2005

The Cool Party

But don't worry about bogus "parties" filled with dour, rage-impaired, Volvo-driving, free-range-alpaca clad matrons and their mousy, vegetarian, government-employed, ideologically-neutered mates underlings, or the patchouli-reeking, tie-dyed upper-middle-class poverty impersonators, eating overcooked pork and electoral crow.

No, you have a real option; the Patriot Picnic. Don't forget to join us tomorrow, Saturday July 30, at Starring Lake Park in Eden Prairie. (And if you're coming from the northwest suburbs, remember that 494 is going to be closed all weekend - might want to take 169 or 101).

The party starts at 11, lunch at 11:30 (and rumors that it's going to be more Jay Larson hot dogs are apparently in error!). David Strom will be broadcasting his whole show from the park, and we'll be going live after David from noon until 3PM.

We'll have contests, all sorts of audience participation, an interview with District Six congressman and Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, and of course the whole NARN thang, live.

Pre-register at the AM1280 site, so there's enough food!

This party is brought to you by the same people who brought you the Great Debate Party, the Hewitt-Beinart Smackdown, the MOB parties, and a whole list of other great radio to-dos - the good folks at the Patriot.

So don't trust your weekend media party schedule to amateurs. Go with the pros. See you at Starring Lake.

Posted by Mitch at 07:33 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Crappy Party

Kool Aid Report find evidence of a bunch of elitist, capitalist pigs throwing a party:

Diamond Bluff offers the lifestyle many strive for, but seldom attain. Located on a 300-foot-high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, you'll enjoy breathtaking views and sunsets. And the wonders of nature are just outside your door. Large wooded lots accommodate homes as big as your dreams and are also home to many species of wildlife. In addition, they provide the privacy you crave. So come live where eagles soar at eye-level … at Estates of Diamond Bluff.
And the occasion?
Many strive, but few attain – yep, that fits right into the egalitarian mold of Dead Air America Leftism. Assuming you are the keeper of the mold. After all, it was the big shots in the Kremlin who got all the goodies – and so it is for the hosts at Out of Air America (OOAA).
That's right - the local FrankenNet affiliate is throwing a shindig at a place that most of their listeners couldn't afford even if they, say, pilfered the treasury of a large non-profit!
As long as they don’t have fun, and there’s little chance of fun being on the docket, I guess it’s ok.

‘Cmon Lefties, if you’re going to do a remote, take the show to your audience – a union hall, Oak Park Heights prison, or under an overpass (oops, was that too insensitive?). Find one of your highly niche special interest groups and have at it


Posted by Mitch at 07:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

A Good Sign

From our friends at MNDemEx:

"R.T. Rybak was booed at the Humphrey Institute at the U of M today when he said in front of a crowd largely comprised of Brits, at the 'Symposium on International e-Democracy', that the Iraq War is based on lies being promulgated by the government in the media--something he claimed happened during the Viet Nam era and said he didn't think would be able to happen in the internet age."
Some context here: Minnesota E-Democracy is a non-profit which runs a series of putatively-neutral email discussion forums on local, state and national politics. As noted in this forum before, in practice they are about as "neutral" as a MoveOn.org or Democrats.com forum; unlike conservatives (who seem to thrive in the anarchic, do-it-yourself world of the blogs, the left seem to thrive in the hierarchical, hive-like world of the email discussion groups; some of their list management was furthermore openly hostile to conservative opinion to the point of suspending conservative commentators for dubious-to-the-point-of-ludicrous pretenses. As a results, E-Democracy tends to be a DFL/Green safe house.

And yet they managed to put together a group of like-minded foreigners who allegedly booed R.T. Rybak for essentially parroting the same line most of the principals at E-Democracy put forth.

It's a great day.

UPDATE: Or not. There's more-than-credible evidence the story is bogus.


Posted by Mitch at 07:09 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

End of Quagmire

It took sixty years to bring the boys home from the quagmire in Germany:

The US army said on Friday it would hand over 13 of its German bases to Berlin, some perhaps as early as next year, as part of the Pentagon's gradual draw-down of 50,000 troops stationed in Europe.

Almost all of the bases are in or near the southern German town of Würzburg, headquarters of the US army's 1st Infantry Division. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced the 1st ID would move to Fort Riley, Kansas, by the middle of next year.

The other German-based army division, the 1st Armoured, will move to Fort Bliss, Texas, but the timing of its move has not been announced. The division is currently going to Iraq.

If only we'd taken Howard Dean and John Kerry's advice, and turned World War II over to the "Moderate Germanic" troops they called for...

Posted by Mitch at 06:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

The Most Yost

Saint Paul at Fraters does the essential followup on the Mark Yost flap from two weeks ago.

As you may recall, Mark Yost wrote a column in the PiPress a few weeks ago that shredded the media's myopia on the Iraq war. A series of fundamentalist journalist responded with the sort of unsoundably deep ire that people seem to reserve for apostates, for people who don't close up ranks with the pallid, newsprint-stained line.

In particular, they said, Yost's critique was a slap at Knight-Ridder's Hannah Allam, the chain's Baghdad correspondent (Knight-Ridder owns the Pioneer Press). One commenter with a background in journalism, noting my social acquaintance with Yost (which is factual)

"Close ranks", in essense, was the message.

Brian does what a lot of people should have done in the days following the rhubarb; digs up some Hannah Allam ledes - go read 'em - and then:

You starting to pick up a bit of a plot line here? The implacable and daring insurgents, the overwhelmed and vulnerable and frightened security forces, all fighting under the cover of corrupt and incompetent American supervision. A tidy little tale, one that, if accepted, might lead to the eroding of public support for the war, a withdrawal of American troops, and ultimately dire political consequences for the Bush administration. With stakes this high, one can see why so many reporters are true believers of the story. And why they are so desperate to shout down those voices (Yost, the US troops) trying to tell the other side of the story.
Read the whole thing.

Posted by Mitch at 12:34 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Blowing With The Prevailing Wind

The biggest problem I had with Congressman Tancredo's ill-advised remarks last week was that they were a whack in the face of the Moslems in this world that are working - explicitly or implicitly - to rebuke the terrorists among them.

Let me be clear about two things; it is abhorrent that so many Moslems, even among those who abjure terror, will not stand up for Israel's right to exist. It is also human nature; conflict with the Jews is deeply entwined with Arab and Moslem culture; it is going to take a few generations to unwind this deeply-programmed cultural antipathy. It's nothing new; race relations in America have undergone a civil war, a political upheaval, and a century of fitful improvements. In that context, the west needs to applaud the fact that moslem nations like Egypt are finally taking honest looks at how they've fostered extremism; how Indonesia and Pakistan, both nations who've contributed many a terrorist to the jihad, have cooperated; how Mali and Senegal have built democracies.

And so I say encouragement, not threats, are in order.

Which is not to say there isn't opportunism involved. Going with the dominant flow is an integral part of Middle Eastern culture; trained by centuries of weakness and impotence, it's part of the culture, too.

Victor Davis Hanson notes, there are some currents in Arab culture that could be of some help in waging the war.

Hanson expands the example of the father of Mohammed Atta; in the days after 9/11, he was subdued, and denied his son's involvement; as it became clear he wasn't going to wake up with the severed, ticking head a cruise missile in his bed, his support for violent jihad became more open:

for all their braggadocio, the Islamists are cowardly, fickle, and attuned to the current political pulse.

When the West is angry and liable to expel Middle Eastern zealots from its shores, strike dictators and terrorists abroad, and seems unfathomable in its intentions, the Islamists retreat. Thus a shaky al-Amir once assured us after 9/11 that his son was not capable of such mass murder.

But when we seem complacent, they brag of more killing to come. Imagine an American father giving interviews from his apartment in New York, after his son had just blown up a shrine in Mecca, with impunity promising to subsidize further such terrorist attacks. If our government allowed him to rant and rave like that in such advocacy of mass murder, then we would be no better than he.

The other lesson is that the war the Arab autocracies thought was waged against the West by their own zealots has now turned on them. The old calculus of deflecting their failures onto us by entering in an unspoken unholy agreement with the Islamists is coming to an end. George Bush’s “You are either with us or against us” is belatedly arriving to the Middle East’s illegitimate regimes.

It's a long-standing current:
In the 1940s the raging -ism in the Middle East was anti-Semitic secular fascism, copycatting Hitler and Mussolini — who seemed by 1942 ascendant and victorious.

Between the 1950s and 1970s Soviet-style atheistic Baathism and tribal Pan-Arabism were deemed the waves of the future and unstoppable.

By the 1980s Islamism was the new antidote for the old bacillus of failure and inadequacy.

Each time an -ism was defeated, it was only to be followed by another — as it always is in the absence of free markets and constitutional

And the presciption, per Hanson?:
Quite simply, Islam is not in need of a reformation, but of a civil war in the Middle East, since the jihadists cannot be reasoned with, only defeated. Only with their humiliation, will come a climate of tolerance and reform, when berated and beaten-down moderates can come out of the shadows.

The challenge for the Middle East is analogous to our own prior war with Hitler who sought to redefine Western culture along some racial notion of a pure Volk long ago unspoiled by Romanizing civilization. Proving the West was not about race or some notion of an ubermenschen ruling class did not require an “internal dialogue,” much less another religious reformation, but the complete annihilation of Nazism.

So it must be with the latest fad of radical Islamicism. Contrary to popular opinion, there has not been a single standard doctrine of hatred in the Middle East. Radical Islam is just the most recent brand of many successive pathologies, not necessarily any more embraced by a billion people than Hitler’s Nazism was characteristic of the entire West.

Very much worth a read.

Posted by Mitch at 12:10 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Climate of Hate?

I've been following the devolutions of the Air America/Gloria Wise funding flap at Michelle Malkin and Cap'n Ed's sites; allegedly, Evan Cohen - Air America's first CEO - "borrowed" a ton of money from a charity on whose board he served; the charity has fallen on difficult times; says Ed:

It turns out that the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Clubs almost had to shut its doors following a funding shortfall despite receiving a half-million dollars in grant money and much more in city contracts, getting rescued at the last moment by other independent groups. The $500K in grant money had been loaned out -- to Air America
Of course, Air America's financing is an endless train wreck.

But here's the part I think is interesting. Air America's association with the Gloria Wise foundation is a serious, public thing; it even has prompted them to name one of their kids' summer camps, "Camp Air America". Here in the Twin Cities, other non-profits and charities - including Chrysalis, a women's advocacy group, education center and shelter clearinghouse, among many other things - actively participate in Air America advertising, spending grant money to put ads on the flailing local amateur radio outfit.

Remember when Hillary Clinton blamed Rush Limbaugh's ostensible "Climate of Hate" after the Oklahoma City Bombing? The mere act of disagreeing with the establishment mainstream was spun as hatred.

Now - if you're a parent (or, in the Twin Cities, a woman needing help, or a carpenter or a casino-goer) who might happen not to be a radical left-winger, and you hear your favorite non-profit or union in the same breath as the likes of genuine hatemongers as Janeane "They're All Fascists" Garawful or Mike "Republicans are Fascist bastards" Malloy, what does that tell you?

And why is it that non-profits are spending grant money to advertise on a politically motivated network or affiliates like that anyway?

Posted by Mitch at 06:47 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 28, 2005

Promises, Promises

Helen Thomas throws down:

Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president..."The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar."
She should first fly to Paris to consult with Alex Baldwin.

Posted by Mitch at 06:42 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Kiffmeyer: The Real Story

Parts of the state left are grinning like toddlers that just made a huge pants at the story that Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer's office got dinged in a legislative audit.

Marty Andrade takes the notion apart. Read the whole post.

Posted by Mitch at 06:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Law Is A Meatheaded Ass

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Orchard is one of my family's favorite summer and autumn diversions. It's a great place to take the family to pick your own apples, let the kids run around, nosh with the locals, send your daughter on a horseback ride - it's a great little family day getaway.

The spring weather was hell on apples, leaving the Jordan-area institution digging for ways to dig out. They hit on a series of outdoor concerts.

And then they ran up against the niggling, petty wall of the Scott County bureaucracy.

A judge's order Wednesday put an end to an ambitious music series at a Scott County apple orchard -- and, perhaps, to the orchard as well.

Scott County District Judge Rex Stacey ruled that a "Pickin' in the Dark" concert series, which for two weekends brought big-name acts to Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard, be halted until the orchard's owners obtain a proper county permit for the venture.

But John (Topper) Sponsel, whose family owns the orchard near Jordan, said that the family won't pursue permit changes and will pull the plug on the music series, initially intended to run into October. The orchard operation is $2 million in debt, he said, and the county acted unfairly.

"We got cheated," Sponsel said of the judge's order and the county's actions. "That should be in capital letters."

County planning and zoning authorities worry that the concerts will draw excessive traffic to the orchard - which happens to be located in the middle of farging nowhere, far from any towns and many inhabitants of any kind.

The Sponsels have spent twenty-odd years building up a great local business. To be stymied - and driven out of business - by the moronic wheels of county government is a screaming shame.

Scott County: Stick to harassing daycares, OK?

Posted by Mitch at 12:09 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Get Your Boondoggle On

The latest mania among city governments is to provide citywide Wi-Fi (wireless fast internet) as a public utility - in short, to make an entire city a wireless "hot spot".

I've asked since the beginning of this craze - where's the upside? Is it a city revenue generator? Or just another bureaucratic sinecure to feed the maw of local empire-building?

I'm still wondering:

Half of all municipal Wi-Fi network projects won't break even, a JupiterResearch report released Wednesday claims.
The report says that the cost of building and maintaining a municipal wireless network will average $150,000 per square mile over five years. The study acknowledged that the benefits of municipal networks are hard to quantify, but based its estimate that half the networks wouldn't break even on the assumption that the benefit would be $25 per user per month.
The rationale, of course, is to make a city more economically competitive. We apparently have to bleed money to make money.

Saint Paul is currently exploring starting a city wi-fi utility.

Posted by Mitch at 07:28 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Snark Watch

Katherine Kersten, being the only "out" conservative on the Strib's columnist staff, has come in for a lot of snarky, ugly, shallow, probably-envious attacks from a lot of local leftyblogs.

My project for the day: patrol the regional leftyblogs to find the snarkiest, ugliest, most mindlessly ugly response to today's column:

In 2005, who's in the vanguard of the "counterculture," living a truly "alternative lifestyle"? For my money, it's Jim and Nadine Reinhardt of Burnsville.

In this age of families averaging 2.1 children, the Reinhardts have nine youngsters, ranging in age from 18 to 3. This is the first time since the first year of their 19-year marriage that they haven't had a child in diapers.

Two missions for you, should you then gentle reader choose to accept them:
  1. Help me find the ugly, snarky, pointless replies, or
  2. Write the best "parody" leftyblog snark about people like the ones featured in Kersten's column
Carry on.

Posted by Mitch at 05:34 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack


I had a new one today.

Comment spammers, of course, are going farther and farther afield to find new domain names ("xxxxxx.com" is a domain name) to try to thwart filters and Blacklists and so on.

They're also raiding old, expired domains from people and companies who let their registrations lapse.

Today, I saw a comment (actually more like 40 comments) from a domain that used to belong to a company which, during the cha-cha dotcom boom, was a mortal competitor of the cha-cha dotcom I worked for.

And, now that I think of it, the dotcom I worked for hasn't had a website update since 2002. Maybe I'll see it in my comment box soon...

Posted by Mitch at 05:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Lonely Geeks Worldwide Take Hope

Submitted without comment.

Posted by Mitch at 05:01 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

July 27, 2005

Race To The Radio

Sometimes the dark horse wins.

Even on the radio!

Marty Andrade and Tony Garcia are starting a new radio show, at KNSI in Saint Cloud, beginning this Sunday from 1-3PM.

Last spring they briefly had a show on AM-1570 "The Deuce", on Sundays here in the Twin Cities. For a couple of college guys, the show was actually pretty darn good, well-spoken, and if not "polished" at least creditably smooth. And they know their politics better than a whole lot of hosts working full time jobs at actual stations (and I'm not just talking Wild Wendy here...). They're also pretty energetic - they've already got the entire Sixth District GOP slate of candidates booked. This should be a great show.

So here's the deal: Give Marty and Tony a listen, either on the air (AM 1450) or via the webstream. And give them a call - 320-251-1990. They'd love to hear from you.

And if you're a MOBster from the greater Saint Cloud area, please pass the word to your neighbors and readers. This is the kind of programming we need to support; solid, grass-roots talk radio. KNSI is to be not only congratulated; they need to see numbers!

Posted by Mitch at 06:25 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Reforms Overdue

On last week's NARN, Captain, King and I had an hour-long discussion about the current decay in the institution of the family. It started with the current fad of the mean-nothing wedding vows, and moved on to divorce via Covenant Marriages.

The decline of the family is one of those rare issues where the mainstreams of both the left and right are wrong.

Naturally, the left is wrong for more cynical reasons; as long as the family court system is a cash cow for social "service" bureaucracies, the current "winner take all" system (where one party to a divorce walks away with the house, the kids, and years of child support income) is just fine by them.

The right, on the other hand, idealistically buries its head in the sand, saying "we oughtta make divorce harder to get" - which is naive, impossible, and probably ill-advised in a lot of ways.

Of course, if everyone agreed divorce were a lousy way to settle marital difficulties, it'd go away. And everyone knows it's a lousy thing - right?


Men fear divorce more than women do, and are statistically much more likely to resist divorce. Women are much more likely to find the notion of divorce an acceptable way of dealing with whatever is ailing their marriage.

The reason? Divorce costs men more.

  • Women win 90% of contested custody cases; the non-custodial parent ends up playing only a peripheral (and in some cases, legally-hamstrung) role in raising the children.
  • The legal uninvolvement ends at the checkbook; child support awards are large, difficult to modify based on circumstance, and if the custodial parent is on public assistance, enforced with savage tenacity by the county authorities; non-custodial parents (usually men) routinely lose drivers and professional licenses if they're unable (not unwilling, mind you) to pay their arrears.
  • Custodial parents get the bulk of the couple's community property.
  • Most galling of all, in most jurisdictions custodial parents have broad latitude to move out of the jurisdiction, even out of state, without any consequences at all from the other parent. The children can be (and routinely are) ripped from the non-custodial parent's life for, essentially, the convenience of the custodial parent (usually the mother), with no recourse (and no reduction in child support payments).
In last session of the Minnesota Legislature, there was a move to rationalize some of these laws, and make them fairer. Among the bills that came (and went) was Rob Eastlund's bill that would have created a presumption of joint physical custody in the event of a divorce, unless there were a reason not to (and I'm getting sick of having to add that qualification all the time, as if the majority of fathers are base, worthless characters against whom children need to be protected). The bill basically died in committee.

It needs to come back to life.

A "Presumption of joint physical custody" means a number of things:

  • Both parents would have equal say in key decisions regarding the childrens' lives; education, religious upbringing, medical care, and all the other decisions in which non-custodial parents' wishes are currently so cavalierly disregarded.
  • It would spread the financial burden of raising children more equally, and substitute actual spending on children for "child support"
  • It would keep both parents actively, constantly involved in childrens' lives. Study after study has shown that boys who grow up with fathers who aren't a constant part of their lives are vastly more likely to get in trouble (a huge percentage of our nation's prisoners are from single parent households); girls who grow up without fathers are vastly more likely to get pregnant; in short, all other things being equal, single-parent custody is an unmitigated disaster.
Radical feminists oppose this, of course; it inconveniences women (although thankfully some people are starting to see through the lunacy).

Why is this important?

Read Mark Yost's editorial from yesterday.

When writing about the ongoing fight to make joint physical custody the rule instead of the exception in Minnesota (like 37 other "progressive" states), I frequently get e-mails asking why it's such a big deal. I hope to never hear that question again from anyone who reads the tale of Nakia Porter.

His troubles began when Angela Strong wanted to move to Florida with their 9-year-old daughter (they were never married). Porter told Strong that he intended to go to court to block the move.

"My daughter would start crying," Porter said in an interview. "She didn't want to move. She didn't want to have to choose one parent over the other."

He reassured his daughter that "the adults" would work it out. Then on April 7 Porter received a frantic call from his mother. A moving truck was at Strong's New Hope home, taking her and her daughter to the Red Lake reservation in northern Minnesota.

This is painfully common - custodial parents deciding that getting on with their lives is more important than their kids' well-being.

"But doesn't the law protect the non-custodial parent?" Any guesses?

Remember - Mr. Porter has joint custody:

The next day Porter's attorney got a Hennepin County court to issue a temporary emergency order giving him primary residential custody of his daughter. The order gave Strong only supervised visitation because she was deemed a flight risk, but it was too late.

Strong requested a custody order from the Red Lake Tribal Court, but according to a Hennepin County felony warrant issued on June 16, "the Red Lake Nation Tribal Court dismissed defendant's case on May 4, 2005, and directed defendant to return to Hennepin County to address matters of custody and visitation in Hennepin County Family Court."

Porter saw his daughter briefly after the Red Lake hearing.

"You could tell she felt uneasy about the whole thing," said Porter, who noted that Red Lake authorities were in the room throughout the 15-minute visit.

Strong appealed the Tribal Court's May 4 decision. A hearing was scheduled for Monday, but when this column was written the court had not yet ruled.

Porter's attorney expected the court to rule in her client's favor because the grounds for Strong's appeal was, "They don't obey our courts, why should we obey theirs?" the attorney said.

The situation: The joint-custodial father is having to go to serious expense, stress and time loss to get his daughter back where she's supposed to be. If he didn't have joint custody, he wouldn't even get that far.

Some solace:

Strong finally turned herself in last week, the warrant was cancelled and she was released after posting a $15,000 bond, the county attorney's office said. She's due back in Hennepin County court on Aug. 16. If she doesn't appear, the court can issue a bench warrant, but it's not enforceable on the reservation.

Strong has since returned to the Red Lake reservation. Repeated attempts to contact her were unsuccessful.

"We are now looking at a case where it is becoming a very real possibility that we will not be able to get that child back," said Wunsch.

In the meantime, a custody hearing is scheduled for Sept. 27 in Hennepin County Family Court. It's expected that Porter will be given primary custody, but, like all the other court orders in this case, if Strong stays on the reservation the order will be unenforceable.

The "good" news?
While many of you are probably shaking your head after reading this, I'm sorry to report that Nakia Porter is one of the lucky ones. That's because he has joint physical custody of his daughter.

Indeed, ask any dad who doesn't have joint physical custody what his chances are of getting the cops to listen to complaints that he didn't get the kids last weekend. Or the chances of a court keeping the custodial parent from moving the child out of state. "Fat chance" is the likely response.

"Because they have joint physical custody, it's not presumed that she can move," said Lymari Santana, Porter's attorney. "That would fundamentally change the visitation."

Without joint physical custody, getting permission to leave the state is a mere formality for most custodial parents. Critics often say that noncustodial dads are gung-ho for joint physical custody because it would reduce their child-support payments.

But as anyone can see from the sorry tale of Nakia Porter, it's about a lot more than that. It's about having significantly more standing in the eyes of the court. More important, it's about being an integral part of your kid's life.

That, frankly, is all most noncustodial dads want.

"Family" court needs a huge overhaul. And the overhaul could have gotten a good start last session; bills to force a presumption of joint custody and to rationalize child support schedules both came up - and faded quickly away. Reform is anathema to the left - whose pledge seems to be "happy mothers equals happy children" - and for the right, too often, it takes more effort than to say "divorce is bad!", or to believe that raising kids is women's work anyway.

And yet changing the presumption - from "winner takes all" to "presumption of joint physical custody" - would remove one of the key "benefits" to getting divorced; it'd require both parents to remain in some proxity to each other, for the good of the kids, to be sure, but it'd make divorce a lot less convenient. It would reduce the social cost of divorce, including the delayed social costs of depriving children of a parent for most of their childhoods.

It might make people think twice before getting married. Given that 40% of marriages break up these days, that's not a bad thing.

Posted by Mitch at 12:05 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Battle of Britain - June 26/27

Sgt. Campbell is busy...

We got rained out yesterday, so we spent the day getting caught up on maintenance on the planes; we've been flying patrols pretty constantly over the Channel. Word has it that a couple of Jerry torpedo planes snuck through and sank some ships. It's a pity, but it's terribly hard to fly a single-seater plane in that sort of weather. Nothing to be done about it - not yet, anyway. We just lose too many pilots. 601 Squadron lost another man yesterday, over the Channel, shot down by a Messerschmitt.

Bear in mind, 85 Squadron has lost two pilots in the past two weeks. That's from an establishment of 12 pilots. We have replacements, but it takes time to train them and get them fit to fly operations.

Today is shaping up to be a slow one, thankfully. Heavy clouds over the channel. Word of skirmishes, but nothing certain. More later.

Posted by Mitch at 12:02 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

"There Is Complacency In A Union"

The NewPats ponder the AFL-CIO split.

I've been a union member. I'm all for unions. Collective bargaining is a perfectly fine thing. I support it - as an element in a competitive process, mind you.

Oh, I doubt I'd want to work in a union again; the union I was in and the unions I worked among when I worked in open shops seemed to be run by the type of people who want their work doled out in bite-sized, repetitive, predictable pieces. I'm not like that. But I'm saying this mainly to establish that I'm not "anti-union" in the least. Merely against them having a disproportionate voice in government.

Note that I said "government", not "a political party" - although in Saint Paul, they seem like the same thing sometimes.


I'm still not sure what to make of today's seen-it-coming-for-weeks AFL-CIO schism, though I'm sure happy the deed is done at last. A unified labor movement is important, but it's also nearly useless once the inevitable stagnation and inertia creep in, bringing the olde beer-gut-and-silk-tie "Big Labor" stereotype back into fashion. Let's face it, organizing is far more important than throwing money at the Democratic party, the latter which seems to have been John Sweeney's genius strategy for the past decade.
Big labor - and let's face it, most labor is "big" these days - does seem pretty well mired in the 1950's. My impression - and someone stop me if I'm wrong - is that the split seems to be among people who want to argue about who's more permanently stuck there...
Lots of news reports have been focusing on how this schism could redirect needless energy to internal battles, causing the labor movement to slip even further into the abyss. Not true: instead we'll see a new organizing strength and focus in key parts of the labor movement, and the resulting victories will start rocking the inertia out of the Sweeney types, eventually rebuilding unity from a stronger footing.
Maybe. Maybe not. More Americans own their own businesses these days. More Americans are not looking for the smothering hand of big institutions to level out their peaks and fill in their valleys. Quite the opposite; Americans feel less loyalty to institutions now than any time in recent memory. Unions are different exactly how?

So while I think the prediction is wrong, I'm hoping he's part right:

As for the effect this schism has on the Democratic Party: if anything, we left-wing Democrats should watch and learn. Our stodgy moderate party might be long overdue for an invigorating schism too.
Oh, please, please do.

Seriously, though; what unions need is not to become more radical. They need, rather to break out of the niche they've found; white, middle-class, single-skilled workers. Unions need to start organizing the mass of immigrants, people working in low-wage jobs (and I'm not talking high-profile grandstanding like trying to organize WalMart).

Of course, that's exactly what neither their rank and file or leadership want...

Posted by Mitch at 08:08 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Smoked Out

After watching bars implode like Buffy the Vampire Slayer M.A.S.H. spinoffs, they're starting to rethink their smoking ban, the most Stalinistic of the metro area's bans:

The county has been under pressure to scale back the ban, and more than 100 smoking-ban opponents held signs and applauded Tuesday as commissioners voted overwhelmingly to undertake a study of the ban's economic impact.

It appeared to signal the first significant backlash to the wave of smoking bans adopted last year by metro area governments, including Minneapolis, Ramsey County and Bloomington.

Afterward, Commissioner Gail Dorfman -- who coauthored the ban last fall -- acknowledged that there may be enough votes on the board to exempt traditional bars from the ordinance.

"There seems to be some shifting going on, on the board," she said. "Hopefully, we can hold firm here. But we're under some pressure."

Very true. I hate smoke as much as the next guy. I used to work in bars, and had the usual fatigue with having myclothes, hair and skin smell like smoke week in, week out. But I've found myself smoking a cigar every couple of weeks (rather than my usual twice a year) just to "stick it to the man".

Yes, I said Stalinist; the law was passed, damn the unintended consequences:

County officials -- and bar owners -- said that the voting pointed to the fact that the bans had created an uneven playing field, forcing bars on the edge of Hennepin County to lose money and lay off employees while customers scooted to bars in Anoka County, where there is no smoking ban, or to Ramsey County, where the ban exempts bars.

"I'm worried about making my house payment," said Cheryl Irving, a bar manager at Rostamo's, a bar in Crystal. "My personal income is down 40, 50 percent. I now have to work six shifts, where I used to work four."

Irving was among the onlookers who crowded together to watch as the county's commissioners debated the topic -- and left disappointed that the commissioners did not simply scale back the ordinance.

"I think it's shameful," Irving said before leaving the meeting.

Welcome to city government. Watching sausage get made is prettier.
John Alexander, who owns Johnny A's, a sports bar in Minneapolis, agreed. "I can't pay my taxes," said Alexander, who said he has dismissed his private security staff at the bar. "My business has gone down by 35 percent.

"It's a slow death," he added.

And I'm sure it's not over. But there's hope.

I'd rather bitch about smoke (or find less-smoky places to hang out) than have to drive to Anoka to find a place to go out in Minneapolis.

Posted by Mitch at 07:42 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

July 26, 2005


The Star/Tribune still can't get it:

The list grows: New York and Washington, Bali, Riyadh, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, Taba, London, Sharm el-Sheik. This is not to mention the dozens of attacks daily in occupied Iraq. People struggle to find connections: Is this one linked to Al-Qaida; who's behind that one? Which is to miss the point. It's not Al-Qaida against whom we struggle, in the main. It's a larger, more diffuse and thus more difficult enemy: radical Islam.

In a sense, it is unjustifiable to assign these suicide-bombing terrorists to Islam, for they actually have little association with the central teachings of the noble religion that brought the world many of the initial scientific discoveries upon which modern society is built. On the one hand, you can't argue with the radicals: If they say they are from Islam, then they are. On the other, they really do not represent Islam. Uleg Beg, the 15th-century astronomer from Samarkand, represents Islam. Renowned physician Abu Bakar al-Razi represents Islam, as do the many present-day Muslim scholars and political leaders.

Which is both true and obtuse.

Who represents Germany - Göthe or Hitler? Who represents the true heart of Russia - Chekhov or Stalin? Tolstoii or Rasputin?

It's not an idle question; the Strib is disingenuously asking us to ignore the bombers behind the curtain:

It is wrong to insist that individual Muslims denounce the bombers, just as wrong as it is to insist that individual Christians denounce the antiabortion extremists who kill in the name of protecting the unborn. [Which is rubbish, of course. The dimmer bulbs of the left routinely DO try to saddle all conservatism with the crimes of its fringe, which is why every time a conservative opens his mouth on any of the left's pet issues, he has to dislaim himself fully; "I don't support gay-bashing/blowing up abortion clinics/the Klan, but... - Ed.] And yet it is helpful for the learned leaders of Islam to take up vocal opposition to the terrorists, to issue fatwahs against bombings that kill innocents, as Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., has called upon them to do, and as many have done. It is essential that all civilized people of the world have no truck with terrorism.
The difference is that the overwhelming majority of Christians - even staunchly pro-life ones - not only denounced Erik Rudolph without being nagged by the press, they also participate in a system that brought Rudolph to justice. For that matter, one does not see pro-Confederacy activists driving car bombs into shopping centers in Massachussetts.

Too many in the Moslem world, on the other hand, will proclaim their love of peace out of one side of their mouth, while never quite renouncing the anti-semitism that drives so much of the world's terrorism.

Most of all what these attacks should tell us is the folly of the Bush administration's approach to terrorism -- a conclusion we reach without rancor or a desire to score political points.
Or rational thought, as we shall see below:
The Bush administration has long pooh-poohed the notion that fighting terror will be mostly a struggle of intelligence and law enforcement and international cooperation. Senior officials in the administration want mightily to believe that attacking state sponsors of terrorism will suffice, but it will not.
Which is, of course, a lie.

The Administration has always said that the effort would combine herculean efforts by everyone from spies to cops to accountants to soldiers.

For the Strib to suggest that depriving terrorists of state sponsors isn't vital is myopic to the point of covering one's eyes, ears and mouth.

What the attacks since 9/11 tell us more than anything is that terror does not depend on state sponsorship; the disparate groups that attack us need no state sponsors.
Only if you judge by the most myopic possible standards.

Since 9/11, Al Quaeda has had to scramble around under the radar, plotting attacks made from cheap, easily-available explosives (like the first London bomging) or operating in permissive territory (like the Spanish and Bali bombings), or just plain screwing up (like the second London bombing). Having no state sponsor to take the heat off, allow rest and recuperation and training and time to operate without worring about a Hellfire missile coming through your windshield or an SAS trooper tossing a flashbang through your window is having its effect.

They must be rooted out one terrorist, one cell, one potential bomber at a time. Cleaning up Afghanistan's Al-Qaida training grounds made sense. But continually mobilizing armies does not help, and in the invasion of Iraq, it only hurt, by creating so many more potential bombers.
Like the first WTC bomber. Or the 9/11 attackers. Or the Bali bombers, the Khobar and Cole and Kenyan and Tanzanian Embassy bombers...

...oh, wait.

The world seems to have come to a turning point. The latest attacks appear to portend a true globalization of the terror threat; they will attack when they want and where they want.
Note to the Strib's appallingly dim editorialist: They always have!
And for young men like the bombers from Leeds, the time has come for choosing: Either they are British or Spanish or Egyptian or they are not; their first identity must be clear.
Ah. Wasn't that basically what you said we couldn't demand at the beginning of the piece?

Posted by Mitch at 06:32 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Foiled Again

Just when I was thinking about running down to one of my four neighborhood Caribou Coffee shops for a kielbasa dog, a beer and a Hustler - this comes along.

Porn, pork and Pabst -- you're safe from them at Caribou Coffee. In an SEC filing last week for its initial stock offering, the Brooklyn Center-based coffeehouse chain noted that it operates its business according to the Islamic principles known as Shari'ah.

"A Shari'ah-compliant company is prohibited from engaging in derivative hedging transactions such as interest rate swaps or futures, forward options or other instruments designed to hedge against changes in interest rates or the price of commodities we purchase," Caribou said in its filing. "Also, a Shari'ah-compliant company is prohibited from dealing in the areas of alcohol, gambling, pornography, pork and pork-related products."

Atlanta-based Arcapita Inc. owns 84 percent of Caribou. Arcapita is the U.S. private-equity arm of Arcapita Bank B.S.C., a Bahrainian investment group.

Where can one go for a good jerk-pork sandwich if not Caribou?

Next you'll be telling me I can't get mutton burgers and a lapdance at Firestone Tires.

Posted by Mitch at 06:05 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

I Should't Be Happy About This...

...and indeed I'm not.

But you can't tell me it's never crossed your mind:

Vardan Kushnir, notorious for sending spam to each and every citizen of Russia who appeared to have an e-mail, was found dead in his Moscow apartment on Sunday, Interfax reported Monday. He died after suffering repeated blows to the head.
He's gone to collect that nigerian gold mine in the sky.

Posted by Mitch at 06:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Reason To Like Roberts

I found at least one:

"The generally accepted notion that the court can only hear roughly 150 cases each term gives the same sense of reassurance asthe adjournment of the court in July, when we know the Constitution is safe for the summer."
Oh, that's gonna make Chuck Schumer soooo mad...

Posted by Mitch at 05:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 25, 2005


Congrats to the new Elder family.

Posted by Mitch at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Know Who You Are

I'm in the stall in the men's room. There are eight stalls. Three or four are occupied. I'll belabor the details no further.

You walk in. You close and lock your door. I am, of course, inured to most of the noises to be expected. No biggie.

Except one.

boop boop boop, boop boop boop, boop boop boop boop.

"Hey, Tom. Just thought I'd call and see if we were still on for two o'clock..."

You're making a cell phone call from the toilet.

If the recipient of your call can't tell by the echo in the background (because there's no mistaking the echo of a bathroom, even via phone), the...er, other noises should be a tip-off. And in our office, there are quite a few guys who seem to exist on red beans and rice washed down with cheap beer, ifyaknowwhatImean. Others either have urinary tract infections or have been stabbed in the stomach. Again, you know what I'm driving at.

Or do you? You are making a cell phone call from the toilet, dimbulb; I should assume nothing about your state of social grace, I guess.

Why not bring in a freaking video camera, while you're at it?

I swear, the next time one of you morons dials up in the next stall and gets connected, I'm going to chime in: "Oh, maaaaaan - that one burned! I'm never eating tabasco sauce on sauerkraut ever again!".

I will. I mean it.

That is all.

Posted by Mitch at 12:12 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack


Former Mrs. Minnesota Dee Henderson, doing three years and change for Social Security fraud, wants a transfer to Minnesota to serve the remainder of her time:

Henderson, 45, and her supporters are circulating petitions calling for her transfer, which more than 500 people have signed. They have created a website promoting her cause with the battle cry "Free Dee." And they gained an ally in Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who is urging prison officials to grant her request to serve the rest of her sentence in Minnesota.
dee henderson

That request was recently turned down. Henderson is appealing, but her chances of victory do not appear good.

The rationale: Henderson wants to be close to her daughter. She's got Senator Coleman on board:
"Those who know Amanda," Coleman wrote, "fear that her infrequent contact with her mother will slow or even reverse her progress toward productive adulthood."
The US attorney isn't impressed:
U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger, whose office prosecuted Henderson, said that she is asking to be treated differently from other prisoners. "She is where she should be," he said...It is more often than not the case that all of those women have families, including children who are to some degree dependent upon them," Heffelfinger said. "I guess the difference in this case is that, unlike most of the female defendants sentenced in Minnesota, Ms. Henderson has access to a United States senator's office that most do not."
Not just women.

Many men have families that are torn apart when they go to prison. Shall we get some clemency for them, too?

Or is it only mothers that count with these people?

Note to Senator Coleman: while putting prisoners close to their families would help with a lot of social ills, this is hardly the place or person to start with.

Posted by Mitch at 08:29 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Battle of Britain - July 25

The Battle of Britain begins a new phase today.

Sgt. Cambpell:

If there's one thing I learned while serving in Singapore in the thirties, it was how much Britain depends on imports. All our oil, to start with, and all our rubber and, for that matter, every leaf of tea we drink.

The Huns nearly starved Britain out during the Great War - I remember food being very short when I was a lad. The U-Boats did that.

It looks like they're trying to do the same by air. Today they attacked a convoy off Folkestone, in the Channel. Three squadrons - 54, 64 and 610, all Spitfires - met them - but they were outnumbered five to one by the German fighters. Six Spitfires shot down, five pilots killed, including (my mates at Hornchurch tell me) the Squadron Leader for 610.

More patrols for us.

More about our squadron tomorrow.

Posted by Mitch at 08:00 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


"New Patriot" is one of the precious few blogs from the fantasy-based community that is even occasionally worth a read.

Yesterday's piece by Chris Dykstra shows a few of the reasons for this:

Roberts does not have the air, academic record, references, or legislative record of a radical. He is a conservative, but did anybody expect a conservative president to nominate a liberal judge? Bush did the country a favor - possibly the only thing I can point to in his two terms that I consider vaguely positive...NARAL, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood, are all putting resources into protesting Roberts' nomination. I wish they wouldn't. Don't get me wrong. Roberts should be subjected to a rigorous, thorough, nomination process. He should be examined at the molecular level. If a judicial red flag emerges, then legislators should vote against him. But my guess is that one won't, and he will pass. He will pass because of the balance of power is in GOP hands, for sure, but he may also pass because he is an acceptable candidate.

Democrats have limited political capital and power at the moment. We would do well to acknowledge a compromise when it is staring us in the face. I would rather conserve resources and energy in anticipation of a larger fight later this year.

I think that most of the left realizes this.

But the fact is, if Roe V. Wade didn't exist, the left (and parts of the right) would have to invent it. It's the biggest fundraising tool the left (and parts of the right) have.

But beneath it all - yes, when you get past his eyes and the kids' clothes and his wife's pumps, Roberts is qualified, not "extreme" by any definition that anyone more rational than Mike Malloy would recognize, and will be a great justice.

Which doesn't mean NARAL isn't going to squeeze every dollar they can out of the deal.

Posted by Mitch at 07:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


RTG's latest survey. It's a big one.

Section I: Slambook (Theme: Domestic Pleasures)

1. All-time favorite tv series. - Gotta be Hill Street Blues.
2. Favorite room in your place. - Library.
3. Household product you would recommend to others. - Simple Green.
4. Favorite beer. - Boddingtons.
5. Favorite snack. - Smoked Almonds.

Section II: Guilty or Innocent

1. Hitler - Way guilty.
2. Saddam Hussein - Ditto
3. Gitmo interrogators - Guilty of doing their job.
4. Karl Rove - Not only innocent, but laughing at his accusers.
5. Joe Wilson - Guilty of bringing politics to his job.
6. Jefferey McDonald - Guilty.
7. Darlie Routier - Very possibly innocent.
8. Sandy Berger - Guilty of being a moron.
9. Tom Capano - I'd like to think so.
10. John Gotti - Sure.
11. al-Zarqawi - Oh, yeah.
12. Hilary Clinton - Of what? No.
13. Bill Clinton - Perjurer. He settled his case.
14. America - Guilty of generally doing the right thing.
15. Mumia - Yep.

Section III : Survey

1. Name your price. - I have none.
2. How many close friends do you have? - Three.
3. Where do you go when you need to feel loved? - I don't.
4. Have you ever experimented with drugs? - Nope.
5. If so, did you learn anything about yourself? If so, what? - That I don't experiment with drugs...
6. Do you like surprises? - Good ones!
7. Tell me something good that happened to you this week. - Got in almost a half mile in the pool this morning. Which, for me, isn't bad.
8. Name three things you are grateful for. - God, my kids, my blog.
9. Why do you blog? - It gives my inner pundit something to do.
10. What do you want? - I'm past that.

Posted by Mitch at 05:38 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Searching the Strib Archives

I did some digging around in the Strib archives the other day, and I found some old editorials.

Let's take a look:

I found this in the July 4, 1863 edition of the the old Minneapolis Star. It was an institutional voice editorial, believed to have been by editor and press manager Gyllers Andenhall:

The War Is Causing Rebels

As the horriffic bloodshed of the last three days in Pennsylvania has shown us, three things are indeed verific:

First, President Lincoln's War Against Secession is based on a lie. His top advisers first said the boys would be home by Christmas. Then they said General McClellan would sweep the Rebels before them. And yet at every turn, the Rebels have not only gotten stronger, put pushed farther into the North. Las year, it was Antietam. This year, they got to Central Pennsylvania. What next year - New York?

Second, the strategy of confronting Secession has seemingly only led to more secessionists! The army that General Lee led into the north was the biggest ever - and this after two years of war! The longer the war goes, the more secessionists we have arrayed against us! The war is not working.

Third, President Lincoln's strategy of going to war is misguided, and is taking resources away from the real mission, arresting and trying Jefferson Davis.

Amazing, huh?

Posted by Mitch at 05:08 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Only Thing Wrong...

...with with this idea is that I didn't think of it first.

Well, except for the dress bit.

Posted by Mitch at 05:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 24, 2005


Egypt's government is, by American standards, an authoritarian mess. The Mubarak government has cozied up to the United States since Camp David, largely out of self-preservation, squeezed as it has been between two Marxist militocracies iin Libya and the Sudan, and the Israelis on their eastern frontier.

And yet in the wake of the Afghan and Iraqi elections and the Green Revolution in Lebanon, Mubarak has made baby steps toward liberalizing his nation - and as we saw in Eastern Europe (and as we see now in Iraq) democracy is not something you can dole out in bits and pieces; it's like potato chips, you can't eat just one.

I've said it for years, especially on this blog - the most dangerous thing to be in this world is a moderate moslem. The moderates who seek rapprochement between Islam and the West are the first targets of the radicals and the terrorists, and have been for nearly a century - the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, the father of anti-semitic Palestinian nationalism, put moderate Palestinians to the sword with as much gusto as he did Jews (although his capacity for attacking Jews earned him the admiration of Hitler himself).

It's true in Iraq today, as it's been in Israel and Jordan and the camps before that; the moderate Moslem's life is among the most dangerous in the region.

As it was last week in Egypt, for Egyptians and for their nation.

Posted by Mitch at 01:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Mighty Wind Breaks

The NARN and the Northern Alliance blogs have been credited, I'm grateful and humbled to say, with being the influence that helped kick off a lot of the newer local blogs in the past year.

However, I believe this is the first time a local blogger has ever kyped one of the NARN's taglines for its title: The Wind Beneath the Right Wing has been in business for a while now, and it's a worthy addition to the local blog scene. Check it out.

Posted by Mitch at 11:00 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Belated Wishes

A belated Happy Birthday to Minnesota Democrats Exposed, which turned one year old yesterday.

It's been a great run so far for the mysterious Exposer. And I have a hunch his best days are ahead of him.

Posted by Mitch at 10:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


So when people do revivals of eighties music, we get all sorts of Flock of Seagulls and Kajagoogoo and Pat Benatar...

...but when was the last time you heard Welcome To The Boomtown" on your eighties' station?

I swear, some eighties station should hire me as the music director. Friggin' neanderthals.

I just listened to Boomtown again, all the way through for the first time in years. What a great record.

OK. I feel better now.

Posted by Mitch at 10:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Battle of Britain - July 24

Sergeant Campbell talks about the Battle, whose second week is drawing to a close.

Another slow day today - at least, for us. The lads flew patrols over the Channel today, but it looks as if they're not running as many convoys through the Channel anymore - the pickings were too easy for the Huns.

Which isn't to say there wasn't action. For the first time, the Jerries bombed a couple of towns, including Walton-on-Thames. They also attacked a couple of convoys standing to in the Thames estuary. That cost 'em - they got jumped by a bunch of Spitfires. It was a nasty scrap, with a total of six German fighters buying it. We lost six planes, too - all of them Spitfires, naturally, a bunch of overpriced saloon cars - and one pilot, "Johnny" Allen, who'd become an "ace" with five kills over France.

No action for 85 Squadron, which was just as well. I had an erk, an Aircraftman Williams, who I had to post off the squadron; he kept answering orders in ancient Greek, and portraying all events in the form of satire. I had S/L Townsend give him to a Coastal Command supply depot in the Orkneys. They'll probably appreciate his antics there.

Since it's been a slow day, let's talk aircraft:

This is a Spitfire. It's what all you lot at home have been hearing about:

It's pretty, and it's fast, right, and it has the best climb rate in the sky today. It's got the same guns as a Hurricane - eight .303 Browning machine guns. But when you fire, it shakes about so much it's hard to keep your aim, and if it gets hit, there's always some bit or piece getting shot up or bursting into flames, which puts a bit of a blot on our friendly universiity posh pilot's day, right? So to sum up - the Spit is a good plane for a University Posh to caravan out in as he tries to impress the birds.

Much better to be in a Hurricane:

Eight guns, not as fast in a straight line or climb as a Spit, but it turns tighter, takes much more damage, and stays rock-steady when the eight machine guns open up; you can actually stay on target. A good plane for a working bloke who just wants to kill Jerries.

So to compare - Spitfire is a pretty saloon car for elegible bachelors to impress the birds. Hurricane is a working bloke's plane. The choice is clear to me.

By the way - that rectangle of red on the leading edge of the wing? It's a piece of fabric we paste into place over the gunports, to keep dirt out. When they come in for a landing and we can see the fabric is blown away, we know our lads have used their guns. Everyone came back with intact patches today.

Oh, well. Better luck tomorrow.

Posted by Mitch at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 23, 2005

His Dog Is Cruise

Via St. Kate and Mrs. Bickerson, Noah Baumbach's dog has, apparently become Tom Cruise.

Posted by Mitch at 08:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

And Jay Larson Thought HE Had A Tough Gig

Rambix at "Rambix and the Red Star" has details of Air America's new local promotional campaign.

I can't wait to see Nick Coleman's new campaign.

Posted by Mitch at 08:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Battle of Britain - July 23

Sgt. Campbell's second entry in the extended section.

Hawker Hurricane of 85 Squadron.

It's a slow day,one of the last that Fighter Command will see for a while.

Quiet day today. The lads flew their standing patrols over the convoys, but the weather was too bad for Jerry to come out and play.

A little about my job, Kate and Mum. I'm the leading Airframe Artificer, which means I supervise the other blokes who take care of the actual wings and fuselage. Sergeant Gough is the leading Engine Artificer - his lads are about the engines. Sergeant Hockleby is the leading Armorer - they load and repair the .303 Browning guns, eight to a plane. Finally, Sergeant Stovall is the leading Radio Artificer - they maintain the radios on the planes. If you'd told me when I started in the RAF that every bird'd have its own radio - it's an amazing business we're about, here.

My lot, the Airframe mob, are a mixed lot. I have a few old hands, including a few that had been in India and Singapore before the war; most of the rest are erks, or at least they were when Hitler attacked Poland. Most of them are new on the squadron, posted here since 85 Squadron came back from France and rebuilt.

So most of my job for the moment seems to be teaching the new lot how to do the job. I'm sure that'll change, if Jerry really is getting ready to invade Britain.

So for now - just the odd bullet hole or bent oleo strut.

Posted by Mitch at 07:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 22, 2005

Battle of Britain - July 22

Sgt. Campbell joins his squadron.

Sorry this took an extra couple of days to get started, Mum and Kate. Airman Polford was going to lend me his Macintosh, but I've been posted to a "Satellite" field, so we couldn't find a proprietary "Apple" power cord. Finally, I'm running on a PC running off a diesel generator.

Where were we?

Oh, I finally made it to Debden. There are two squadrons here - my lot, 85 Squadron, was in the thick of it all through France, and it shows. Also 17 Squadron - more about that lot later. The planes are mostly new, but most of the lads are pretty tossed after their adventures.

I'm the leading airframe artificer. I make sure all the aircraft are ready to fly, and try to patch up the ones that aren't. Both 85 and 17 fly the Hawker Hurricane. You at home probably hear about all the posh lads in their Spitfires, but the Hurri gives up not a jot, and is, I think, a much stronger plane, although I fancy we'll find out soon. I do the airframe. I don't do engines - that's for the Motor blokes, and good on 'em - the planes all have Rolls Royce Merlins, which are a far bloody cry from the engines on the old Vildebeests. I don't handle the guns, either - the Armorers are for that.

The Squadron Leader (S/L) is S/L Peter Townsend. He's already had a busy war - he shot down the first enemy plane to fall on English soil since 1918, a Heinkel a few weeks back. They've been in the thick of things since then; the Huns are attacking convoys in the Channel and the Western Approaches. So the lads spend their days patrolling over the Channel, trying to keep air cover over the coastal convoys. There are more convoys than aircraft - a Hurri can only stay on patrol an hour or so, and then it's back on the deck for fuel, ammunition and maybe a sandwich.

I picked a bad time to report on base; as my lorry pulled up at Castle Camps (a satellite field a few miles from Debden, where they dispersed part of the squadron), a Hurri came in for a landing, stalled, and crashed. The pilot, a Pilot Officer (P/O) Bickerdale, bought the farm. Not the squadron's first casualty since France - another poor sod, Sergeant Jowett, was lost at sea a few weeks ago.

Sergeant Leonard Jowett, third from right

That's the hard part, says the lads; you only have one engine, and if it chuffs it over the Channel, you're pretty much for it. So the motor mechanic blokes take a lot of extra care.

More patrols. Cheers. More tomorrow.

Posted by Mitch at 08:04 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Live-Blogging the Battle of Britain

A few weeks back, Right Wing Nuthouse "live-blogged" the Battle of Gettysburg. It was an interesting exercise - showing how much activity, bloodshed, and world-changing history was packed into three fateful summer days in 1863.

Never being one to let a foolish, over-committing challenge get in my way, I'm going to try to "live-blog" the Battle of Britain. What Gettysburg was for America, the Battle of Britain was for Western Civilization; before the Battle, the fate of Britain hung in the balance; Hitler was actively planning and preparing to launch an invasion across the English Channel as soon as air superiority could be won. The British Army in the home islands was a battered mess; most of the Army had been withdrawn from France in the chaotic evacuation at Dunkirk in early June, leaving behind practically all their artillery, tanks - really, every weapon heavier than a rifle. The Continent was under Nazi rule, and if the Germans could gain air superiority over the invasion beaches to shoulder aside the mighty (but overstretched) Royal Navy, Britain - and European civilization - would be finished.

We'll join the story on July 22, 1940.

The opening moves of the Battle had been underway for nearly two weeks. We'll meet our liveblogger, Sergeant Geoffrey Campbell. 30 years old, an eight year veteran of the Royal Air Force, Campbell was a native of Dunfermline, Scotland. During the Depression, he'd worked for a railroad as a laborer and then mechanic, until the line went out of business. He joined the RAF as a mechanic at age 22, in 1932. [1] His RAF career had taken him around the Isles - three years as a mechanic on old biplanes in various squadrons around the UK - and the world, including five years maintaining Vickers Vildebeest torpedo bombers in Singapore and at Trincomalee, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). The beginning of the war brought him back to the UK, where he'd spent the previous year training other mechanics as the RAF frantically built up strength - and, after the Battle of France, rebuilt its strength. As the air campaign picked up its pace, he was transferred to a fighter squadron, 85 Squadron, based at Debden, in southeast England - in the thick of things.

Campbell has been married for two years to Kate, and has a daughter, Vera. They used to live near his base; he's sent them to stay with his parents in Scotland, thinking - hoping - that it'll be safer.

We'll join Sergeant Campbell shortly.

[1] If you want to be picky, he also never existed. Call him my dramatis persona, if you prefer.

Also please note that part of this project, for me, involves researching British, Scottish and UK Military slang of the era. That, I admit in advance, is going to be a work in progress. Feedback is welcomed.

Posted by Mitch at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Note To Reporters: Why We Hate You, Part I

Fraters has been leading the NARN on this story - you need to read their past week's posting on the subject - but I just gotta jump in.

Mark Yost wrote an absolutely spot-on column last week, slamming the press for its biased, blinkered, doom-focused coverage of the War in Iraq.

In response, he's been castigated by - who else - the press. Steve Lovelady - the biased-to-the-point-of-bigoted editor of the Columbia Journalism Review - wrote on a journalism forum:

Amazing. Mark Yost, an [editorial page] editor at Knight Ridder, the ONE news outlet which has consistently exposed the lies at the heart of the Iraq invasion and the grim reality of the current occupation, turns on his colleagues.

I can't wait to see how the KR Washington bureau and the KR Iraq
contingent reponds to this one!

There he is, guys. Go get him. You owe your readers no less.

In other words, Yost's great crime isn't that he lied about the conduct of the war (which he didn't - we'll come back to that later). It's that he broke ranks with his comrades in the press. Mark Yost didn't stand in lock step with the thin, gray, pallid, vaguely-reeking-of-booze line of his fellow journalists against the philistine onslaught.

Hyperbole? No. No, Steve Lovelady of the CJR doesn't much appreciate peasants breaking into the manor, referring to the bloggers and talk hosts who brought Eason Jordan to ground last winter as "The salivating morons who make up the lynch mob..."

The "salivating morons" who were right about Eason Jordan, who was jettisoned from CNN shortly after Lovelady's remarks. Oops.

No. In the world of Steve Lovelady, the peasants must pay obeisance to the priests, the nobles, their betters in the search for information.

But, being the untrained buffoon I am, I have to keep coming back to the question - was Yost right?

What do you think?

Meredith Leyva is the founder of CinCHouse.com, a Web site which helps military families deal with the frequently confusing programs to assist them.

Consider that Lou Dobb’s weekly segment on a military family and TLC’s Operation Homecoming show calls me every week trolling for interviewees; Every week they turn us down because they only want ‘troubled’ military families – not the families who are proud of what they’re service member is doing and holding out just fine. CNN was the network that asked me if I could cry during an interview. ABC’s World News Tonight grilled me again and again about ‘aren’t you pissed at President Bush when you see the bodies coming in at Dover?”
So...Yost was right? The media manipulate the news?

Lovelady's wrong? The "High Priests of Information" are really shills for an agenda?

We're the "salivating morons?"

We, the people, can count on the media to present the story, rather than to puff up a a preconceived agenda?

Posted by Mitch at 06:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack


Next week, I think, I'll do my annual "Twin Cities Talk Radio Review". It's been an annual thing for me for the last couple of years. This year, I'm going to try to add KFAN to the list - which means I'll actually have to listen to KFAN.


In utterly unrelated news, I read with interest earlier this month as Right Wing Nuthouse liveblogged the Battle of Gettysburg. That started an idea that is, typically, all-consuming and over-ambitious; I want to liveblog the Battle of Britain, which was getting started about this time 65 years ago. I think I missed the official start by a couple of days, but I may just give it a shot this week.

Or next year. Not sure yet.

Posted by Mitch at 12:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

My Son's Christmas Wish List...

...is now located in one convenient place.

Posted by Mitch at 08:34 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Everything's Extraordinary

Schumer is goint to fight Roberts no matter what.

Democrats said yesterday they will demand that the Bush administration hand over internal legal memorandums written by Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. while he was a government lawyer -- something the White House has refused to do in the past.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said he broached the topic during a meeting yesterday with Judge Roberts, who replied that any decision about his writings as deputy solicitor general would be made by the White House.
Question for Republicans: Wouldn't it be nice if the Dems melted down under pressure for a change?
The conflict arose on a day that several more members of the Senate -- including Democrats -- said publicly that Judge Roberts appears headed for confirmation without a filibuster, or even a particularly spirited fight.
So - is Roberts going to get through, or is he going to get estradified?

I'm guessing "a" - the Dems are tone-deaf, but not stupid. They have to put on a show for the Kossacks.

Oooh. What a though.

Posted by Mitch at 08:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Back When...

...my daughter was born, the DJ service I worked for gave me a night off.

When my son was born, I was working as an office temp during an incredibly difficult stretch of my life. The morning after he was born, I took the day off - and came home to a message from the temp service saying the "client" was incredibly pissed that I'd missed the day. I was back on the job the next day.

Just saying, it's nice when a working stiff can get two-plus weeks off.

No, not snarking. Just saying.

And a belated congrats, Nick and Laura.

Posted by Mitch at 07:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Truer Words Were Never Spoken

Words of deep wisdom from Elder:

Stoned, paranoid, and stupid is no way to go through a day at work.
Although sometimes it's the only way.

Posted by Mitch at 07:33 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 21, 2005

Not That I Care At All...

...but adding the hit counters to all my pages really buffed up my Ecosystem Traffic rating. I'm at #270 today, which is the first time I've been in the top 300 since probably mid-2002, when there were about 300 blogs in the world.

Thanks, all!

Posted by Mitch at 12:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

London Again

More bombings - or attempted bombings - in London?

Two weeks after suicide attacks on subway stations and a bus, police evacuated three subway stations and a bus after reports of smoke and an explosion today. Police said one person was hurt but it was not a "major incident.''
Another unconfirmed report says that one of the bombs may have been a squib:
"He said that a man was carrying a rucksack and the rucksack suddenly exploded. It was a minor explosion but enough to blow open the rucksack," McCracken said. "The man then made an exclamation as if something had gone wrong. At that point everyone rushed from the carriage."
The London Times has an unconfirmed report of one injury.

Another report indicates a bomb blew out the windows of a bus, with no injuries.

UPDATE: Reuters says there were four explosions. No injuries so far.

Four bombings, no injuries. Why? I'm seeing two possibilities:

  • The terrorists are down to using their "B" team. They built a batch of squib bombs; all bang, no bite. Luck is good.
  • The terrorists tossed off a squib attack to lull the west into complacency.
I'm hoping for the first choice.

Posted by Mitch at 07:47 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

In Sudan

Mudville Gazette on American involvement in Sudan:

A C-17 Globemaster III departed here July 18 carrying 95 Rwandan troops deploying to help ease the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.

The airlift started the 86th Aerospace Expeditionary Group’s involvement in NATO’s support to the African Union expanded mission in the region. The airlift is expected to last 30 days.

The US planes are moving Rwandan troops to Sudan to help out with the violence in Darfur.

About time.

Posted by Mitch at 06:05 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Thinking Imbiberally

Given a choice between McDonald's and, say, Andy's Garage - I do the Garage every time.

Given a choice between Applebee's and, say, the Nook - it's Nook time!

If I have to pick between Baker's Square and Muddy Paws Pie Shop, I'm heading up to the Paw.

I do chains as sparingly as I can.

So what's with the chain party?

Just curious.

By the way, trivia at Keegan's tonight with the MOB. It's the local, homegrown party. And best of all, no politics are discussed.

Posted by Mitch at 06:00 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

July 20, 2005

Requiem for a General

First Ringer has the best obit of General Westmoreland that I've seen yet.

Long, and worth it.

Posted by Mitch at 05:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

He Canna Violate The Laws of Physics

I was never a Star Trek fan. That'd be other peoples' turf. But I'd watch it, once in a while after school.

Kirk never really clicked with me; he was always right, always won, always got the girl, always came up with the right answer. Spock? Illogically logical - couldn't dig it. McCoy rubbed me the wrong way.

No, my favorite Strek character was always Scotty, the irascible ChEng on the Enterprise. "My ideer of deploomessay's a looded fezzerrrr" was, in various permutations, my personal value statement through much of my teens and twenties.

James Doohan, the veteran character actor who spent nearly the past forty years playing the part, died this morning at age 85:

Doohan had said farewell to public life in August 2004, a few months after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

The Canadian-born Doohan was enjoying a busy career as a character actor when he auditioned for a role as an engineer in a new space adventure on NBC in 1966. A master of dialects from his early years in radio, he tried seven different accents.

"The producers asked me which one I preferred," Doohan recalled 30 years later. "I believed the Scot voice was the most commanding. So I told them, 'If this character is going to be an engineer, you'd better make him a Scotsman.'"

Cue the pipes.

(Via King)

Thorley Winston left a comment about Doohan's WWII experience. I'd never heard about this, so I checked further:

At 19, James escaped the turmoil at home by joining the Canadian army, becoming a lieutenant in artillery. He was among the Canadian forces that landed on Juno Beach on D-Day. "The sea was rough,'' he recalled. "We were more afraid of drowning than the Germans.''

The Canadians crossed a minefield laid for tanks; the soldiers weren't heavy enough to detonate the bombs. At 11:30 that night, he was machine-gunned, taking six hits: one that took off his middle right finger (he managed to hide the missing finger on screen), four in his leg and one in the chest. Fortunately the chest bullet was stopped by his silver cigarette case.

And then, there's his background as an actor:
After the war Doohan on a whim enrolled in a drama class in Toronto. He showed promise and won a two-year scholarship to New York's famed Neighborhood Playhouse, where fellow students included Leslie Nielsen, Tony Randall and Richard Boone.

Posted by Mitch at 01:02 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Open Letter to My Office's Security Staff

The sign in the lobby where employees enter says:

Visible ID must be worn at all times
Sorry. I'll wear that dorky photo ID dog tag on a belt clip or lanyard when I start drinking from the toilet and fetching sticks.

That is all.

Posted by Mitch at 06:39 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack


Power Line's Rocket Man on Roberts:

Pop the champagne corks, conservatives. Roberts is a fantastic choice, a brilliant and bulletproof conservative. And it was fun to see Pat Leahy and Chuck Schumer on television tonight; they looked just awful. After President Bush's terrific, upbeat presentation of Roberts, and Roberts' graceful, brief talk, Leahy and Schumer sounded like they had just dropped in from another planet. They were dour, hateful, and came across as sad and pathetic minions who have been sent on a hopeless mission by their bosses at "People for the American Way."

It's a great day for conservatives and for America.

So far so good.

Posted by Mitch at 06:33 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Lost Me

LaShawn Barber has long been one of my favorite conservative bloggers.

But we're going to have to have a long talk here:

Most politicians are faint-hearted, weak, ineffectual, disconnected, and desensitized pencil-pushers, so when one comes along and says what should’ve been said eons ago, his own party wants to see his head on a platter because he dared “offend” someone. Numbskulls.
It's not so much the offense that bothers me. It's the immense strategic problem that accompanies putting that sort of perception out there.

LaShawn: It's a fact that the most dangerous thing in the world to be is a moderate Moslem. As we've seen in Israel for the past sixty years, and as we're seeing in Iraq today, nothing's changed.

Here's the problem with Tancredo's statement, in or out of context - and it has nothing to do with political correctness or relative degrees of conservatism:

  • If we create the perception that we don't distinguish between Wahabbist terrorists and, say, Indonesian free-market Moslems or Senegalese moslems who support a thriving liberal democracy, then we do the Wahabbi's work for them.
  • To the Wahabbi, Mecca is worth more as a pile of radioactive slag or (more likely) hostage to potential US retaliation than it is as a religious site. It creates a rallying point, a source of more martyrs, and once again, a wedge between moderate Islam and the rest of the 21st-century-dwelling world.
  • There are six million American Moslems. Many of them serve in the US military. Shall we destroy their religious symbol?
  • Mecca has no military significance.
There are many things we need to do; show the Moslem world that the faintest sniff of radiation in one of our cities would be answered with absolute decisiveness; national leaderships should disappear whether with a flash or a stab in the night; military units and bases should be hammered quickly and surely.

But bombing Mecca is of value only as the last possible resort:

It’s becoming painfully clear to me that I’m moving farther to the right than so-called conservatives, including bloggers. As they cave to PC pressure and become indistinguishable from liberals, I’ll take up the slack and remain as un-PC as I can get.
LaShawn? With all due respect, that's buncombe. I'm as conservative as you are, probably more so. But the downside of nuking Mecca dwarfs any spasmic upside; to abjure such a dumb piece of symbolism in anything other than extremis is smart, not liberal. The military benefits of attacking Mecca are vanishingly small; the political liability is overwhelming. As far as making Moslem governments choose sides and renounce terrorism, or wondering why they haven't yet; you know as well as I do that most Moslem governments are authoritarian dumps who have an interest in being soft on the subject. If they (or better yet, their people) see an upside in moving toward the US, they will, slowly and in such a way as to avoid having US planes wind up over their capitol. Nuking Mecca would, of course, removed that upside permanently.

As to why they haven't come across yet - this is a part of the world where not only do attitudes change slowly, but they've seen our policy change a couple of times within the living memory of most of their leadership. It's not "PC" to observe that there's a self-preservation motive at work here, both among the tinhorns that rule most of the world's Moslems as well as their people.

Speaking of attitudes that change slowly - their ritualistic hatred of the Jews (as we know it today) dates back over a hundred years. It's not going to change overnight, not that we shouldn't try - but again, nuking Mecca won't change that.

There's nothing PC or "Soft on terrorism" about about abjuring Tancredo's statement. For you to claim it is a cheap, lazy shot. I'd hoped for better.

Doug Williams is more emphatic:

LaShawn thinks the billion plus Muslims witnessing such an attack would kick their feet and convert to some more convenient religion once Mecca was nuked? Please. The only certainty is that they'd know who NOT to turn to for security. And that would be the nation that nuked Mecca on the basis of simple religious affiliation. The same religious affiliation they personally hold.

Posted by Mitch at 06:17 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

Finney Out

According to the PiPress' City Hall blog, former Saint Paul top cop Bill Finney is not running for Mayor. This contradicts (and presumably shuts down) some rumors from earlier in the week:

Contrary to suspicions, hopes, fears and whatever else might have been going on, former St. Paul Police Chief Bill Finney is NOT running for mayor, just as he said last November.

Ramsey County elections officials gently pointed out to the Scoop this afternoon that the same form Finney picked up this morning could be used to file for any number of races -- including the Ramsey County Sheriff election next year, so his visit to the election bureau in the hours before the mayoral and school board filings closed wasn't as momentous as the Scoop would have led you to believe.

Still, Finney's support of Chris Coleman is interesting. While Coleman (the younger brother of Strib columnist Nick Coleman) iisn't as far to the left as 2001 DFL-endorsee Jay "The East Is Red" Benanav, he's an orthodox DFLer, unlike Mayor Kelly (who angered the city DFL fundamentalists by endorsing President Bush in last fall's election). Finney would seem to be more like a Kelly in most respects - in fact, as a mayor I could see him being the next in a line of DFL mayors that are roundly hated by their own party, after Kelly and, of course, Norm Coleman (whom the DFL hounded out of the party).

My hunch:

  1. It's a sign that Kelly's a lot stronger than the DFL would like. Kelly's a popular guy among moderate DFLers in the City (the St. Paul DFL has two major constituencies - the pro-union, largely socially-conservative East Side wing, and the free-range alpaca-wearing, Volvofied, "Don't Park The Bus" crowd from Merriam Park and Highland.

    Coleman will carry Highland and his native West End by 150 points, of course - but outside Koolaid-ville, among moderates, responsible DFLers and the city's beleaguered Republicans, Kelly's the only rational choice. And that, I think, is enough for victory. (Randy Kelly will be the only DFLer I vote for this year, or likely in 2006).

    Which is why, I suspect, Finney is preening his DFL credentials. 2009 isn't all that far away - and with Randy Kelly and Chris Coleman out of the way, and his cred as a popular and successful chief of police under his belt, it could be a great move.

    Posted by Mitch at 05:48 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

There Never Were Any Connections, Winston

In a thread from earlier this week, I noted that a celebrated (on the left) survey judged that Fox viewers were "more ill-informed" than PBS viewers because they believed there had been a connection between Hussein and Al Quaeda.

The major media had declared, y'see, that there never was a connection. Never had been one. Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

My question has always been "how do they get off saying that believing Hussein was connected to terrorists, not just Bin Laden, is 'misinformed' when the jury is still very much out?"

Why, indeed? The jury seems to be coming in on the side of those benighted Fox News viewers:

Just days after Operation Desert Fox concluded one of Saddam's most loyal and trusted intelligence operatives, Faruq Hijazi, was dispatched to Afghanistan. He met with senior leaders from the Taliban and then with bin Laden and his cohorts on December 21.

While we cannot be sure what transpired at this meeting, we can be sure that it was not some benign event. In fact, within days of the meeting bin Laden loudly declared his opposition to the U.S.-led missile strikes on Iraq and called on all Muslims to strike U.S. and British targets, including civilians, around the world. According to press accounts at the time, bin Laden explained, "The British and the American people loudly declared their support for their leaders' decision to attack Iraq." He added that the citizens' support for their governments made it "the duty of Muslims to confront, fight, and kill" them.

Naturally, the Europeans knew better - right?
The first alarm was rung by Milan's Corriere Della Sera on December 28. In the bluntest manner, the newspaper reported, "Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin have sealed a pact." Saddam's regime and bin Laden's global terrorist network had united against the common enemy, the U.S. and her allies. In preparation for the coming terrorist war, Saddam had even offered bin Laden safehaven.

Just days later, on January 1, 1999, the Paris-based, pan-Arab magazine Al-Watan Al-Arabi expanded on the details of the new terrorist alliance. High-level representatives from both organizations had been meeting for months. At one such meeting in the summer of 1998 "bin Ladin tried to feel the Iraqi official's pulse about the possibility of being received in Baghdad." But, according to this account, the Iraqi envoys were not authorized to grant his request.

But the left! The left has always known the truth, right?
Even London's left-of-center Guardian, which opposed the current iteration of the Iraq war and ran numerous articles dismissing the possibility of a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda in the last few years, ran two pieces discussing the axis of Saddam and bin Laden on February 6, 1999. One of the accounts, for example, began "Saddam Hussein's regime has opened talks with Osama bin Laden, bringing closer the threat of a terrorist attack using chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, according to U.S. intelligence sources and Iraqi opposition officials."
Read the whole thing.

Posted by Mitch at 05:43 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Sixth District Roundup

First Ringer is covers the Sixth District race:

From the looks of the 2nd quarter fundraising reports in the 6th District, with all apologies to Stanley Kramer, the race for the GOP nod will be far madder.
In short:
  • Phil Krinkie: Strong buy.
  • Michele Bachmann: took some shots, but in the running
  • Jim Knoblach: Spending like crazy, not making much of an impression yet.
  • Cheri Pierson Yecke: needs to make a splash
Read Ringer's summary.

Posted by Mitch at 05:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 19, 2005

Let Slip the Dogs of Bork and Thomas

It's Roberts.

I know Supreme Court inside baseball like Hugh Hewitt knows music, of course, but I think it's a great call on the President's part.

Hugh, fortunately, knows law like I know music, and he's impressed:

A home run for the president, the SCOTUS, and for the United States.

Judge John Roberts may be the smartest lawyer I have known, and he combines that intellect with a graciousness and good humor that will make it hard for any except the most extreme ideolouges to oppose him. Here's his bio, but it cannot fully convey the great intellectual force which Justice Roberts will bring to the SCOTUS.

Read Hugh's entire spiel; he's snuck in an excellent explanation of Roberts amid double-shift today.

Of course, his detractors are lined up because they see a threat to the great sacrament of the liberal religion, abortion.

The scrutiny of Judge Roberts centered on his role in co-authoring a Supreme Court brief for the Reagan administration arguing that Roe v. Wade was “wrongly decided and should be overturned.” The case was called Russ v.Sullivan,and the government argued that it could prohibit doctors in federally funded family planning programs from discussing abortions with their patients.

The brief stated the Supreme Court’s conclusion in Roe, “that there is a fundamental right to abortion … finds no support in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution.”

Which is, of course, correct; Roe is one of the worst-written decisions in the history of the court, making up law out of essentially the clear blue sky (and I'm far from a dogmatist about abortion, although I'm personally pro-life).

If President Bush is looking for a potential Supreme Court nominee with conservative credentials who would inspire a minimum of fuss at a confirmation hearing, he may turn to Judge John Roberts Jr., say fans of the Buffalo native, who sits on the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

“Almost alone among the serious candidates, Judge Roberts combines youth, intellect, temperament, judicial philosophy, and confirmability,” said a former associate White House counsel,Bradford Berenson, who worked on judicial selection under President Bush.“He is young, he’s bright,he’s conservative,he’s well respected across the ideological spectrum, and he’s unlikely to run into effective opposition if he were nominated.”

Which leaves the left in a lousy position, having to try to drum up hysteria against a candidate who is essentially hysteria-proof:
But liberal critics say not so fast — a pre-eminent Supreme Court litigator before ascending to the bench, Judge Roberts argued for overturning the landmark abortion rights decision Roe v. Wade while he was deputy solicitor general in the Reagan administration.

A potential battle over his nomination could come down to the question of whether a lawyer should be held responsible for the arguments he makes on behalf of a client.

Look for the sleaziest smear campaign in the history of the Republic.

And, if I may - look for it to backfire on the Democrats. Bad. The American people's support for abortion is a mile wide and a foot deep - like gun control, it's a topic where the phrasing of the question makes all the difference. And if the Dems put all their hysterical chips on the table over smearing the (by all rational accounts) un-smearable Roberts, whose only pain point would seem to be the largely-peripheral issue (for most people) of abortion, it'll make the Clinton Impeachment imbroglio look like a walk in the park.

It's going to be an interesting fall.

Posted by Mitch at 08:02 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Meme Alert

Via Sheila, here's the latest.

What I was doing 10 years ago:

In mid-'95 I was working as a technical writer at a major Twin Cities healthcare conglomerate. I had a new manager who was a complete moron. I was realizing that Tech Writing was going to start boring me stiff sooner than later, and that I'd need to make a move - into either being a programmer, or being a Human/Computer Interaction designer (a path which did not become clear until 1997).

Five years ago:

In the summer of 2000, I was in mid-divorce. I was waking up every morning with the dry heaves. Constant terror. The scariest season of my life.

One year ago:

This time last year, I was interviewing for the job I have now. Looking forward to the State Fair. Not much else to report.


Worked, came home and made the best enchiladas I've ever made (I learned a couple of great secrets), conked out.

Five snacks I enjoy:

Grapes, peanuts, Triscuits, smoked almonds, tortilla chips and salsa.

Five songs I know all the words to:

Five? Gaw, I know hundreds. Five that might surprise people?

"Fight The Power", Public Enemy
"Boulder To Birmingham", Emmylou Harris
"Jump Around", House of Pain
"Breathe", Anna Nalick (this week's earworm)
"Anarchy In The UK", Sex Pistols (plus every instrument part, plus Johnny Rotten's accent)

There's a good electic collection.

Five I'd like to know all the way through:

Lose Yourself - Eminem
She Said - The Beatles
I Believe - Stevie Wonder
Alternative Ulster - Stiff Little Fingers
Mystery Achievement - Pretenders

Five Things I would do with $100 million:

  1. Pay off my house. Never make another house payment again.
  2. Give 10% of it to charity on an ongoing basis.
  3. Sock away enough money for my kids to go to college.
  4. Go on an epic spree at Willie's Guitars (with more reasonable amounts, perhaps, at Guitar Center, the Mac Store, a couple of book and music shops, a realtor specializing in lake property, and Dayton's Home Store)
  5. Invest for an ongoing income, so I can travel, take classes, blog and not sweat the bills anymore.
Not like I've given it much thought...

Five locations I would like to run away to:

New York. The Highlands. Boulder. Noord Holland, along the North Sea. The North Shore.

Five things I like doing:

Playing one instrument or another. Writing. Working out/swimming/biking. The NARN show. Sitting in a den or bar talking with my friends.

Five bad habits I have:

I procrastinate. I worry. I abjure housework. I avoid conflict. I twist my hair.

Five things I would never wear:

Cuffed shorts. A Members Only jacket. Chaps (unless employed as a cowboy). Anything "Metrosexual". A bow tie.

Five TV shows I like:

Hm - tough one, I watch so little. "Veronica Mars", "Lost", "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge", "24" on those rare instances I can watch it, and "Family Guy". I'm looking forward to the first three seasons of "Ed" coming out on DVD, though - that was my favorite show of the past five years.

Five biggest joys of the moment:

Getting a good head of steam and letting the bagpipes rip. The presence of God in my life. Hacking at weeds, scrap wood, etc with an axe or a scythe (as appropriate). Contemplating someday meeting someone I can't live without, wherever, whomever and if ever it happens. Watching my kids turn into really interesting people.

Five favorite toys:

Guitars, Bagpipes, laptop...that's really all the toys I have.

That should do for now.

Posted by Mitch at 06:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Tancredo - Context Doesn't Help Much

Thorley Winston, Twin Cities blogger at large writing with RedState, has Rep. Tancredo's remarks:

While I am sympathetic that people sometimes speak off the cuff and say things that don't come out quite as they intended and that the MSM can and often does chop off the "juicy parts" in order to gain ratings, having listened to his comments and read them, I find nothing mitigating in them and his Durbenesque statement on Sunday misses the point entirely.

The actions of the enemy in targeting Muslim and non-Muslim alike including targeting Mosques is eroding support (what there may have been) for the killers. Does anyone seriously think that our foe would be deterred rather than gladdened should the United States respond by intentionally bombing Islamic Holy Sites? Tancredo `s remarks are harmful to our country, our cause, and our party and they need to be retracted immediately.

Here's the deal; collective guilt is anathema to Americans. And it should be in this hypothetical case as well.

The moslem in Indonesia may be on the fence regarding his sympathies today; it behooves us not to push recklessly into the "kill America" camp, when better options are available.

Posted by Mitch at 12:16 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That Darn Bush Economy, Part XV

Unemployment in Minnesota at post-9/11 low:

Minnesota's unemployment rate in June dropped to its lowest level in more than four years, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development said Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was the lowest since March 2001, and down from 4.3 percent during May. The national unemployment rate in June was 5 percent.
Oh, and as far as the Pawlenty Administration's mangling of the public sector goes (emphasis added)...:
The biggest gains were in government and professional and business services
Snarking would be ungracious.

Posted by Mitch at 12:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Saint Paul Greens and Education

Normally, I couldn't care less about the platforms or "visions" olf minor parties. I'd be hard-pressed to post the "visions" of the Constitution Party, the Socialist Workers, the Libertarians...

But the Greens in the Twin Cities are another matter. They're a minor party, to be sure - but one that exists amid a population of ageing ex-hippies and dozey college kids taught by - well, ex-hippies.

So the Greens have found disproportionate success in the Twin Cities; the Minneapolis City Council includes a few Greens, and parts of Saint Paul are just whacked out to do the same.

The local Green boss has been publishing the Saint Paul Green Party's "vision" for the city on a saint paul politics listserve. I'm re-posting them without permission - it's public stuff, what are they gonna do?

The problem with the Greens is that, inside all the post-hippie dreck, there are some decent ideals - things almost anyone can believe in. There are also a few policies that are useful - at a very, very low level, anyway. But you put it all together, and slather on a layer of the joyless, puritan sanctimony that the Greens bring to everything...

...well, let's just get into it.

The quality of public schools is a measure of a community's belief in its people and its future.

The Green vision includes schools in which each child is nurtured and
encouraged to develop to his/her full potential, not just as a member
of the work force but as an informed citizen and a well-rounded human

Hard to argue with that, right?

Of course, the devil is in the details:

It honors teaching as one of the most important functions in the community and supports that function with adequate funding and small class sizes.
Ah. "Honor".

Our society "honors" teachers plenty. It's an important job, doncha know. But at the end of the day, the teacher still works in a stultifying bureaucracy, as part of a union that refuses to "honor" teachers that actually throw themselves into being great teachers.

It fosters creativity and appreciation for all forms of art.
I'm all for that, by the way; the "All Three Rs, All The Time" idea that's become a fetish among some conservatives is deeply misguided.

Unfortunately, to the Greens and their deeply (myopically) communitarian view, schools aren't just a place where kids learn. Last year, they endorsed Richard Broderick for the school board:

In order for our society to adopt these values -- as it must, if we are to survive on this planet -- we need to nurture the instinctively Green consciousness of our young people through the comprehensive application of these principles to curriculum, instruction, administration, and district-wide decision-making processes.
Got that? School is here to "nurture instinctively Green consciousness". That's called "indoctrination" - creating a generation of little Greens.

It's in the "vision", too:

It includes instruction and practice in conflict-resolution and peaceful solutions to interpersonal and social problems.

In a Green city that values nonviolence, programs such as ROTC and
military recruitment would have no place in the schools, along with
corporate influence over instructional materials.

"Peaceful resolution", no JROTC or military recruitment...

...in other words, not only do they want to indoctrinate children into the Green lifestyle, but they want to add the politics, too.

Participatory sports would be especially encouraged.

Above all, in the Green vision education is a lifelong enterprise, and
there will be abundant opportunities for adults to pursue it.

Small classes, lifetime education...

...where is all that money coming from?

That's later in the "vision".

Posted by Mitch at 06:51 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Why Tancredo Is Wrong

A number of people left comments yesterday defending Rep. Tancredo's statement.

To be fair to the Congressman, it's possible his remarks were taken out of context. I'll wait and see.

But if indeed he said we should "Nuke Mecca" in response to a nuclear attack on the US - it's wrong and it's stupid. There are better responses.

Remember - of the world's Moslems, the vast majority will never lift a finger against the US. The two largest Moslem nations - India and Indonesia - are relatively stable nations whose moslem populations seem fairly comfortable in the 20th century. Southeastern Europe - Albania, Turkey, parts of the Balkans - are not only Moslem, but are US allies (emphatically so, in the case of Albania). Mali and Senegal are both moslem and liberal democracies. There is a significant chance of spreading democracy in Egypt, Lebanon, and some day, Iran.

If an American city or cities get nuked, the right response is to find who did it, and kill them wholesale. If a nation state is involved, destroy its military and government with maximum violence.

But as I said yesterday, destroying Mecca for the sins of a group supported by a small minorityi of Moslems is akin to the Brits nuking the Vatican to get back at the IRA.

As to the question "why allow the rest of Islam to enable the terrorists?" - well, that's a good question. My answer: because most Moslem nations are more or less authoritarian, and controlled by nations with a vested interest in keeping interfaith violence going. As more regimes change - more moslems will have the freedom to speak out against the Moslem status quo.

Which is the best way to prevent the attack from happening in the first place.

Posted by Mitch at 12:24 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 18, 2005

Skelton Update

Jeffrey Skelton - who allegedly murdered his wife's lover by shooting him in the eye, foot, groin and twice in the chest - has had a busy month or so.

You may recall that after he allegedly shot Michael Delmore, he called WCCO radio and confessed to his actions on June 20.

Then, while awaiting a bail hearing, he violated the law by trying to contact his wife from jail. This caused his bail to be raised from $500,000 to $750,000.

He was returned to jail days later - he'd tried to contact his wife at work.

He had another bail hearing last week. How do you suppose that went?

According to a source close to the investigation, despite having violated bail conditions twice in the past month (not to mention having allegedly shot his victim in the eye, groin, foot and twice in the chest), the judge not only set the same conditions for bail (stay out of Wright and Hennepin Counties, wear a GPS bracelet, and not to contact his wife or his alleged victim's family) - he also kept the bail at $750,000.

While the Minnesota constitution does indeed provide for reasonable bail, it's hard to avoid the impression that Mr. Skelton is getting more strikes than the new batter in kindergarten league.

Posted by Mitch at 12:55 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Tancredo: Dumb, Dumb, Dumb

Rep. Tom Tancredo's remarks about nuking Mecca if Islamofascists nuke an American city are among the stupidest things I've heard an American politician of any party say. Ever.

Hugh's right:

Every media voice that was raised against Dick Durbin's asinine comparison of Gitmo practices to those of Nazis and Pol Pot should speak with equal pointedness against Tancredo's speculation...this response was incredibly stupid, and his apology --unlike Durbin's-- should be immediate and complete.
Not that it'll matter much to Al-Jazeera's audience, but Hugh's right.

Rep. Tancredo, you need to cough up the apology.

If you live in Rep. Tancredo's district (and even if you don't) a phone call is in order.

Posted by Mitch at 12:21 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Hallmarks of Decay

Cap'n Ed noted a troubling new comment-via-market on our society; cards for people having affairs:

Cathy Gallagher has ensured that with her new line of greeting cards for cheating spouses, romantically named the Secret Lover Collection. This product line emphasizes the special bond formed between two people who promise other people not to sleep around, but then do anyway.
Let's stop there. The cards aren't just for people having affairs. They're for dumb people having affairs. If you're not smart enough to cover your tracks - pay cash rather than plastic, not have your partner's hair or perfume or underwear on when you come home to your spouse, that sort of thing - I suppose it stands to reason that you'd leave a card from your paramour lying around, too.

And if you're sending cards with sayings like " "As we each celebrate with our families, I will be thinking of you" and "I can't imagine my life without you … Even if I have to share you," and "I can't imagine not having you in my life. Let's start living our lives for 'us'", you might be doing your spouse a favor by giving him/her an excuse to hire a lawyer, take the house and the kids and ruin your life.

But I digress. Since American culture has sunk this low, we might as well get in on the action, right?

To wit: Mitch's line of Cards for Unethical Activities!

Here's my first cut:

For: Embezzlers, on Religious Holidays
Saying: They shouldn't think of it as a $50,000,000 dollar loss. They should consider it an "opportunity for growth" they don't know exists. Yet.

For: Milwaukee Democrats
Saying: There once was a lass from Wisconson
An election judge named Violet Johnson.
She learned not to gloat
about rigging the vote
But lit up "Bush" votes with her Ronson!

For: Biased Hack Editorial Board Members from a hypothetical newspaper
Saying: We've got each other, and our paper, and the blessed craft of news.
Who needs the peasants?

For: Lefty Blogger, to his audience (who has just harassed someone half to death)
Saying: Chimpy McBushitler
Halliburton Bomb!
To thank all of you,
I send you this poem.

Your anonymous calls
and late-night door knocks
just go to show
we're smarter than wingnuts!

For: New York Times Reporter to Secret Source/Meal Ticket
Saying: If I call you "Covert Agent"
Will you call me "Admiral"?

For: Columnist Who Loudly Proclaims He's an Unbiased, Accountable (albeit un-edited) Journalist, Who Has A Side Job As an Unaccouble Firebrand Talkradio Host
Saying: Hey, let's call him "Ass-Rocket!"

Bring on the gravy train!

Posted by Mitch at 12:12 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

I Call B.S.

In this week's Time cover story on the Plame flap, the writer dithers about the minutiae of Plame's personal life - her looks, her kids, grocery lists, her car - without getting around to asking "so did you recommend your husband for the trip to Niger? If so, how is this not, at the very least, cronyism?"

But the reporter does note in an aside about Plame's competence as a secret agent that Plame is "a crack shot with an AK-47".


The AK-47 is built to tolerances close to those of a Mattel cap gun. A good marksman might be able to hit a human sized target consistently at a hundred yards or so. It was never built as a marksman's rifle; it was designed:

  • to spray bullets at an enemy, keeping his head down until someone could close in and fire point-blank or lob a grenade at them
  • to be extremely cheap to build
  • to be so simple to maintain that a kid straight out of the stone age could learn to take care of it
Beyond that, and its status as an official press boogeyman, that's really all there is to it.

And spies don't do a lot of shooting, least of all with assault rifles, as a rule. So while Ms. Plame may well have been shown how to shoot an AK-47 (and/or any number of other military rifles), calling anyone a "crack shot" on one is like saying someone is an excellent pianist on a chain saw.

Posted by Mitch at 08:11 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

J-Po Throws Down

I've read a lot of dissections of the Plame/Wilson crisis.

None are as good as John Podhoretz' take in today's Corner.


Matthew Cooper of Time wrote yesterday, and said on television yesterday, that Karl Rove told him Joseph Wilson's wife was in the CIA and that's how Wilson got the gig to go to Niger in 2002. He also said he told the grand jury that when he brought the matter up to Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Libby said, "Yeah, I heard that too."

So in one respect, and one respect only, we have one perplexing new detail. Rove also used the phrase "Yeah, I heard that too" when talking to Robert Novak about Plame. Maybe there's something in the fact tha they both said "Yeah, I heard that too." On the other hand, maybe Rove's or Cooper's or Novak's memory has been tainted somehow by the knowledge that somebody said "Yeah, I heard that too" first.

A game of "Telephone" on a national scale?

Anyway, Podhoretz finds the chase, and cuts directly to it:

In any case, what all this means is...absolutely, absolutely, absolutely nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Rove did nothing wrong. Libby did nothing wrong. That is, unless you think it's wrong to call into question the bona fides of Joseph Wilson and his trip to Niger, which certainly a lot of Leftists think is wrong but which the law of the United States certainly does not.

There is nothing criminal whatever in saying, "Joe Blow works for the CIA" unless Joe Blow works for the CIA under highly covert conditions at some point in the preceding five years, and unless you say so expressly for the purpose of blowing Joe Blow's ocver.

That's the part of this whole flap that is so transparently...silly.

(And when I say it's "silly", I don't mean in cases where real undercover agents on operations get their cover blown. That's treachery - although I hear none of the people caterwauling about "Rove's treason!!!!!" mentioning that incident. Wonder why?)

The language of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 -- which is the legislation under which somebody might get in trouble for revealing Valerie Plame's identity -- is pretty clear. Rove and Libby would have had to have known that the CIA was taking "affirmative measures to conceal [a]covert agent's intelligence relationship to the United States" and then "knowingly" revealed that identify to be subject to criminal penalty.

The fact that Cooper learned that Plame worked for the CIA from Rove isn't a crime. It isn't even a matter worthy of five seconds of discussion. She was working at headquarters on a policy issue, and therefore any human being could have seen her driving from her house into the George HW Bush CIA Campus in Langley, Virginia across the Chain Bridge. Whoo. How secret.

If Plame were a "covert agent", she would not be at the Langley office at all. She'd be an employee of "Van Hoeven Import/Export" in Rotterdam, or as a "journalist" for an organization that swaps favors with the CIA, or a third assistant attache for economic interests at the US Embassy in Cameroon. Anything but a woman who drives a Jaguar to her office in Langley, and, I'd suspect, anyone but a woman married to a publicity-seeking apparatchik.

So the press doesn't get intelligence. Fair enough. Do they get journalism?

The headlines today based on Cooper's written and spoken words yesterday are an effort to "define criminality way way down." There was concern there might have been a crime committed two years ago. That crime was not committed. But rather than the headlines making this fact clear, instead the headlines hint that the non-crime was really committed. This is appalling.

It is conceivable that Rove or Libby or somebody else may have not testified honestly about this to the grand jury, in which case maybe somebody will be indicted for perjury. But not for anything involving Valerie Plame and the knowing publication of the fact that she was a covert operative-- unless, of oourse, your name is Joseph Wilson and you had a conversation with a leftist journalist named David Corn and you made it clear your wife had been a covert agent and you wanted the fact made public so you could accuse the administration of having revealed it criminally when in fact you were the one who revealed it. For more on this head-spinning angle, read my pal Cliff May.

Do they get thorough journalism?
Plus, don't forget about Judith Miller of the New York Times and what she knew and when she knew it and who told her (and whether the one who told her has really ridiculous salt-and-pepper hair and likes to make appearances in Vanity Fair and with Air America Radio's Randi Rhodes but really "leads a quiet non-social life").
Cue the next scandal. Unless they really have evidence of a crime, like, say, perjury, this one is all over but the fat ladies typing.

Posted by Mitch at 08:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Horror of the SUV

An emailer writes:

I was heading to the Office on Friday morning. About 915 I was just coming up to the Air American studios, and the parking lot was full. In the center, was a Cadillac Escalade, The Mother, The Most Plush of all Full-Sized SUV’s on the market today.

(cue Zeppelin)

“Been a long time since I rock & rolled…”

As I’m at the light, I see a guy come out of the door. And I say to myself, “Self, that sure looks like Mike Erlandson. You’ve never seen him up close, only on TV, but that sure looks like him. I wonder if he was on Air America this morning with Nick?” [And indeed he was - Ed.]

Then, as sure as it was already 84 degrees and humid, Erlandson gets into the White Cadillac Escalade (driver’s door) and heads out.

(/cue Zeppelin)

Former DFL chair driving an Escalade while he and his party push the people onto buses and light rail?


Not unlike the Saint Paul city councilman who campaigned against school vouchers while his son attended Saint Paul Academy.

We'll have to look into this.

Posted by Mitch at 08:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Saint Paul Greens - Land Use

Like I said in yesterday's piece, there are a few things about the Green Party platform that, at least at a conceptual level, make sense to me, the libertarian-conservative Republican. They have a few points about grassroots politics that resonate.

The St. Paul Greens' "vision" on Land Use is one of those things; at a conceptual level, it sounds good. Even just a bit conservative:

A livable city will be arranged so that the daily needs of people can be
met efficiently, conveniently and economically.

Land use will encourage vital, compact neighborhoods where people can
live, work, shop, study, worship, and play without traveling great

Makes sense, right? Economy of effort is a good thing, as a general rule, right? The less time you spend driving five miles to the nearest Cub, the more time you have to do something useful.

So far so good.

It will encourage walking, bicycling, and getting to know each other.
Love walking, biking, and getting to know people.
It will preserve the beauty of the land itself in green open spaces, in wooded bluffs, in lakes, rivers, and sweeping views.
Which makes sense in and of itself.
Wise and conservative land use underlies many other elements of the vision -- housing, business, transportation, public services, energy, and environment.

St. Paul has already moved in the direction of better land use by making some zoning code changes in accordance with a plan for traditional neighborhood districts (TND).

Which, if you accept the notion of urban planning, is not a bad thing - again, as a concept.

Of course, with most of the Green concepts, behind the sweet carrot is a nasty coercive stick. And as we get into the beef of the next several elements in the "vision" (I'm doing one per day), we'll see the twisted arm behind the sane-sounding concepts.

Stay tuned.


Posted by Mitch at 07:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

It's Quiet. Too Quiet.

I and a number of other concealed-carry proponents have asked - where's Lillehaug?

Joel Rosenberg has a potential answer.

Remember; the DFL has learned the hard way that they can not win the concealed-carry debate in the Legislature. Being good Democrats, they don't need no steeking legislatures to make law.


There's been no updates on David "Darth" Lillehaug's lawsuits attempting to overturn the Personal Protection Act since the law went back into effect.

I'd rather know what they were doing, myself. That said, my guess is that he's waiting until the lege is out of session, just in case.

Using last time as a yardstick, if he files at the end of fall, assuming he can find an equally tame judge as Finley in Ramsey -- no guarantees, either way -- and if he wins -- I'd bet against it -- it should be a major campaign issue next fall.

Which is precisely what the DFL doesn't want. The metrocrats' opposition to the Personal Protection Act has been very politically expensive for the DFL, every time it's been on the table. Their one major victory in recent years happened in 2004, when it was perceived, politically, as a done deal.

Is Lillehaug waiting for the November 2006 election, and hoping for a legislature that wouldn't repass it, or a governor who might veto repassage?

Interesting question.

This is where a lot of people whose first exposure to politics through talk radio, activist groups or insta-parties get their first bit of cultural sticker shock. It takes a lot of work to change government policy - in the case of the Personal Protection Act, eight years of constant lobbying, petitioning, fundraising, and showing up at hearings in the middle of the work day.

Eight years.

And now that the job's been done successfully - and by that, I mean not only hte legislative job, but the job of changing the attitudes of the people of Minnesota to the point where support for the old racist paternalistic law is considered a political liability. And when you change it over the howling protests of an entrenched constituency, you need to be prepared for them to spring back from the political grave like the monster in a B movie, again and again.

What it means is that every single one of you that cares about self-defense, and about keeping our former, racist, paternalistic concealed carry law off the books, needs to keep your war face on. You need to stay active in politics, and continue supporting politicians that delivered on this law. It's easier to do than ever - a supermajority in both houses supported the MPPA last session, so there are more to choose from than ever. It doesn't even necessarily means supporting the GOP - most outstate DFLers are firmly on board. If you live in the metro, though - if you think the rape victim should have more rights than the rapist, you need to come to the realization that the DFL disagrees.

And since the DFL knows it can not win this debate in the legislature, they know they have to take it to court, hope to find another tame judge like they managed last year, and try to impose their will from the bench. Which may or may not work - judges are a crapshoot, albeit less so in the metro - but in any case it means that we may have to come back to the legislature and do it all again.

Probably not next session; the DFL is dumb, but they're not stupid. They know that messing with concealed carry during an election year will mobilize a lot of people - many of them unfortunately single-issue people who couldn't care less about taxes or the budget or gambling, but who want their right to self-defense. Fair enough - such is politics.

Just saying; keep your war face on. Keep convincing your neighbors. Keep boycotting stores that are posted "No Guns", and telling store management why. Keep failing to create a bloodbath of the innocent (and while you're at it, maybe lop off the odd robber or rapist once in a while). Get your permit, and then have no problems - each of you.

We're not done yet.

Posted by Mitch at 06:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Soon On EBay

Few things are as fascinating - and occasionally depressing - as driving past some of North Dakota's many tiny, dying little towns.

100 years ago, many of these towns throve; a town that today has ten residents and four occupied buildings and a 40 mile drive to the nearest shopping center might have had five hundred people, a high school, a city hall and a town band within the living memory of some of the people who cling to what's left of the towns. The changing farm economy is emptying these towns, creating endless strings of near-ghost towns across what used to be the throbbing rail lines of the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific.

Guthrie is one of those towns - with a twist.

In yesterday's Strib, Bob Von Sternberg tells Guthrie's story, and that of the man who bought it, hoping to turn it into his own family colony:

Markos Janavaras has spent much of his long life selling everything from nylon stockings and Army surplus boots to lawnmowers and dishwashers.

But none of that experience has prepared him for what might be his last sale before he retires: a little town on the North Dakota prairie.

Guthrie, N.D., is a moribund railroad town with only two houses still occupied. It once was going to become a grand Janavaras family compound, complete with grape arbors that would recall Janavaras' native Greece.

On the one hand, it'd be a feat of either engineering or stagecraft; few places on earth resemble the rugged hills and compact vistas of Greece less than the northern drift prairie of North Dakota.

And yet...well, read it for yourself. It's a fascinating story.

Posted by Mitch at 05:48 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


Brenarlo at "Taking Back North Dakota" notes that 95% of incumbent Democrat Senator Kent Conrad's money is from out of state.

Keep following TBND, perhaps the leading NoDak campaign blog this election cycle.

Posted by Mitch at 04:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2005


I love stormy weather.

When I was a kid, it terrified me, of course, all the talk of "Large hail and damaging winds" and tornado warnings and flash flood watches; unknown calamities from above, waiting in the dark.

But by my mid-teens, when I started working in radio, I started loving stormy weather. Part of it was the buzz that would kick off around the station when a warning came out, back in those days when small-town radio stations still had people in the building to cover things like storms. The AP wire clacked, the fire department plectron beeped, the Weather Radio squawked, the transmitter relays seemed to kick out more ozone, and things just seemed a bit more charged.

And of course, after an afternoon of playing Mac Davis records, it seemed a rush to suddenly have what you were doing matter for a few hours; people would tune in and listen, the police would phone in updates, and for a few crazy hours I was scrambling to cover a couple of jobs while, occasionally, all hell broke loose from the skies above.

When I was 19, I worked at a little station, KDAK, in Carrington, ND. One Thursday afternoon, the Carrington police called with a report of a funnel cloud two miles south of town, heading north. The rest of the staff headed for the basement. I stayed on, doing the usual storm schtick, repeating the instructions for what to do in the event of a tornado, rebroadcasting the police, taking calls.

I looked out the window, once, as I was going through the patter ("...get into your basement, or into an interior room. If you're outdoors, find a low-lying area...) and saw, in the sky above, the whirling of the funnel cloud. It was either twenty feet or two hundred feet off the ground, depending on how I embellish the story. But I listened to the tape later - and I never skipped a beat. I was in hog heaven (or, given the primary industry of the area, cattle and macaroni heaven).

I miss that, sometimes.

Posted by Mitch at 09:07 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Stinking Heat

Doug observes:

It's hot. Nasty hot. Hot like Minnesotans shouldn't have to endure. Our schtick is cold weather. But this is day... nine-hundred or something, I've lost count... of our current heat wave.
There's the dirty little secret.

Minnesota's winters - at least in the Twin Cities - are very overrated. I rarely even need a proper winter coat in the Twins; while winter in North Dakota frequently brought weeks when the temps never got above zero, that's a definite rarity in this part of Minnesota.

But the summers? Oy.

I've had this theory since I was in fifth grade; people are best adapted to the weather they were first exposed to. My father was born on the hottest week in the history of North Dakota; it was over 100 IN the house when he came home. Dad has always been able to play three sets of tennis on a 95 degree day, drink a cup of iced tea, and go shoot 18 holes of golf and hardly break a sweat - but when it got below 40, he started like a Fiat.

I, on the other hand, was (so the story goes) brought out of the hospital in the aftermath of North Dakota snowstorm; it was -25 Fahrenheit with a howling wind (or so I'm told). I rarely button my jacket if it's above 10 degrees; I don't don an actual winter coat until it's perilously close to zero. But above 85, I'm a sodden mess (unless I can be on my bike, thrashing out the miles - which I can't right now).

The weather is the worst. Hot, sticky, stinking humidity. Food seems to turn soggy and "off" in your hand. The fridge strains to keep up. I have no AC in my bedroom - so at least once a night I wake up, drenched in sweat, thinking "I can't go on like this..." before I fall back to a stinking, fitful, humid sleep.

It's supposed to cool down tomorrow. Not a moment too soon.

Posted by Mitch at 12:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That Reminds Me

Reading Red's karaoke experience, I just realized what an intense hole has been left in my life.

I've been single (again) for almost six years now. And for five of those years, on Saturday nights when I had no kids (about every other week, on average), no date (much more common) and nothing else pressing (pretty common), my old standby was going to sing karaoke at the Chevy's (nee Rio Bravo, nee Chi Chi's) on Hamline at I-94. It's an easy walk from home, they had a decent special on not-awful beer, and there were few enough regulars that I could actually get up and sing 3-4 times a night if I wanted to. And some nights, I really, really wanted to. My best:

  • I did a "Born to Run" that usually got a few people cheering along
  • Me and the host did a really cool version of "The Weight", by the Band. I do harmony pretty well, and for whatever reason I'm able to tune into Robbie Robertson's zone pretty easily.
  • I did a "Jump Around" by House of Pain that had the whole bar - yep, jumping around. Perhaps it was the novelty of a middle-aged schlump rapping "I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe/if your girl steps up, I'm slappin the ho/word to your moms/I came to drop bombs/I got more rhymes than the bible's got psalms..."
Anyway, Chevy's bagged the karaoke about a year ago. And for the life of me, I can't find a bar anywhere in Saint Paul that does karaoke on Saturday nights.

No, I don't want to drive to Shakopee or Savage. Saint Paul is one of America's great cities; for the love of humanity, why can it not have a karaoke joint on Saturday nights?

Posted by Mitch at 12:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Today's Least Tempting Offer

Pauly Shore?


Posted by Mitch at 10:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 15, 2005

The Broadcast

The Good News: The Twin Cities' other boutique lifestyle freebie paper, Rake, interviews Tom Mischke, perhaps the best talk radio personality in the Twin Cities today, and the only truly unabashed original anywhere in the market.

The Bad News: The interview is conducted by Jennifer "F*** the Suburbs" "Bats*** Crazy" Vogel.

Let's take a look.

Mischke - who has an almost uncanny resemblance to my little brother, Jim Berg - and I have one thing in common; Don Vogel got us started in talk radio. I was one of Vogel's producers, and back during the twilight of the "Fairness Doctrine, I did the Twin Cities' first overtly conservative talk show.

Mischke, of course, was a regular caller in those days, the kind that in this day and age would be a legend among talk radio producers:

“The thing is, I wasn’t prepared,” Mischke said with a laugh, remembering that first call. Then he slipped into what can only be described as his amused voice, which sounds like he’s inhaled a bit of helium. “That’s what happens when I’m not prepared.” After hanging up the phone, Mischke sat in the delivery van and listened to himself on the air (the station employs an eight-second delay). It was horrible, he said, but then a very important thing happened. “There must have been something about it, some sense that this wasn’t just a guy who called up to scream, but a guy who kind of panicked. And they started laughing. That hooked me to try again the next day.” Playing a different character with each call, by the fourth time, Mischke had a moniker, the Phantom Caller [The name came from Dave Elvin, the other producer]. He was hooked forever. “I’m on the radio today because Vogel laughed.”
As did everyone in the room. I usually screened calls on the Vogel show, and I used to make out Mischke's voice (in an interview on a fan site, Tom says he caught us by surprise. Not when I was screening; I made his voice out at least four out of five times he called in); I'd cue Don that "The Phantom" was in the queue, and we'd all sit back and look forward to the latest installment; by the time Don left town in '87, we had a good-sized reel of "Phantom" calls, some of the funniest radio ever.

Of course, by the fall of '86 I think Tom knew he was onto something. The Vogel show did a live remote from the front display window of the old Powers Department Store, on the Nicollet Mall (across from the NSP building, I think). About halfway through the show, Mischke showed up wearing a jury-rigged superhero costume, clutching a notepad filled with what amounted to hand-written Phantom clips, passing them out to the crowd assembled on the Mall. Then he and his accomplice ran to a waiting car for their getaway. I had one of those sheets somewhere - probably still do, in some box in my basement - but the only thing I remember about the stuff he handed out was that they were almost as funny as the bit itself...

By the way, I knew who Mischke was before anyone else. Hubbard Broadcasting was famous for lousy pay in those days, and I worked hard to stretch my miserable paycheck, including writing for the Mischke family's chain of papers. One day, I was talking with Tom's brother Mike as I turned in an article. "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this, but my brother Tom is the 'Phantom Caller'", he told me. I managed to sit on the secret for the next year or so.

There, of course, the similarities end. Mischke is an amazing talent:

A man named Al was trying to reach the weather line at KSTP television news. Mischke didn’t let that small fact get in the way. He claimed to be the evening weather person himself, a guy named Blow Zephyr...Mischke started off by claiming that his uncle Ned had been killed by a tornado. Because he was a quadriplegic, Ned had been unable to get out of the way, as Al would have suggested. “There is a guy who would have taken a step to the right or left but couldn’t,” said Mischke. “He wanted to, badly. And then, there was old Ned in a cottonwood...It’s this affectionate if not quite on the up-and-up relationship with listeners—one that is not formal or degrading or belligerent—that makes Mischke’s show so fascinating. It’s also what makes him the area’s best known underground radio sensation, the favorite of pizza delivery drivers, DIY auto repairmen, factory workers, insomniacs, late-night lonely guys, and women who lie in the dark wishing their boyfriends were more original.
"Underground" radio. That's funny. Hubbard Broadcasting, although it's a ma and pa operation by the standards of the Clear Channels of the world, is still a billion-dollar-plus operation. Mischke's show runs on a 50,000 watt blowtorch of a station. I wish I were so underground.

Comes now the inevitable sniff, the rueful shrug at what might have been:

Mischke is a self-described throwback to the days of entertainment radio, before the AM dial was given over to political belligerents, when the possibilities and probabilities of the medium seemed endless, and the Lone Ranger always rode again. Garrison Keillor, in a recent Nation essay, described him this way: “a free spirit who gets into wonderful stream-of-consciousness harangues and meditations that are a joy to listen to.”
One person's wistful idealist is another person's "belligerent".

While she's right about Mischke, Vogel's got AM radio all wrong. Implicit in the article is the idea that in the years between the Golden Age of Radio and Rush Limbaugh, AM radio was a throbbing, diverse polyglot of untrammeled underground creativity. Non-belligerent creativity, at that.

Which is something that could only come from someone that didn't know radios had an AM setting until the nineties.

We'll come back to this.

(Aside: Vogel (Jen) pays homage to Vogel (Don):

Vogel, who died of bladder cancer in 1995, was a throwback himself, a gag man and impersonator who was said to do Larry King better than King himself.
He did King (and Reagan and Jimmy Carter) well. He did Howard Cosell better than the original.
In 1992, six years after his first phantom call, Mischke was hired as Vogel’s sidekick for twenty dollars per show. They worked together for two years before the relationship crumbled. At issue was the fact that Vogel liked to wing it with little or no preparation, while Mischke believed (and still believes) in gathering and fine-tuning a full load of material each day. For every show, he typically spends about six hours combing through newspapers and writing tunes on the upright piano in his home office (he’s painted the black keys red and replaced the front panel with glass, so he can see the hammers as he plays). Preparation is a security blanket of sorts, in case nobody like Al calls in. In case there are no surprises.
I suspect that was more a matter of burnout on Don's part. When I worked on the show, Don and Dave and I met for about two hours every day, a meeting that had a fairly strictly-defined ritual:
  1. The last person into the studio for the meeting always said "I'm having trouble with my bank". The other guys would reply "what bank?" The reply - every day for a year and a half - "the S*** P*** F*** Bank!".
  2. Dave and I would read articles to Don, who'd punch them out on his braille machine.
  3. If he was feeling bored, I'd grab a guitar (and sometimes Dave's bass, and a drum machine) and we'd punch out a song - many of the best of which got spiked by management).
  4. If we got done early and we were feeling good about things, Don'd hand me a ten dollar bill and I'd dash over to White Castle
I was told that on his second hitch in the Cities - after stints in Chicago and Milwaukee - he was a different Don; bitter over his second divorce, in a bit of mid-life crisis, and then his illness.

Anyway - cue the inevitable editoria:

Mischke found rather quickly, within six months, that he didn’t like contributing to the cranky churn of AM radio, designed as it is to incite apoplectic fits...The proliferation of rant-filled, right-wing AM radio can be linked to the repeal, by Ronald Reagan in 1987, of what was known as the Fairness Doctrine. The 1949 FCC rule mandated that in return for a license to broadcast, radio stations had to cover “controversial issues of public importance” in a way that allowed for a “reasonable” representation of opposing views. Once that pesky standard was out of the way, a man named Rush Limbaugh emerged. Limbaugh built his career on the notion that mainstream media outlets were liberally biased. Through endless chest thumping, he enraged listeners already mistrustful of the news and ensured an appetite for more conservative fare. The biased media morphed into the elite biased media, and talk radio’s modern audience was solidified. AM talk stations have been propagating ever since, born of the syndicated likes of Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
Which is the conventional wisdom.

And, like most conventional wisdom, it's wrong. AM radio has a loooong history of opinion-mongering brick-throwers. Those who think (mistakenly) that Rush Limbaugh is the father of chest-beating provocation have never heard of Morton Downey Jr, or Joe Pyne, or Bob Grant (or, on the left, Alan Berg or Tom Leykis), each of which were more obstreporous than Limbaugh or Hannity (or Franken or Sam Seder); they were conservative and angry, but they were countered as a matter of law by countervailing hosts on the left (like the mealy-mouthed Michael Jackson and Owen Span) or, in the case of the old KSTP where both Mischke and I started, the right, where at 2AM on the first Monday morning in July of 1986 "The Mitch Berg Show" debuted, purely to counterbalance the mildly-lefty politics of Mike Edwards, Span, Jackson, and even Vogel himself (and the harder-left stream-of-consciousness that was Geoff Charles).

Of course, I can forgive Vogel's ignorance of history - AM was so uncool back then. Misrepresenting the present - well, that's another matter:

KSTP-AM 1500 program director Joe O’Brien doesn’t like to think of his station, which is owned by St. Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting, as right wing. He says he chooses hosts according to their entertainment value and their understanding of Minnesota culture, not by any certain ideology. “If radio were a party,” he said, “these would be the people everyone would want to hang out with.” But the fact is, nearly all of KSTP’s hosts are conservatives.

Conservatives: Limbaugh and Hannity - both national. Locally - Bob Davis, sort of. Joe Soucheray is more a curmudgeon than a conservative.

Liberals: Rosenbaum and O'Connor both shade left of center. Kris Krok has swung to the center at best since he started at the station. The lefty Mischke and the just-plain-insane, but probably left-of-center George Noory complete the lineup. You do the math, especially among local hosts.

Conventional wisdom is misleading at best:

“I’m around that climate every day,” said Mischke. “It’s all get on board the train. And I’m not on the train. And what I hate is that there even is a train. Because what I love about this country, what I used to see, is that you just had all these wild individualists and all these different ways of thinking and just this cacophony out there of different views. There should be 280 million different views, to go with every American, and somehow that has been winnowed down to two. I don’t know how in the hell that happened.”
Which is, of course, bullshit.

Amercans' views are still cacaphonous; AM radio veers to the right because it was a totally untapped market fifteen years ago. The blogosphere (which, for all his alleged love of cacaphony, Mischke claims to abhor on the air) is a textbook case of anarchy. That government doesn't step in in its nannystatist glory to ensure that every medium is "balanced" (like NPR!) doesn't mean that American society is any more homogenized than ever before.

And as much as I love Tom's show, there's a curmudgeonly aspect to it that is a real dial-spinner for me:

His worldview still bubbles up between the cracks. He recently talked with a co-author of Why Business People Speak Like Idiots and wondered aloud whether the business world makes people “less human.”
Which is the kind of question you can ask after twenty years of successfully insulating yourself from the kind of "square" jobs the rest of us get to do to pay our families' bills. For those of us without that luxury, it comes across as self-adulatory navel-gazing. Which is, indeed, my big tuneout with Mischke's show; he's become every bit as much of a "counterculture" curmudgeon as his stationmate Joe Soucheray has for the stodgy, majority Minnesota culture. Both forms bore me stiff.

But then, it could be that Mischke has some help in the self-adulatory navel-gazing department:

The randomness of the Mischke Broadcast doesn’t appear to ruffle longtime fans (though it sometimes confuses new listeners), perhaps indicating that we as a people are less brain-dead than we’re led to believe.
Who's "leading" "us" to believe "the people" are "Brain-dead"?

Oh, yeah - people like Jennifer Vogel.

I digress. The piece is a decent catalogue of Mischke's charmed radio life, and hints at just how damn enjoyable the Broadcast is for people who just love the art of radio. It's worth a read.

Posted by Mitch at 06:28 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Marty Newton's Freaky World

I sat down in a chair late last night after eating a curious mushroom I don't remember putting in my fridge. The next thing I knew, I was walking through a strange forest, where perspective and, indeed, meaning had lost all meaning.

A man in a turban spoke furtively yet animated discussion with a pudgy man wearing a day-glo purple Keffiyeh:

Yes, ser; we serreptitiously serveyed the sercle of sergons as they sercled the insermountable servey that Yasser sirved them".
I shook my head as if to clear the cobwebs and moved on. Soon, a man stood before me, dressed like a small cat, grinning in a way I found unsettling yet catchy. "I got Horslips tickets. They're the biggest thing in the world", he whispered. I pulled away and ran into a restaurant to escape the madness.

I sat at the bar, and ordered a GRain Belt as a young couple behind me decided what to have for dinner.

GUY: OK, we need a side dish.

GIRL: Something that goes just as well with your cobb salad as with my camel tartare..."

GUY: Baklava?

GIRL: Nah.

GUY: Doritos?

GIRL: Nope

GUY: Gum?

GIRL: GUM! PERFECT! It's the number one snack food in America as interpreted in Marty World

I left, unsure of what this crazy new world would do next.

Posted by Mitch at 06:00 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

A Purpose for Erlandson

I caught about five minutes of former MN DFL chair Mike Erlandson filling in for Nick Coleman on the local amateur radio collective/Frankennet affiliate.

He was interviewing Senator Mark Dayton.

I now know Mark Erlandson's purpose; to make Mark Dayton sound cogent and focused in comparison.

Note to "Air America Minnesota" staff and management; having your guest hosts interviewing a cavalcade of DFL talking heads (Erlandson's sycophantic bit with businessman and Erlandson neighbor Larry Gegax (sp), for example) is about as interesting as watching Wild Wendy eating.

And what the hell's with the support staff? First Kuhbi is gone, and now Wild Wendy's old producer (whose name eludes eludes me) is gone from the website. Which is a drag, because her photo was really the only reason to go back there...

Posted by Mitch at 12:05 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack


Incredibly tired today. Long evening. More later.

More posting as the day goes on. I hope.

Posted by Mitch at 12:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 14, 2005

Not Torture

Not at Guantanamo, anyway, says a DOD report:

Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who headed the probe into FBI accounts of abuse of Guantanamo prisoners by Defense Department personnel, concluded that the man was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" due to "the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations." The techniques used were authorized by the Pentagon, he said.
So they provided deep discomfiture, and not much else.

The result?

"As the bottom line, though, we found no torture. Detention and interrogation operations were safe, secure and humane," Schmidt said.

The Pentagon identified the man as Mohamed al-Qahtani and said he ultimately provided "extremely valuable intelligence."

So what was going on?
A military report presented before the Senate Armed Services Committee stated a Saudi man, described as the "20th hijacker" slated to have participated in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America, was forced by interrogators in late 2002 to wear a bra and had women's thong underwear placed on his head.

U.S. interrogators also told him he was a homosexual, forced him to dance with a male interrogator, told him his mother and sister were whores, forced him to wear a leash and perform dog tricks, menaced him with a dog and regularly subjected him to interrogations up to 20 hours a day for about two months, the report said.

In other words ,they put him in junior high gym class.

Posted by Mitch at 07:00 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I wrote this two years ago, during the summer of my discontent, the summer of '03, when I spent six months doing 40 hours a month of subsistence contracting (closely following four months of no work at all).

And, at least in my field, things are getting tantalizingly close to proving me right.


Posted by Mitch at 06:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Not Just a Shameless, Powerline-like Display of Cheesecake

Desperate Housewives nets 15 Emmy nominations.

I've never seen the show, but...fifteen?

I'm suspecting it's like this:

EMMY NOMINATOR: "Maybe if I get DHW into the running, Eve Longoria will go out with me..."
Am I wrong? I mean...


Hmm. Thinking. Thinking.

Damn, what a great show. It'd sure be great if DHW won all fifteen. Especially Eve Longoria.

Posted by Mitch at 12:13 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

It's a Kick...

...knowing that somewhere in the world, there are 14 of my What Would Reagan Do bumper stickers floating around.

Posted by Mitch at 12:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

You Know Who You Are

You're one of those people who goes to the gym, walks in to the pool, picks a lane, jumps in, and...

...doesn't swim!

You are one of those "water joggers". Or perhaps one of those people who grabs a paddleboard or one of those floaty noodles and trundles up and down the lane. You tootle along at about 1/2 mile per hour, head above water, full view of your surroundings - but each of you takes up a full lane. And the pool at our gym only has like six of them.

In the meantime, those of us who are there to swim - to knock out a zillion laps and try to get some mileage in - wait. And wait.

And wait for a lane to open up.

Because when you actually swim, it's good to have a whole lane, so you're not smacking into other swimmers (note to all you real swimmers; yes, I know, you can, in theory, share lanes. But I'm not a real swimmer yet, and it's not really optimal, and you know it, so just shush) - which is something you water joggers and noodle riders don't need to worry about, since you can see each other.

So why don't all of you non-swimmers take one lane and leave some room for the rest of us?

That is all.

Posted by Mitch at 12:06 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

The Perils Of Excessive Artistic License

Ben Jones, who played "Cooter the Mechanic" on the original "Dukes of Hazzard" TV series, doesn't like the treatment his treasured family classic received in Hollywood:

"From all I have seen and heard, the "Dukes" movie is a sleazy insult to all of us who have cared about the "Dukes of Hazzard" for so long ... ," Jones wrote. "Unless they clean it up before the August 5th release date I would strongly recommend that true blue Dukes fans hold their noses and pass this one up."

A spokeswoman at Warner Brothers pictures, which is releasing the movie, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on Wednesday.

I can't make this stuff up.

It's not like I was a big fan of the original - I'm pretty dyspeptic about most TV, really - but for all of Jones' complaining, I have to wonder; if the show were coming on the air today, would it be as "family" as it was back then?

(Via Red).

Posted by Mitch at 12:02 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Barry At The Water Cooler

Barry Hickethier has a new blog, Water Cooler Wisdom. Today's episode - the Stem Cell debate.

Read it.

Posted by Mitch at 08:25 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 13, 2005

Get Your Own Name, Buddy

While trawling the HuffPo for material (even easier than tuning in the local FrankenNet affiliate), I was shocked to see what I thought was my blog on the Huffpo blogroll. "Shots In The Dark".

"Close enough", I figured, and clicked.

Oy. Not close enough.

Not only has this "Richard Bradley" fella picked a name very close to my own blog's name, but it also looks, coincidentally, very much like this blog's design before, say, January of 2003. The big difference, besides the extra "s", is that his blog has been in existence three fewer years than Shot in the Dark.

Just saying, don't be mixing me up with Bradley, who's written for Salon, George, the NYTimes, Boston Mag and others (as Richard Bradley and, apparently, "Richard Blow").

Just saying.

Posted by Mitch at 12:40 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Kuttner Corrects, Snarks

Robert Kuttner retracts his "Rove Did It, and Fitzgerald is in on it!" column last week:

LAST WEEK in this space, I implied that the special counsel in the Valerie Plame leak case, Patrick Fitzgerald, might be protecting the Bush administration. It made no sense, I argued, that New York Times reporter Judith Miller was going to jail for protecting a source, while columnist Robert Novak, who first published the leak, either had revealed his source to Fitzgerald and thus solved the case or should be under similar threats but wasn't. Ergo: Fitzgerald was going after the press rather than the White House.

Wrong on all counts. In 20 years of writing columns for the Globe, I've had to print minor corrections, but this is the first story I really booted. I owe readers and prosecutor Fitzgerald an explanation and an apology.

He goes on to list how very, very wrong his column of last week was...

...and closes with what amounts to an "I know Rove is, but what am I":

As Michael Kinsley has observed, not all leaks are created morally equal. It's one thing for reporters to protect a brave whistle-blower who has taken personal risks to serve the public interest. It is another thing for reporters to collude with the powerful to punish the whistle-blower, in this case Joseph Wilson, and his wife, an innocent bystander.
...whose "whistleblowing" has been completely trounced, but what's a little thing like truth among reporters?

Posted by Mitch at 12:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Whistleblower

A government employee gives a sweetheart deal to a relative.

The relative uses the gig to enhance not only his reputation, but his bottom line via proceeds earned through business outside of government. Neither of them would have happened without the original nepotism from the government employee.

A whistleblower, at risk to his own job and reputation, tips the media off about the sweetheart deal.

The media, in their role as society's professional skeptics, took the whisteblower's lead and ran with it. Right?


Democrats and most of the Beltway press corps are baying for Karl Rove's head over his role in exposing a case of CIA nepotism involving Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. On the contrary, we'd say the White House political guru deserves a prize--perhaps the next iteration of the "Truth-Telling" award that The Nation magazine bestowed upon Mr. Wilson before the Senate Intelligence Committee exposed him as a fraud.

For Mr. Rove is turning out to be the real "whistleblower" in this whole sorry pseudo-scandal. He's the one who warned Time's Matthew Cooper and other reporters to be wary of Mr. Wilson's credibility. He's the one who told the press the truth that Mr. Wilson had been recommended for the CIA consulting gig by his wife, not by Vice President Dick Cheney as Mr. Wilson was asserting on the airwaves. In short, Mr. Rove provided important background so Americans could understand that Mr. Wilson wasn't a whistleblower but was a partisan trying to discredit the Iraq War in an election campaign. Thank you, Mr. Rove.

And lest we forget the reason for the whole flap:
In short, Joe Wilson hadn't told the truth about what he'd discovered in Africa, how he'd discovered it, what he'd told the CIA about it, or even why he was sent on the mission. The media and the Kerry campaign promptly abandoned him, though the former never did give as much prominence to his debunking as they did to his original accusations. But if anyone can remember another public figure so entirely and thoroughly discredited, let us know.

If there's any scandal at all here, it is that this entire episode has been allowed to waste so much government time and media attention, not to mention inspire a "special counsel" probe. The Bush Administration is also guilty on this count, since it went along with the appointment of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in an election year in order to punt the issue down the road. But now Mr. Fitzgerald has become an unguided missile, holding reporters in contempt for not disclosing their sources even as it becomes clearer all the time that no underlying crime was at issue.
As for the press corps, rather than calling for Mr. Rove to be fired, they ought to be grateful to him for telling the truth.

Read it all. Tell your lefty friends.

Posted by Mitch at 07:44 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Damnation by Faint Praise, Redux

The Strib editorial board continues its usual scolding over the session - but correctly notices a potential bright spot.

Sort of.

It starts with the usual bla bla blah:

Minnesotans have every reason this week to roll their eyes at mention of the state Legislature...amazement at lawmakers' knack for fiddling while Minnesota fizzles...
Perhaps the Strib didn't notice - business is picking up, to the point where tax revenues are outstripping the Legislature's abiliity to spend it all.

But I digress:

However lawmakers have faltered, they deserve at least polite applause for approving these sensible changes. And another reform now heading for the law books actually merits audible cheers: After years of backpedaling, the Legislature this session finally took a leap toward rational drug sentencing.
Drug offenders - most of the non-violent - are a huge percentage of the prisoners in this state. Minnesota has plenty of prisons by any rational measure - and yet the pace of drug convictions pushes Minnesota to build more, and bigger, prisons. It has to stop.

With luck, it will:

Few Minnesotans seem aware of this heartening news -- hardly surprising given the public outrage over all the 2005 Legislature didn't do. [???? - Ed.] But the sentencing policy change signed this session by Gov. Tim Pawlenty could turn out to be monumentally important in shaping this state's future...the new law casts off Minnesota's old habit of locking up drug offenders or long prison stays in favor of a strategy that emphasizes thrift, community safety and enhanced public health. The new approach stems from research showing that simply incarcerating lawbreaking addicts does nothing to nudge them toward recovery before release. That outcome is best achieved by creating incentives to propel drug offenders through treatment -- a strategy known to markedly reduce recidivism among offenders who will otherwise almost certainly repeat their mistakes once they hit the streets.

Sponsored by Republican Sens. Julianne Ortman of Chanhassen and Tom Neuville of Northfield, this law promises a shrewder approach to drug crimes, not a softer one. The law permits earlier release for incarcerated, nonviolent drug offenders who successfully complete six months of drug treatment while in prison. The conditions eligible offenders must fulfill are strict: Before release, they'll face government review to assure they pose no public-safety peril. After release, they'll be obliged to participate in aftercare and drug-testing programs and to wear electronic ankle bracelets that make eluding official oversight impossible.

Which is a good start. The vast majority of people involved in the drug trade are consumers - addicts who need help with dependencies, rather than vocational education in crime.

Getting them out of the prison system will take the pressure off the state's system, and make room for the dealers, traffickers...

...and people who shoot people in the face, chest, groin and foot, among others.

Posted by Mitch at 07:22 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

When Hatchets Backfire

Byron York on the "outing" that seems, increasingly, not to have been:

In an interview with National Review Online, Luskin compared the contents of a July 11, 2003, internal Time e-mail written by Cooper with the wording of a story Cooper co-wrote a few days later.
Of course, it's Washington; you never know who's telling the truth, if any.

But Rove's detractors seem to be farther and farther out on the limb every day.

Posted by Mitch at 06:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Good Sign?

At the end of World War II, the Japanese - out of oil, fuel, industrial base, and the elite pilots and officers with whom they'd started the war, who'd been killed off over three years of brutal combat with the US, British and Chinese - turned to the only thing they had left - a huge population indoctrinated since birth in a religio-political worldview that glorified death for the "greater good". Suicide submarines, motor boats, divers, rocket planes, and of course the horrendous Kamikaze all made their appearances, with varying degrees of success (motorboats and human-guided torpedos sank a single ship; Kamikaze planes sank dozens and killed thousands of American sailors). Had an invasion of the Japanese home islands been necessary, it's likely we'd have seen more varieties of the suicide warrior; some of the permutations looked eerily like the suicide bombers of the West Bank and, we learned yesterday, London:

The four young men who carried out the London terror attacks were British-born suicide bombers, police sources have told Sky News.

At a minimum, it is "highly likely" one of the Tube attackers died in the strikes on the Underground network.

Police have stopped short of saying publicly Britain had suffered its first suicide strike, but Sky News correspondent Martin Brunt said senior anti-terror police were working on the assumption the men were British-born suicide bombers and had died in the blasts.

The thing is, suicide bombers are not a sign of strength. They're a sign that "this is the best we can do; we need to use our brainwashed people as our weapons guidance systems".

Horriffic? Absolutely.

A sign that the war on terror is going badly, or that the war in Iraq was a mistake?

Hardly. It'd be analogous to saying "The Marianas Turkey Shoot was responsible for the kamikaze campaign." True, as far as it goes, but not the whole story.

Posted by Mitch at 05:15 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Sly Coup

I'm a very casual consumer of comics. "Dilbert" has been the bulk of my comic diet since "Calvin and Hobbes" left production.

That's not, of course, a reflection of my real interest, of course. In fact, if there's a great unrequited wish in my life, I'd love to be able to draw cartoons. If I could do editorial cartoons, or a long-form graphic story, I could probably drop blogging with a clear conscience.

But I can barely draw a decent stick figure. All my artistic talent went into music. So the blog is safe.

Of course, Chris Muir's "Day By Day has become "Doonsbury" of the conservative blogosphere (and Chris, I mean that in a good way).

But via Joel, I encountered Wapsi Square, a supremely quirky and ultimately fascinating web strip produced in Minneapolis by Paul Taylor. It's one of those rare, fascinating bits of Web art that, like Odin Soli's Mexican Year, I felt compelled to down at and read from beginning (in 2001) to the present in, basically, one sitting.


Downside: It's a post-college coming-of-age strip.
Upside: Unlike most such stories, once it gets into its groove (a few dozen panels into the strip, probably in early '02), it gets very interesting.
Downside: Although the strip's been going for four years, there's just not enough of it yet. It seems to have been published a few times a week.
Upside: The character arcs, which start very light, go through some fascinating turns; dark, funny, wierd, sexy, dumb, poignant.
Downside: Lots of brassiere-related humor.
Upside: Is that really so bad?
Downside: Even after four years, the output is not so prolific that we've gotten more than skin-deep into anyone's character or any story arc. I feel after spending a few hours reading last night that I still barely know the characters.
Upside: It bugs me that I still barely know them.

Suggestion: DO NOT start at the end and work your way toward earlier strips; there's too much backstory by the time you get to the latest strips. It makes more sense, and is much more enjoyable, if you start at the beginning and just keep reading. Take my word for it. (And no, the fact that one of its characters has a carry permit and knows how to use it isn't why I'm raving; it only drew me to the strip).

Note to Paul; excellent effort. Now, do more. And faster.

Posted by Mitch at 05:03 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Good Angel, Bad Angel

On My Right Shoulder, the good angel, in the voice of Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost, who writes about the fungible and often illusory rewards of blogging - things like traffic numbers and money and recognition in the square press - which in the end don't add up to much compared to the things that really matter:

But I’ll do so knowing that those numbers don’t really matter. What I’ve gained from blogging - friendship, community, education - can’t be quantified. The best things in the blogosphere are the connections you make, the relationships you form, and the posts that amuse, inform, and surprise - and those are things that can’t be measured by Sitemeter or Technorati.
On My Left Shoulder, the bad angel. I wondered like a moron for weeks why my Sitemeter traffic was so much lower than on my hit logs. It hit me the other day; because I only had the Sitemeter code on the main page, not all the "archive" pages with the individual posts to which other blogs (to say nothing of Google) link.

I say "had".

I put in counters on all the pages, now - and my traffic is looking much healthier.

Joe's right, of course; the greatest rewards of blogging are the new social circle, my new friends both personal and virtual, the avenue it re-opened into talk radio, the outlet of constant writing, and the chicks. Oh, the chicks.

But right now, both the angels are high-fiving me.

Posted by Mitch at 04:52 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Paging Alanis Morrissette

Sinn Fein sends condolences to London's bombing victims.

Posted by Mitch at 12:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

If Major Parties Irritate You...

...stop and remember; it could be worse.

The Green Party has released its Vision for Saint Paul.

It's a five twenty year plan:

The Green Party's Vision for StPaul 2005-2025


Imagine a city that is a model for the rest of the world in sustainable,
environmentally friendly living.

You mean like Portland?
A city that works not toward growth and sprawl at any cost but toward mutual support and quality of life for all its citizens.
Do you suppose the "vision" will include an idea of what they mean by "quality of life?"
A city where all children have access to superb free public education that teaches not only the basic skills needed for living but gives them
the incentive and confidence to become active, informed citizens of a democracy -- and of a peaceful global community.
Ah. We've been here before.

Two years ago, the Greens endorsed Richard Broderick for the St. Paul school board. In his announcement, he made the Greens' vision for education perfectly clear:

In order for our society to adopt these values -- as it must, if we are to survive on this planet -- we need to nurture the instinctively Green consciousness of our young people through the comprehensive application of these principles to curriculum, instruction, administration, and district-wide decision-making processes
In other words, the Greens see it as an imperative to use schools to indoctrinate children in Green philosophy.

Look - there are parts of the Green party I don't find obnoxious; their encouragement of participation in democracy is a laudable one, conceptually. But it's interesting that one of the few parts of their "vision" that isn't purely pie-in-the-sky is so corrosively totalitarian.

Imagine a city in which workers have the right to a living wage and where there is affordable housing and health care for all.

A city of thriving neighborhoods, community-based small businesses and co-ops, and an economy weaning itself from dependence on fossil fuel. A city where buildings are lighted, heated, and cooled with renewable energy.

And that renewable energy is...what?
A city where there is clean, low-fare mass transit night and day and
where air and water pollution are things of the past.
Imagine a city with a transparent and responsive government free of the
corrupting influence of big money,
Yeah, McCain-Feingold handled that so well...
with well-kept parks, scenic vistas,
and streets free from violence and fear.
And this magical removal of fear comes from...what?

"Well-kept parks" are easy - either through government action or volunteerism, it's not a problem. Vistas are not a government project (hopefully). But this "freedom from violence and fear"...huh?

Since Greens are broadly anti-"Law and order", and nearly to a person opposed the Minnesota Personal Protection Act, one wonders whose fear they oppose.

Let's skip way ahead:

...In the following pages we have outlined the main elements in realizing our vision. Those elements are based on the Green Party's four core values of Social and Economic Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Ecological Wisdom, and Nonviolence, localized to the unique character of our own home community. The main requirement is recognition that each step is not only the right thing to do but also practical and realistic, and that the long-term benefits are genuinely possible. We invite all citizens of St. Paul, no matter what their political affiliation, to join us in shaping this dream and suggesting the specific steps needed to make it come true by the year
And those steps are...:
Elements of the Vision:
Jobs and economic development
Health Care
Land use
Local Government
Public Safety
Public Services
Cultural institutions and historic preservation

These elements are woven together like the threads of a tapestry, and they
cannot be separated.

Each rests on the others, just as the well-being of
each one of us rests on the health of family, neighborhood, town, state,
and the earth itself. St. Paul has already made some strides toward a
Green future. Its comprehensive plan calls for careful land use,
neighborhoods that are "urban villages," restoration of a healthy
Mississippi River, and expanded public transportation. Its District Energy
system has led the region in efficiently conserving resources and in
reducing pollution that leads to global warming. These all point in the
direction of our Green vision, but the existing plan assumes constant
growth. In a world of diminishing natural wealth and imminent depletion of
fossil fuels, perpetual growth is impossible. New visions and plans must
address the need for sustainability within limits, and thus for broader
community action, for equitable distribution of society's benefits, and
for fair sharing of burdens. We recognize that some measures included in
our vision will require not only action by the city but cooperation from
the state and nation and from Ramsey County.
The twelve steps, we're told, are on the way.

You might ask "why should we care?" And you'd be right to ask.

But the Greens hold a disproportionate amount of power in the Twin Cities; Metro-area DFLers who think the Democrats have gotten too conservative gave Ralph Nader some of his best results in 2000, and have put Greens on the Minneapolis City Council.

We'll go over many of the "12 steps" as they come out.

Posted by Mitch at 08:55 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Free Alex!

Brian from Boviosity notes that his cat Alex is doing hard time for a crime he...

...well, he committed it, all right. But here's all our best wishes for a speedy re-trial and release. Feel free to send your own.

No word on a protest march yet.

Posted by Mitch at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Myths Slaughtered While You Wait

John Hawkins shreds eight common myths about Iraq (in a piece I could have used yesterday).

Meanwhile, in his slower and less spectacular way, Chrenkoff does the same for Afghanistan.

Posted by Mitch at 07:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 11, 2005

A Million Guys' Vanishing Option...

...is one couple's lifetime of bliss.

Congrats, Miss O'Hara!

Posted by Mitch at 07:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Show Us Your Preconceptions!

I was digging in some old (15th-century) British archives, and I found this. I think it was written by a noble of Saxon descent, about the Norman rabble:

It be known that whyle mofte peoples of Saxon bloode partake of news of ye worlde from the Duke's official Towne Cryere - whose cryes be vetted by the Duke, the Bifhoppe and a counsel of Knigghets - mofte of ye Norman peoples getteth the news of the daye from ye broadsheets spatte forthe from the Guttenberge Prefse, knowne to the Saxones as "they who sitteth in the bafement in their bedclothes" writting commentary critical of thofe of noble birth".

But now comes to us worde that people who getteth their newes from the Prefse of Guttenburge are miftaken about great swathes of their information, as compared to thofe who gette their newes from the Cryer.

Afked were a thousand of the peasants four queftions:

  1. "Be the worlde flatte?
  2. Be there dragons beyond the Northe Sea?
  3. Do the Jewes and the Saracens consume the fleshe of infants?
  4. Can Golde be made from Lead?
Intereftingly, thofe who obtaineth their newes from the Guttenburge presse were miftaken; 80% of Guttenburghe Prefse readers believeth the earthe be rounde (!), that beyond the Northe Seae be there more sea, that Jewes and Saracens treated infantes with the same tendernesse as did the peoples of Christendom that Leade can not be turned by a trained Alchemiste to Golde!Further proof, were any needed, of the efpecial intelligence of the Saxon people and their cryer newes service!
Wow. Those Normans were sure stupid!

The left, after the election, was looking for any bit of good news it could find. Among the things they latched onto were a couple of reports, surveys and other trifles purporting to show, in various ways, that Democrats were just plain smarter, better-informed and nicer than Republicans. It was an orgy of self-adulation like none I've ever seen.

And at the top of the list was a study claiming that people who got their news from Fox were less well-informed than people who got their news from the major media or PBS.

Which brings up two questions:

  • By what criteria was this conclusion reached?
  • What if the same idea were turned around?
Let's look.

The study notes that...

by providing more fine-grained response options it became clearer that only about one in five Americans believed that Iraq was directly involved in 9/11, but that a majority did believe that Iraq had given substantial support to al-Qaeda—both propositions unsupported by the US intelligence community. [An obtuse point - as we'll show, later on - Ed.] Other polls found even higher numbers responding positively to the idea that Iraq was involved in September 11 or had some type of close involvement with al-Qaeda. These perceptions of Iraq’s involvement with al-Qaeda and 9/11 persisted largely unchanged in numerous PIPA/KN polls through September 2003, despite continued disconfirmation by the intelligence community. More striking, in PIPA/KN polls conducted after the war--in May, July, and August- September--approximately half of the respondents expressed the belief that the US has actually found evidence in Iraq that actually found evidence in Iraq thatSaddam was working closely with al-Qaeda. While administration figures have talked about a purported meeting in Prague between an al-Qaeda member and an Iraqi official, this does not constitute evidence that Saddam was working closely with al-Qaeda and, in any case, this purported meeting had been discredited by the US intelligence community during the period of these polls [Unmentioned: Other meetings betwen Iraqis and Al Quaeda - of which more later - Ed.].
Note that the pattern in the survey is set from the very beginning: People who agree with the mainstream media's seven-second sound bite "conventional wisdom" on the survey questions are considered "well-informed". Everyone who doesn't hew strictly to the preconceived notion of "well-informed", for whatever reason, is not.

It's, shall we say (and as we'll show later), an oversimplification.

The survey asked the following questions:

  1. Did the respondent believe that there were links between Iraq and Al-Quaeda
  2. Saddam Hussein's purported links to 9/11
  3. Belief (after the war) that there were WMDs in Iraq
  4. WMDs were used during the war.
  5. Percent that believed the world backed our going to war
  6. Perceptions of European public opinion on the war.
The beef of the survey - for purposes of proving the left's own surpassing intelligence - came in the conclusions where the survey keyed on three "Key Perception Questions":
  • Evidence of links between Iraq and Al-Quaeda. According to the survey, people who got their news from Fox had a 67% "misperception" rate, while those who got their news from PBS 16% had a "misperception" rate.

    However, the result is misleading to the point of meaninglessness because the question is narrow to the point of vanishing: "Is it your impression that the US has or has not found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Ussein was working closely with the al-Quaeda terrorist organization". The question is worthless for a number of reasons:

    • The study didn't control for people who conflate "Al Quaeda" with "Terrorist groups in general".
    • That lack of control betrays an irrational condition placed on the debate by the left, who seem to focus their entire effort on Al-Quaeda, rather than on terrorism as a broader issue, including groups such as Hamas, Hezb-e-Islamiya, Abu Sayyaf, Chechen groups and the dizzying, decentralized mass of terror organizations that may not be Al Quaeda, but whose goals are allied.
    • The study accepted the "Seven Second Soundbite" version of the assertion that there was "no connection between Al Quaeda and Iraq", even though nobody (least of all the 9/11 Commission) has made that categorial assertion. The jury is, to say the least, still out, at least outside the Big Three, PBS and the major print media.
    • The study didn't control for coverage of non-Al Quaeda groups believed to be linked to Iraq. Abu Nidal, Carlos the Jackal and other terrorists flocked to Baghdad before the war. Terrorist training centers (including a hijack-training center at Salman Pak) existed; presumably for a reason. Were these centers covered on non-Fox outlets? To what extent? With what level of neutrality and completeness? The study didn't control for this, but the presence of such coverage on Fox (and its absence on the more-mainstream left-leaning outlets) could certainly account for the difference, without being ascribable to being "misinformed".

  • Weapons of Mass Destruction: The survey's question: "Since the war with Iraq ended, is it your impression that the US has or has not found Iraqi weapons of mass destruction?" The study claimed that Fox viewers were "misinformed" 33% of the time, while PBS/NPR were wrong 11% of the time. Again, the survey doesn't seem to have controlled for the fact that weapons of mass destruction were found during the war, albeit not in large amounts, and that plans, training facilities and evidence of support and peripheral operations were discovered. The study doesn't control for how much WMD the viewer perceived; a few Sarin and Mustard Gas shells are, indeed, "Weapons of Mass Destruction". But to the study, it's all or nothing, no ranges of outcomes. The study also fails to control for people who conflated Iraq's proven record of using poison gas against the Kurds, for example, or the respective networks coverage (or lack of it) of Iraq's history of chemical warfare. As far as the study (and especially the commentators who chortled over it) is concerned, either you believe in contravention of all evidence that Iraq was a huge WMD stockpile, or you believe it never was, Winston. No gray area allowed - which makes for nice sound bites, but it's not the way the world, or human perceptions, or this issue in particular works.

  • World Public Opinion: Question: "Thinking about how all the people in the world feel abou5t the US having gone to war with Iraq, do you think: The majority of people favor the US having gone to war". Fox viewers were charged with being "misinformed" 35% of the time, PBS-NPR consumers 5% of the time (which, given that only 40 people from the sample of 1,362 actually listed PBS as a primary source, means two people from the Public Broadcasting audience). Leaving aside accusations of political bias on the part of Gallup, the coverage of the study tends to leave out this bit: "In April-May Gallup International asked “Now that the regime of Saddam Hussein has been destroyed, do think that military action by the US and its allies was justified or not justified?” Here responses were a bit more mixed. In 27 of the 43 (11 out of 21 in Europe) countries polled the majority said military action was not justified, while in seven countries (three in Europe) the majority said that it was. (Some respondents may have felt the war was justified, but still opposed the US taking such action without UN approval.)" The survey failed to control for the American viewers' attitudes about foreign opinion and its importance as against, say, the United States' rights as a sovereign nation, or the relative level of coverage of foreign opinion on the war (which, at least as far as Public Broadcasting is concerned, always seemed to me to be unanimously anti-war, even when covering countries where the US intervention was modestly popular).
So, in the absence of any control for things like gray area or perceptions that don't fit neatly into the black-or-white categories sought by the survey, I don't think it's a huge stretch to label this study either "deeply flawed" (given the gross oversimplification of the perceptions involved) or "a push poll" (given that all shades of disagreement with the black or white premise presented as the threshold for being "properly informed" were lumped under the negative "misinformed" category, even though the positive "informed" categories were, as shown above, themselves misleading.

By the way, let's talk about the actual numbers in this study, which (as mentioned above) covered 1,362 people:

Primary News Source
Two or more networks........ 30%
Fox .........................................18%
NBC .......................................14%
ABC .......................................11%
PBS-NPR .................................3%
In terms of actual numbers, that breaks down as follows:

Two or more networks........ 408
Fox .........................................245
NBC .......................................190
ABC .......................................149
PBS-NPR .................................40

These numbers, especially the PBS slice, are ludicrously small.

But in response, I think it'd be interesting to put out a responsive survey of peoples' attitudes sorted by their primary news source, with a different set of assumptions.

The questions:

  1. Do you believe that no connection between terror groups (including but not limited to Al Quaeda) and Saddam Hussein has been discovered?
  2. Do you believe that the Administration has never listed anything but Weapons of Mass Destruction as the grounds for going to war?
  3. Do you believe that this war is all about Al Quaeda, as opposed to a broader war on terror?
  4. What portion of Iraq, expressed as a percentage, is currently experiencing significant terrorist activity?
  5. Do you believe that the war on terror (as a broad action, not the actions in Afghanistan, Iraq or any singular operation) is having no effect on terrorists' activities in the West?
  6. Do you believe that the Sunni have seceded from the new Iraqi democracy?
  7. Do you believe that fighting terror involves police work, as opposed to making host nations like Afghanistan and Iraq untenable to terrorists?
How do you suppose PBS viewers will rate?

Suppose the test subjects will complain about the unstated assumptions behind the test?

Wouldn't that be ironic?

[1] No, not really. The English dox are actually satiric in intent. Deal with it.

Posted by Mitch at 06:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Law Is An Ass

The US, and the Twin Cities, are awash in immigrants who refuse to assimilate into American culture. Illegals from Mexico openly pine for "Atzlan" - a Hispanic nation - in the US southwest. A significant minority of immigrants from Latin American and other countries refuse to assimilate into American society, enabled by an education establishment that sees more headcount and clout to be gained by providing (and getting funding for) multilingual education.

The US is unwilling to do much, certainly what needs to be done, about these immigrants, nor about the millions who cross the border every year. Dilatory efforts to secure the borders are opposed by groups ranging from liberal moonbats who think our standard of living is a hemispheric entitlement, to chambers of commerce who realize, with a nod and a wink, that cheap labor has its upside.

The Daneceks of Maple Grove, MN - Andrew, Blanka and their kids, including one born in the US - are quite the opposite. They have been here 15 years, speak the language, have built lives and careers and had a child and buried another here in the United States.

Naturally, the bureaucracy is outdoing itself to get them out of the country.

Immigration officials say they have a mandate to have the Daneceks removed.

Members of Danecek familyJeanna DuerscherlStar Tribune"If an immigration judge orders them deported, and the Appeals Court orders them deported, we do not use the previous discretion that Congress gave us to overturn the judge's decision," said Tim Counts, Twin Cities spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Daneceks' plight is not unusual, immigration experts say. A tougher immigration law, passed in 1996, has made it increasing difficult for judges to side with people like the Daneceks, they say.

Indeed, in ordering them deported, local immigration Judge Joseph Dierkes said that it was "an unpleasant case" but he was bound by legal precedents and statutes.

The Board of Immigration Appeals has twice upheld their deportation, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case...U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's office said on Friday that it will try to expedite a process to get the couple readmitted to the United States once they are deported

A call to the Senator's office to support his effort would be well-timed right about now.

Posted by Mitch at 08:05 AM | Comments (27) | TrackBack


Leon H. at || RedState.org has as good a summary of the Wilson/Rove/Secret Agent Plame rhubarb as any I've seen:

So let's review - Wilson lied about how he got to Niger, he lied about seeing a report that didn't even exist at the time, he lied about the conclusions of his own report(!), he lied about what the administration had been told, and his wife, Valerie Plame, specifically sent him on a mission to intentionally debunk a claim, not to find facts or perform inspections. I'd say the WaPo's conclusion is pretty sound on this one.

Also, it certainly gives life to the question of why the heck these two lied so darn much in absence of a clear and compelling political agenda driving their every move. Let's not rush to make these partisan hacks into saints - they attempted to cook the books against the administration and got busted for being the compulsive liars that they are. In the course of attempting to discredit the ludicrously false claims, someone in the White House (presumably Rove) told the press that Wilson was sent to Niger on dubious premises in the first place (the recommendation of his wife), without giving the name of Wilson's wife, which Rove apparently did not know.

It'll be interesting to see how that part turns out.

My attitude about the whole Rove flap has been threefold:

  1. I sincerely doubted that Rove did anything illegal; Rocketman pretty well guts the notion that Valerie Plame was even a "secret agent", much less a key national security asset during wartime.
  2. Since the "Rove Did It!" meme started with Laurence O'Donnell, I figured the odds of it being a legit story and of my getting a hot date with Kate Beckinsale are about even
  3. If, against all those odds, it turns out that Rove really did commit an illegal act - and I mean, illegal in a sense a court would recognize - then kick him to the curb, by all means, with all the legal consequences that entails.
Last week, after O'Donnell's "revelation", I heard the Marc Maron show fulminating about the issue. "What Rove did was treason", blathered Maron.

I figure if the lefty spin machine is calling it treason, it's probably not even on the moral plane of a parking ticket.

When this story first broke on the scene, I thought that Rove should properly be banished from the administration team, despite the fact that even at that time it was pretty clear that no crime took place. However, given the serial and politically motivated lies of Wilson and Plame, it's clear that the fairy tale the liberals have constructed in which Plame was the heroic CIA agent unjustly outed by Arch-Demon Karl Rove is totally and completely false - and I won't be shedding any more tears about either of their fates.

Posted by Mitch at 07:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gross Fisks Schumer

Gary Gross at Confirmation Whoppers goes after Senator Schumer's appearance on Russert over the weekend.

Check it out.

Posted by Mitch at 07:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Hitchens V. Reagan (Ron)

I've been trying to figure out for days what to say about Ron Reagan's interview with Christopher Hitchens last week.

Fortunately, Baldilocks is on the ball.

Poor Ron. Blissfully, he probably doesn't realize how embarrassing the schooling was that Christopher gave him. It's a blessing that Ron's father isn't here to see it.
Read the whole thing.

Posted by Mitch at 07:44 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

July 09, 2005


Review in four words: Go see it, it's amazing.

I know, it's five words. And worth every one.

Posted by Mitch at 11:09 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Drink Deeply

Jay Reding has long been one of my favorites - one of the very few MOB bloggers who's been at it longer than I.

He's re-branded his blog - it's now Single Malt Pundit.com.

If there's a blogger that should be out of the 150-visitor a day ghetto, it's Jay. Stop by often!

Posted by Mitch at 11:40 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Unlamented, Ineffective Shutdown Ends Unnoticed

The 18% of Minnesota government workers affected by the mis-named "Shutdown" will be returning to the jobs that, a week ago, were considered non-essential.

That's gotta go under "damnation by faint praise", huh?

While the perpetually indignant mistakenly treated recognition of the non-essentialness of the affected jobs as a personal attack on the state workers involved, the fact is it should give the citizens of this state some pause as to how overstaffed and underworked so much of our state bureaucracy is.

The Strib tries to go to bat for the employees...:

State employees had the option of taking vacation pay for the first two weeks of the shutdown, but about 3,150 employees would have burned up their vacation benefits by next Friday, according to state employee relations officials. After July 15, the idled employees faced formal layoffs, costing the state millions of dollars in unemployment and severance costs.
In other words, "...we should end the shutdown because the one-time costs would temporarily take our minds off the money we'd save".

But even the Strib has to notice the obvious sometimes:

But in many ways, the shutdown's effects were small. Essential services, such as the State Patrol and some health and welfare programs, continued operating. Partial budget bills passed piecemeal kept other services going, and a last-minute deal kept state parks open.
In other words, the "shutdown" (sorry for the scare quotes, but if it affects less than a fifth of the government, the term does not apply in any rational way) made almost no effect on 90% of non-state-employees.

The Strib, of course, focuses on the 10%:

But the failure to finalize a new $30 billion budget provoked widespread anger and disgust among Minnesotans, raising pressure on all sides to reach a deal.

"If you're an incumbent — I don't know who the good guys are and the bad guys are — you gotta go,'' said Tom Grant, a sales manager from New Brighton. "Failure is not an option when it comes to looking out for the people of Minnesota. Enough is enough. This is a joke.''

Here's the joke: it'd be interesting if an independent pollster (not the Minnesota Poll, thank you) would poll the state to see how many people noticed, or cared, about the shutdown.

Posted by Mitch at 06:23 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 08, 2005

The Biggest Luxury

No kids tonight.

No date, no engagements with friends, no pressing chores, no fires to put out. No show prep (it can wait til tomorrow), no plans.

Some desire to see the Basilica Block Party - although for $30, I'd like to have more than one band I'd actually like to see (the reunited Gear Daddies) - but no. Not this time.

I am starting to think the unthinkable; an evening at home, on the couch, watching TV. And going to bed at 9PM, and sleeping nine whole hours, which is 3-4 more than I usually get in a night.

Updates later.

Or not.

UPDATE: A bottle of Mike's Hard Lime. An evening at the bookstore. A wide-open bed awaiting in about four minutes.

In small doses, it's all good.

Posted by Mitch at 06:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Droogs Of Love

Normally I don't care one iota about celebrity...anything. I pay next to no attention to celebs; the notion that I should devote a scintilla of my attention to people in honor of...what, being in movies? Ludicrous.

But this story astounds me.

The woman reminds me of a Manson cult member, or someone from the Daily Kos' comment section.

Posted by Mitch at 05:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Stifling of Art! Crushing Of Dissent!

A group of pietistic fundamentalists, upset over the message being shown on a television show, gather their political clout and force a network to drop a (possibly intrigueing) TV series.

Southern Baptists flogging their boundless Hollywood clout again?

Nah. Gay Fundamentalist activists.

You've probably heard the story; ABC shelved "Welcome To The Neighborhood", a "reality" series that showed at least some promise of being more than just a prurient train wreck or gross-fest. The premise; seven non-traditional families were vying for a house in a stereotypically white, middle-American cul-desac in suburban Austin, TX. Strib entertainment columnist Neal Justin (distinguished by the PiPress' former entertainment writer Brian Lambert by writing more about entertainment and less about politics - and being fairly capable at it) describes the premise:

The judges: the current neighbors, all of whom are white and share traditional Christian values.

The competitors: a white gay couple who have adopted a black baby, a large Mexican family with a dominating mother, a white family that labels itself as pagan, a Korean family that runs a sushi restaurant, a white family with a stripper for a mother, a black family that cheerleads about God and a white couple covered in tattoos.

Take the same premise, change it from a reality show to a sitcom, move it to Queens, and you had "All In The Family".

Not that "Welcome..." would have been another "All In The Family", necessarily, but the idea seems even more interesting to me, personally, in the context of the time and place. More challenging, if you will.

Some people just don't like challenges:

GLAAD [Gay/Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation] argued that it is dangerous to let intolerance and bigotry go unchallenged for weeks at a time. The National Fair Housing Alliance said the show was not good for race relations.

Of course, that logic suggests that race relations are just peachy right now.

What does GLAAD think - that if we deny that bigotry (hard and soft) exists, that it won't exist?

And I have a hard time believing in this day and age that the portrayal of the contestants would be less than an order of magnitude more sympathetic than that of the sterotypical redneck Christian flyoverland stereotypes amid which they're plunked.


I don't know much, but I do know that there is more tension among those with different value systems and different backgrounds than there are strippers who get whacked with an ice pick. Yet "CSI" remains the top drama on TV and "Neighborhood" gets yanked before its premiere.

ABC obviously had high hopes for the series. It was slated to run in the "Desperate Housewives" time slot. But the network that dared to give Teri Hatcher a second chance, that dared to air a series about castaways on a spooky island, balked when it came to a series sincerely interested in exploring social tension.

Did they jump, or were they pushed?

If "Neighborhood" had made it on the air, it probably would have annoyed a lot of people, maybe triggered some discussion, gotten people talking about the fact that our melting pot has a few cracks.

That we'll do anything to avoid such a situation is the scariest concept of all.

Posted by Mitch at 03:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

That Darned Bush Economy

Unemployment back to pre-9/11 levels.

Not a boom recovery, but not the disaster that the left desperately wants, either.

Posted by Mitch at 12:12 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Proud To Be...

I guess I'm an American, by jinkie...

You Are 78% American
You're as American as red meat and shooting ranges. Tough and independent, you think big. You love everything about the US, wrong or right. And anyone who criticizes your home better not do it in front of you!
How American Are You?

(Via Doug at Bogus Gold)

Posted by Mitch at 09:14 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Speaking of which...

Contributor "The Head of Alfredo Garcia" over at KAR has discovered something.

Posted by Mitch at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Institutional Myopia

Well, that answers one question.

I asked what the Strib believed about the London bombing. As this morning's institutional editorial shows, the paper's view is not as caustically morally depraved as what Nick Coleman allegedly said, but it's not a lot less dumb.

This bit comes toward the end:

Just days ago, Bush said again that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He asserted that the United States fights terrorists there so it won't have to fight them at home. The London bombings illustrate the fallacy at the heart of that argument: Terrorists aren't a finite army that you can defeat on a battlefield and achieve victory. Ivo Daalder, international security expert at the Brookings Institution, said it well: "Today's terrorists are independent operators, beyond the control of any state. They roam relatively freely around an interconnected world -- striking when they are ready and we least expect it."
Which is true, as long as you only work at a superficial level of detail.

But as Vladis Krebs showed, it's a lot easier to conduct a campaign in that interconnected world if you, the terrorist, have a nation-state that's willing to give you a place to train, plan, get your mail, rest, stage and regroup, maybe even treat you and your partners like a covert arm of national policy, maybe paying part of your freight. A place where law enforcement isn't dogging your every move, and where the national law enforcement and military are helping keep enemy investigators and commandos off your ass. A place like Afghanistan was, like Syria and parts of Lebanon were, a place like Iraq was (yes, was. It's where Zarquawi went for treatment after getting wounded in Afghanistan. There's a reason for that).

Having such a state - a place where you can break cover and meet and go to mosque without having to check your back constantly - makes the life of the terrorist incalculably easier.

They had that in the Middle East for decades. But today, Afghanistan is free, Iraq (which sheltered terrorists of all stripes, and is a mecca as it were for them today) is working on it, Lebanon is making progress, and reports say even the Syrians are making moves to deal with some of their Ba'athist refugees (although the jury's still out).

Does the Strib's pet "national security expert" account for that?

Let's keep reading:

No matter what happens in Iraq, the threat that terror poses will remain.
And when has any rational person said any different?
Just look at London, where, long before Iraq, authorities judged that an attack on the underground was inevitable; the only question was when. That's why they were extraordinarily well prepared for it.
The Brits did a lot of things to prepare for this sort of thing; one wonders if the Strib would approve of them if applied over here?
As Daalder also said, invading countries isn't the answer...
"...isn't the answer?"

It depends on the question. If it's "how do we stop terror completely before our next news cycle?", which seems to be the Strib's question, then obviously it's not "the" answer.

If it's "How do make the ground in the Middle East less favorable to terror?", then it's part of the answer. As we've seen.

... and often makes matters worse.


Based on what? It's not like Western Civilization has ever been in an analogous situation before!

What's needed is increased cooperation between nations in law enforcement, intelligence, security, financial tracking and other forms of aggressive counterterrorism.
Does the editorialist believe that counterterrorism is a zero sum game where all of this isn't already taking place?
Fighting terrorism is going to be a long, hard slog, more like fighting crime than anything else. Sometimes it will indeed involve military action. But more often than not, it will involve quiet, determined law enforcement and intelligence work -- to discover the nooks and crannies where terrorists hide as they plot their next outrage -- and then destroy them before they act.
Unmentioned by the Strib - either because it doesn't suit them or because they're not as smart as George W. Bush - is that the military campaign has cut down on the number of "nooks and crannies" that need to be investigated.

The Strib is not a credible source of information on these issues.

Posted by Mitch at 07:30 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Coleman: They Had It Coming

According to someone who still pays attention, Nick Coleman said (paraphrasing closely) that the people of London had it coming. He apparently said it starting around 7:45AM yesterday morning on his radio show.

Apparently - according to this source, who is a journalist and whom I consider a reliable witness - Coleman said the bombing wasn't the fault of Al Quaeda; it all traces back to George W. Bush.

Did anyone else hear this? If so, please pass the word. And if anyone recorded the Coleman show yesterday, especially the last half of the 7AM hour, please let me know. I need to get a copy.

If this is true - and I'd like to verify it - it puts a whole new light on things. Normally, I swat at Coleman periodically, because I can. He's a big, ponderous, clumsy target who just keeps serving up red meat; if fisking paid, he'd put my kids through college.

But while what he allegedly said is idiotic (Islamist-based terrorists have been blowing up Westerners since 1993) and myopic (as if US actions prompted the attacks; as if they'd not have taken place had we kept to ourselves after 9/11; as if the 1993 WTC attacks, the Khobar Towers, the Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam bombings and the USS Cole never happened); it's an act of supreme moral bankruptcy.

And not just on Nick Coleman's part. The Minneapolis Star/Tribune employs Coleman as its metro columnist. What does the Strib feel about one of its institutional voices saying this sort of thing on the radio? It implies approval on the part of the Star/Tribune.

So here's what I'm doing today, once I verify this:

  • I'm calling the local amateur radio station, KTNF, confirming the remark, and asking them if it's their considered opinion that Al Quaeda isn't responsible for 40-odd murders in London. 952-946-8885 is the number
  • I'm calling the Strib - 612-673-4000 - and asking what they think about Nick Coleman saying this on the air - and, since he's one of their columnist, asking if this is what they as an institution believe..
  • If it's true (and it doesn't seem out of character) I'm going to urge other bloggers to get on this one; ask your readers to do the same.
If it's true, Coleman needs to apologize...

...no. No, he doesn't. An apology is just words. The Star/Tribune needs to post its institutional beliefs about the bombing; if they agree with Coleman, I think their readers would like to know. And if Nick Coleman's rantings speak for the paper, that'd be good to know, too.

So again, if you heard or especially recorded Coleman, please let me know.

Posted by Mitch at 04:42 AM | Comments (26) | TrackBack


Political news from Iraq:

In what might be a sign of a new political landscape, a major Sunni umbrella group called on its members on Monday to register for the next round of elections and take part "despite our reservations."

Adnan al-Dulaimi, the head of the group, called the Sunni Endowment, said in a briefing in Baghdad that clerics would be asked to issue fatwas, or religious rulings, essentially ordering Sunnis to vote in elections. Among its other functions, the Sunni Endowment is charged with oversight of Sunni Arab mosques and holy sites throughout Iraq, giving it wide influence among clerics.

"I ask all Sunni people to register their names for the next election, because we are in a political battle that depends on the vote," he said.

Sunni Arabs largely boycotted the January elections, producing a National Assembly with only a handful of Sunnis, leaving the ethnic group that ruled the country until 2003 with little influence in the government.

The next round of voting will include a referendum on a constitution, a document being hammered out in the National Assembly.

Perhaps as significant as his call for voting, Mr. Dulaimi explicitly renounced violence as a way for the Sunnis to regain power. Mr. Dulaimi's group, like many other Sunni groups, insists that Sunnis are not a minority in Iraq, despite various estimates suggesting that they make up about 20 percent of the population.

Wasn't it just last winter when the landed punditry was saying the Sunnis were out for good, and that civil war was inevitable?

Why yes. Yes it was.

Posted by Mitch at 04:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

Lost In Translation

Andrew Sullivan says re: Londoners' reaction to the attacks:

Stoicism is not an American virtue.
Dunno, Andrew. If the terrorists ever attacked Fargo or Duluth, the dominant sound bite would likely be "Enh. Coulda been worse".
Apart from a sense of humor, it is the ultimate British one.
And in Fargo, not so much.

More on the Brit character, with Brit blogger Tim Worstall (via Sully):

tomorrow we'll find out whether Britons are, still, in fact, Britons. Many years ago I was working in The City and there were two events that made travel into work almost impossible.
The first was a series of storms that brought down power lines, blocked train routes and so on. Not surprisingly, the place was empty the next day. Why bother to struggle through?
The other event was an IRA bomb which caused massive damage and loss of life. Trains were disrupted, travel to work the next day was horribly difficult and yet there were more people at work than on a normal day. There was no co-ordination to this, no instructions went out, but it appeared that people were crawling off their sick beds in order to be there at work the next day, thrusting their mewling and pewling infants into the arms of anyone at all so that they could be there.

Yes, we'll take an excuse for a day off, throw a sickie. But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

F__k you, sunshine.

We'll not be having that.

No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you’ve tried it now bugger off. We’re not scared, no, you won’t change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off."

I wonder if there are any streaming traffic reports from London...

Posted by Mitch at 06:25 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Around London

The BBC's Mark Easton reports on the Beeb's reporter blog from London's King's Cross station - sort of a Penn Station, a subway and BritRail hub for London and points east, as I recall:

At King's Cross the professionalism and control of the emergency services was impressive, and the mood was one of calm, as if they'd managed to suck the terror out of terrorism. If yesterday was about the euphoria of winning the Olympic Games - today is about the horror of losing so many lives in Central London.

But if this was the work of al-Qaeda trying to terrorise Londoners, my impression from King's Cross is that they failed.

Dominic Casciani:
In fact the only places doing any business at all are the East End pubs which are all full of people quietly watching the live news coverage of the events. Anyone who knows and loves this part of London loves it because of the sheer amount of activity and noise which makes it a unique place, but today London's East End has become a very, very sad place indeed.
Jane Mower shows how seriously people must be treating it:
And even a teenager is distracted from her magazine as Tony Blair makes an announcement.
The Beeb's reporters' blog is a fascinating moment by moment look at the city's response.

Posted by Mitch at 12:55 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


To my British readers - and I know I have one or two - my condolences at your tragedy.

And ours.

Beyond that, I am for the moment speechless. Your guy said it better anyway:

Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: 'Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.'

Posted by Mitch at 12:27 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Carnage in the Tube

You've no doubt heard; the London Underground was bombed this morning.

While the authorities haven't yet fixed blame - it could be Islamofascists, anti-G8 militants, IRA holdouts or any of a number of other terror groups - apparently (say sources who still listen to his show on the local amateur station), Nick Coleman has; it's all our fault.

UPDATE: An Al-Quaeda-linked group has been linked to the bombings.

Posted by Mitch at 09:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Confirmation Whoppers

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt asked for someone to start a "Confirmation Whoppers" blog to track the extreme distortions and outright lies we can expect during the upcoming SCOTUS confirmation hearings.

Gary Gross is taking the challenge at his new blog, Confirmation Whoppers:

One of the things that I plan on doing is having a daily open thread where people can 'nominate' their favorite whoppers. With Sens. Durbin, Boxer, Leahy, Kennedy & Schumer & special interest directors like Nan Aron & Ralph Neas, not to mention all the talking heads in the Agenda Media, this should make for some lively daily & weekly contests.

Other things that I plan on doing daily is compiling the 10 best quotes of the previous day, along with posting articles featuring some of the more incendiary & insulting questions asked during the hearings.
I wouldn't wanna tangle with Gary Gross if I were Chuck Schumer.

Posted by Mitch at 07:40 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Just In Case One Wondered

A reader asked in a comment section:

What's your point, Mitch? Do you want this flag burning amendment?
Well, gosh. I've only said both for years and recently that I opposed legislation banning flag burning, especially a Constitutional amendment.

Oh, I think that extinguishing burning flags should be considered a first-amendment-protected form of performance art, certainly. But I think it's be folly to alter the Constitution to ban flag burning.

However, it'd be cool if more flag burnings went like this:

Oh, relax. I don't really wish harm on anyone. But as long as it's here...

Via Swiftee.

Posted by Mitch at 06:57 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Abe Hammers Coleman

I'd meant to shred Nick Coleman's preening little column last Sunday.

Matt Abe beat me to it, and did it with style.

Abe responded to Coleman's screed about the difficulties "Veritas Academy" - a charter school and a project of former state GOP chair Bill Cooper - has been having on the "Gold Coast", along Lake Minnetonka.

Like parents everywhere, we Gold Coasters want the best for our kids. For most of us, including me, that means moving to and sending our kids to a public school district like Wayzata. Others will opt for open enrollment in a nearby district. Many of our neighbors' kids in the Hummer-and-cabin cruiser set will wear the uniforms of Breck, Blake, or Providence Academy. In other areas, charter schools may provide a viable alternative for poor-performing traditional public schools. In my neck of the woods, we don't "hate" traditional public schools, some simply want meaningful school choice. It's all about the kids. But choice in education is as foreign to Coleman as the "gilded lanes of Wayzata," to use his words.

Thankfully, there is more to the postponed first day of classes at Veritas Academy than Coleman's cursory (or selective) reporting reveals. The state education budget impasse and (at the time) possible state government shutdown moved up some key Minnesota Department of Education deadlines, the school parted ways with its first director, negotiations to secure a site for the school were not finalized, and a study of successful charters revealed that the most successful took an additional year of planning. These challenges and an enrollment target must be met before the fledgling charter school can open its doors next year.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by Mitch at 06:05 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 06, 2005

Skelton: Three Times is the Charm

Jeff Skelton - who allegedly murdered his wife's lover by shooting him five times, in the eye, groin and foot and twice in the chest, apparently confessed to the shooting on WCCO Radio, was arrested, violated bail conditions not once but twice, including once after his release on $750,000 bail, and was returned to jail last week for contacting his wife - is up for another bail hearing, according to a source close to the investigation.

That's right - an alleged killer who's already been unable to walk the straight and narrow twice (to say nothing of shooting someone in the eye, groin and foot and twice in the chest), is getting another chance.

It's catch-and-release in Amy Klobuchar's Hennepin County.

With priorities like that, she's a natural Senate candidate, huh?

Posted by Mitch at 12:44 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

There Never Was a Memory Hole, Winston

Reading the fantasy-based community's latest trope - that Karl Rove "outed" CIA "agent" Valerie Plame, according to MSNBC "analyst" Lawrence "Stability Is For Wussies" O'Donnell - I took a moment to try to remember all of the scandals du jour we've been through in the past year or so.

Then I searched back through my blog, and was boggled by the ones I'd missed. Remember Al QaQaa? Yellowcakes? The "Exit Polls"? So many scandals, so little memory. If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd say "the left is involved in a concerted campaign to overload the American people with phony, low-shelf-life scandals, presumably to wear down the peoples' scandal receptors against the day when another Democrat administration takes office".

But I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Just a blogger. And if a major league batter's average was as low as the Democrat scandal machine's, it'd be demoted to bat boy in the Green Grass League before you could say "Marv Throneberry".

If nothing else, we owe it to posterity to remember the scandals, to point out to the undecided how laughable the Democrats' record at tossing them against the wall in the vain hope that any of them stick (currently roughly 0.00%), lest they be, heaven forfend, convinced.

So as leery as I am of doubling up on blogs, I've established a new site, "Scandalmanac". On this site, I plan on cataloging ongoing scandals as they are reported, so we can remember them before they fall down the memory hole. I'm also going to try to capture links to the "scandals" with which the Dems slopped the public trough in the past year or two, to try start building the case for completely disregarding all Democrat scandalmongery and conspiracy theorizing.

Feel free to contribute links (preferably with some sort of date) to any conspiracies; I'll credit you. I know that's a big deal. (Crank entries will be gleefully shredded).

BUMP: Just moving it up so it doesn't get buried.

Posted by Mitch at 07:41 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack


The Strib had another piece on the gaping void that the "shutdown' has left in Minnesotans' lives.

Example: Minnesota runs a state chilcrare referral agency. It has 19 offices across the state:

Many parents ready to hit the job market after a break with baby are on their own. Fifteen of the 19 child-care referral agencies across Minnesota no longer are fielding parent requests for referrals, said Ann McCully, executive director of the Minnesota Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. And the other four are open only for child-care assistance clients.

About 500 families a week typically contact the agencies, looking for licensed child care, she said.

Likewise, day-care providers who need emergency loans -- for such things as a broken fence or a malfunctioning air conditioner -- are out of luck. That loan program isn't up and running, either.

"We've normally about 100 staff across the state," she said. "At least three-quarters have been laid off or shifted to 10 to 25 percent time. It's a huge cut. That's what's so scary to us."

So we see that a program to refer parents to childcare providers, and process loan applications for providers, employs 100 people. Not to license the daycares, mind you, just refer and process. 19 Offices, 100 people. Leave aside for a moment whether this is a great use of state money; doesn't it seem reasonable to think that they could do the same job with a fraction of that staff? Say, one referrer and one processor for each office?

By the way, I've used the program. They charge for the referrals. It's not free, not even super-cheap. In exchange for the money ($20, if I recall correctly), you got a list that was frequently about 50% accurate; many of the providers on the lists I got had left the business or weren't accepting new kids. Which isn't the program's fault - but it seems like a stretch to think that you need five people in an office to produce a referral list that two people could do equally well. And, "shutdown" aside, the service is still being provided for people on welfare, which are the people everyone's worried about the "shutdown" harming!

What am I missing here?

This part made me do a double-take:

John Hausladen, president of the Minnesota Trucking Association, told Stringer that without state permits to carry oversized loads, trucks wouldn't be able to remove debris after a storm or bring materials to major development projects.
You need a state permit to clean up after a storm?

Are Minnesotans such a government-whipped bunch of hamsters that they'd let debris sit in piles after a major storm for want of some bureaucrat's stamp?

No, forget I asked. I'm afraid of the answer.

Posted by Mitch at 07:28 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Veterans: Payback?

Theory: Veterans have longer memories than the public at large.

Exhibit A: Blackfive with the long-term ramifcations of Durban's slander (remember that?):

I knew that Durbin's comments would keep reverberating throughout the military community. For all of you that wanted to let it go, there are simply those who will not or cannot let it go.

I think the storm is still gathering on this and still hasn't broken. Half apologies from politicians like Durbin don't amount to the will of those who've served.

And what they are going to find, to the Democrats' dismay, is that there will be an awful lot of war heroes coming home...and they just might run for office. Democrat or Republican. Independit [sic] or Libertarian.

Exhibit B: James Warner on torture:
On the first of June, I was put in a cement box with a steel door, which sat out in the tropical summer sun. There, I was put in leg irons which were then wired to a small stool. In this position I could neither sit nor stand comfortably. Within 10 days, every muscle in my body was in pain (here began a shoulder injury which is now inoperable). The heat was almost beyond bearing. My feet had swollen, literally, to the size of footballs. I cannot describe the pain. When they took the leg irons off, they had to actually dig them out of the swollen flesh. It was five days before I could walk, because the weight of the leg irons on my Achilles tendons had paralyzed them and hamstrung me. I stayed in the box from June 1 until Nov. 10, 1969. While in the box, I lost at least 30 pounds. I would be curious to hear Mr. Durbin explain how this compares with having a female invade my private space, and whether a box in which the heat nearly killed me is the same as turning up the air conditioning.
Warner contrasts this with the "torture" (yes, I'm putting it in quotes. Compare and contrast) at Guantanamo:
The detainees at Guantanamo receive new Korans and prayer rugs, and the guards are instructed not to disturb the inmates' prayers. Compare this with my experience in February 1971, when I watched as armed men dragged from our cell, successively, four of my cell mates after having led us in the Lord's Prayer. Their prayers were in defiance of a January 1971 regulation in which the Communists forbade any religious observances in our cells. Does Mr. Durbin somehow argue that our behavior is the equivalent of the behavior of the Communists?
Well, probably not for a couple more weeks, anyway.

Posted by Mitch at 05:10 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

We Apostates

As I pointed out yesterday, it's we libertarian-conservatives (and the few remaining libertarian Democrats; I know there are a few of them left) who are the real liberals - or at least, the people who believe in what used to be called "liberalism". Call it idealism - it'd be in character, since so many of us who are now conservatives used to be liberals in the current sense of the term.

John Rosenberg John Rosenberg notes some of the incongruities some of us notice.

(Via Peg Kaplan)


Back in the old days, when my friends and I were all lefties (or at least liberals of one sort or another) in good standing, people like us believed that racial discrimination was bad and colorblindness good; that what would later be called hate speech was (or should be) still protected speech; that (per the great Alexander Meiklejohn) political speech was at the core of First Amendment concerns; that presidents who committed perjury and used executive privilege as a shield to protect personal wrong-doing were not appealing; and even that military intervention to topple oppressive right-wing dictatorships might, in some circumstances, be worthwhile, especially if it lifted the veils off millions of women and put an end to mass executions (though many of us had problems with applying those same standards to left-wing dictatorships); and that, perhaps most of all, we believed we stood shoulder to shoulder with the poor, with workers, and with the struggling middle class against against rapacious corporations -- people surprisingly like the aggrieved homeowners in New London just victimized by a "liberal" Supreme Court opinion. (Even in those days, having grown up with guns, I believed the 2nd Amendment meant what it says, and even argued for an alliance between 1st and 2nd Amendment absolutists when I was at The Nation -- to no avail.)

Since we conservatives (if indeed that's what I am) who used to be lefties still believe all of those things while most contemporary liberals believe none of them, why are we the renegade turncoats?

Good question.

Posted by Mitch at 05:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

Picking and Choosing

The Strib is all about liberty.

As long as it's an outrageous liberty:

That logic is straightforward: Amending the Constitution to allow the outlawing of flag desecration is, plain and simple, limiting liberty. It is limiting one of the most precious liberties that Americans celebrate on Independence Day -- the freedom to express political opinions.

Few would disagree that flag desecration, no matter how one defines desecration, is an act of political expression. The fact that it is offensive makes it no less so. In fact, citizens don't need constitutional protection for inoffensive speech. As former Secretary of State Colin Powell once put it, "The First Amendment exists to insure that freedom of speech and expression applies not just to that with which we agree or disagree, but also that which we find outrageous."

So the Strib is all for freedom of speech.

Unless it's actual citizens trying to speak about elections; the Strib tacitly endorsed the McCain-Feingold Speech Rationing law in this op-ed by Walter Mondale, this cartoon by in-house shill cartoonist Steve Sack, and by their deafening silence on the hypocrisy of rationing speech to citizens and their grassroots organizations, while leaving the legacy media exempt.

"Free speech for me, but not for thee" indeed.

Unless you want to burn a flag, of course.

Posted by Mitch at 07:18 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

I, Liberal

"Bruce Brooks" left a comment in a thread about Independence Day:

One other point - our founders were extremely progressive and liberal. It does them a great disservice to cast them as conservative since had they been so, we would still be shouting "Long live the King".
I'm not sure that I "cast them as conservative" - read the original post, you be the judge.

But yes, by the standards of their times, they were indeed "liberal".

And so am I.

It's been a galling thorn for years, seeing the term "liberal" - which once meant "supporter of representative government, the rule of law, partisan of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the defense of private property", the people who wrote the Bill of Rights and the Federalist - conflated with the likes of Barbara Boxer, Mark Dayton and Ted Kennedy; statists, piddlers on merit, velvet-gloved zealots of the "state is my mother" set.

"Liberals" in the sense that Jefferson and Madison and Payne would have known them cross (to an extent) our current political boundaries. Would any have of them have called Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or John Kerry "Liberal"? Would they have called Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater "conservatives" in the sense they understood it, or the sense that Bruce Brooks cites?


Simple fact: a "liberal" is someone who believes in the ideal of liberty; in spreading it around to as many as possible, in institutionalizing it, in defending it and its adherents. And by "liberty", I mean it in the sense that the real liberals did; freedom to speak, worship, assemble, bear arms, burn flags, piddle on the cross, castigate the burners and piddlers, engage in the madding cacaphony of freedom without the benefit of "gatekeepers" (thanks for nothing, McCain and Feingold; repent, or endure ten years' limbo being spat upon by the souls of those who died for the liberty you put up for rent by the people with the best lawyers), not "freedom from want" and "freedom from offense" and any "freedom" which has to be dug out from under layers of obtuse penumbrae by people who should really concentrate more on golfing.

In summation:

Not Liberal: Ted Kennedy
Liberal: John F. Kennedy

Not Liberal: Trent Lott
Liberal: Barry Goldwater

Not Liberal: John McCain
Liberal: Nat Hentoff

Not Liberal: Michael "The Ba'athists are the real Minutemen" Moore
Liberal: Gen. Mattis.

Not Liberal: Wes "Lying Sack" Skoglund
Liberal: Your truly.

Not Liberal: Brent Scowcroft
Liberal: Paul Wolfowitz (in both his administration and new World Bank roles)

Not Liberal: The Minnesota Federation of Teachers
Liberal: Charter schoolers, home schoolers, and school choice advocates.

To paraphrase Bono: "Forty years of statists, condo-pinks, academic fascists and piddlers on merit from the alpaca and Volvo set stole the term 'liberal'. We're here to steal it back".

Posted by Mitch at 06:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Happy Birthday, Dad!

It's my dad's birthday today.

I inherited Dad's love of writing and speaking; Dad - Bruce Berg - has a couple of books out, including "Common Ground", the story of Jamestown's venerable baseball park. He's actually had a much longer radio career than I have; for twenty-plus years, he's done weekly editorials at KDSU, the NoDak Public Radio station in Fargo, plus regular columns for the Jamestown Sun and the Bismark Tribune.

I did not inherit my sense of place from him, of course; I left Jamestown, ND as fast as I could after college. But Dad has cut an amazing swathe through that town; pretty much everyone from Jamestown has either had him in class, or their parents or kids did. Or both (although I'm not sure if he ever had any three-generation families). And with very few exceptions, most of them say Dad was the best teacher they ever had. Much as it pained me to say it as a teenager, I'd agree; I learned more of use in the three semesters I had with him (American Lit, Writing III and Speech) than nearly any other class in high school or college. And Dad is one of the people who make smaller towns such good places for everyone who does live there; he's been for the past thirty-odd years a leader in creating a thriving cultural scene - writing and producing plays and twenty-odd years of the annual "Comedy Night", and much, much more - which helps belie the notion that small towns in flyover land are cultural wastelands.

Funny story: In 1986, I was working at KSTP-AM. We were doing this gawdawful game show, a trivia contest from a bar in Bloomington. During a break, two guys walked up to the host. "Is this 'Mitch Berg' guy any relation to a Bruce Berg that taught high school English in Rugby, North Dakota (the town I was born in) in 1960?" The host didn't know, and called the studio. Yep, same guy...

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad! I'll call this evening.

And if you're a former student of Dad's - hey, would it kill you to call and wish him a happy birthday? Huh?

Posted by Mitch at 12:30 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Who Knew?

The roads were busy on the way to work today, although not crushingly so.

The girl at the coffee drive-through was her usual perky, overcaffeinated self. The radio was full of the usual chatter.

The cubes at my office are full. Actually, I sit across from the Facilities Planning people, and from what I hear, they're a little too full (there's an economic indicator for you). My calendar is full, verging on too full, as is the norm these days.

In short, today's a day just like any other day.

Or so I thought.

I flipped on the Strib website. As I write this, it says:

State still shut down
82% of state workers are still at work (or perhaps it's more like 62% are at work, and 20% are at "work", but I'll let you fill in that blank).

And that says nothing about all of us who work in the private sector.

Sorry, Strib. Minnesota is still running.

Posted by Mitch at 12:11 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Speaking of Bans

I spent much of the weekend blowing off fireworks. It's been a few years since Minnesota rolled back a tiny little fleck of its paternalistic past and repealed its ban on fireworks. Granted, our legislature only legalized fairly innocuous fireworks - but here in the Twin Cities we're less than half an hour from Wisconsin, where the fun stuff - bottle rockets, mortars and firecrackers - are available. And most Minnesota police departments don't bother with the less-flagrant flauntings of Minnesota law.

Did the ban ever do any good? Of course not, according to John Lott:

Last year, states with bans actually had a much higher fireworks-related death rate (.027 per million people) than states without restrictions (.012 per million). Injuries are much more difficult to track, but there were an estimated 9,700 fireworks-related injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms during 2003 (6,600in the month surrounding July 4th), the vast majority of which were relatively trivial. This is only a fraction of the over 200,000 injuries suffered from falls, accidents in bathtubs, scalding water, and electrocution.

The massive volume of the explosives sold across the United States raises a question: Short of erecting a wall around a state, how effective can any ban possibly be? In fact, banning personal use of fireworks might actually result in more accidental fires if some of those who try to avoid getting caught set them off in remote fields, causing fires that take longer to discover. Teaching the public about how to use fireworks safely is preferable to bans.

So I like to think I'm doing my bit not only for patriotism, but for safety.

Posted by Mitch at 07:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sky Still Up There? Check.

Amid breathless, ill-informed predictions of carnage, news that the last year's sunset expiration for the federal "Assault Weapon" ban showed us the ban had less effect than even the state "shutdown":

This wasn't supposed to happen. When the federal assault weapons ban ended on Sept. 13, 2004, gun crimes and police killings were predicted to surge. Instead, they have declined.

For a decade, the ban was a cornerstone of the gun control movement. Sarah Brady, one of the nation's leading gun control advocates, warned that "our streets are going to be filled with AK-47s and Uzis." Life without the ban would mean rampant murder and bloodshed.

And we all know what happened, right?
Well, more than nine months have passed and the first crime numbers are in. Last week, the FBI announced that the number of murders nationwide fell by 3.6% last year, the first drop since 1999. The trend was consistent; murders kept on declining after the assault weapons ban ended.

Even more interesting, the seven states that have their own assault weapons bans saw a smaller drop in murders than the 43 states without such laws, suggesting that doing away with the ban actually reduced crime. (States with bans averaged a 2.4% decline in murders; in three states with bans, the number of murders rose. States without bans saw murders fall by more than 4%.)

And the drop was not just limited to murder. Overall, violent crime also declined last year, according to the FBI, and the complete statistics carry another surprise for gun control advocates. Guns are used in murder and robbery more frequently then in rapes and aggravated assaults, but after the assault weapons ban ended, the number of murders and robberies fell more than the number of rapes and aggravated assaults.

So let's recap here:
  • Many gun bans are accompanied by rises in violent crime; see the UK, Australia, Washington DC, Chicago.
  • No gun ban has been shown to reduce crime.
  • Liberalization of gun laws usually reduces, and at worst has no negative effect, on crime
Has the left learned it's lesson?

Well, of course they have; most Democrats have backed away from gun control like it's a full diaper on a hot day. The only Dems you still hear carping about gun control are the ones in hyper-safe districts, sinecures like Massachussetts and south Minneapolis.

The media remains quiet, of course...

It's instructive to remember just how passionately the media hyped the dangers of "sunsetting" the ban. Associated Press headlines warned "Gun shops and police officers brace for end of assault weapons ban." It was even part of the presidential campaign: "Kerry blasts lapse of assault weapons ban." An Internet search turned up more than 560 news stories in the first two weeks of September that expressed fear about ending the ban. Yet the news that murder and other violent crime declined last year produced just one very brief paragraph in an insider political newsletter, the Hotline.

The fact that the end of the assault weapons ban didn't create a crime wave should not have surprised anyone. After all, there is not a single published academic study showing that these bans have reduced any type of violent crime.

As always.

Posted by Mitch at 05:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Like Learned Foot In Your Face. Forever.

For all of us Slavic Lit geeks, Nihilist in Golf Pants' One Day In The Life of Sisyphus series (Part One, Part Two, and Part Three) are essential reads.

Pass it on to your favorite ham-fisted lefty "satire" sitemongers (you know who I'm talking about) (unless you're an actual fan of the site I'm talking about, in which case you're too thick-headed to get it); this is how it's done.

They may not be on the A-list, but the Nihilist guys rock.

Posted by Mitch at 05:38 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


This makes me nervous.

Amid the rest of the fatuous coverage of Live8 was this Jim Farber piece from the NYDaily News, which ended with this quote:

The ability to sample concerts from around the world made a dramatic contrast to Live Aid. Back in the original show's stone age, fans were slaves to whatever MTV chose to show from London and Philly. This time, listeners with the right toys could cruise the world, and time-travel at will. As exciting as the best music of the day turned out to be — and as worthy the cause — perhaps the most powerful angle to it all was in demonstrating how small technology has made our world.

If the planet is smaller than we used to think, maybe our problems are too.

Ugh. Didn't they say that after the Berlin Wall fell?

I get nervous whenever people think technology will give us a lower sum total of trouble.

Posted by Mitch at 05:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 04, 2005

Independence Day

Give or take the usual fudge factor for historical apocrypha, it was 229 years ago that 56 delegates signed the Declaration of Independence, committing our nation to a long, vicious war against the world's most powerful nation, with an aim toward an independence that must have seemed light years away, and with the aim of doing something completely new - creating a nation based on ideals rather than ethnicity or language or historical accident.

The consequences of the signing were dire for some of the signers.

Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War. They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
It's easy to romanticize the past. And yet I wonder, when looking at the likes of Patrick Leahy and Nancy Pelosi, if the national gene pool hasn't shallowed to the point where we could ever do the same thing, take the same kind of risks as a people as our anscestors did.

I have little worry, of course, about the American people; it's what passes for our ruling class (and the chattering classes that follow them) that worries me.

Here's the whole thing. It deserves a good annual read:

The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

John Hancock
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Matthew Thornton

Samual Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry

Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery

Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott

William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris

Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross

Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn

Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Posted by Mitch at 08:05 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Begging The Question

The Strib notes that the principals in the budget debate are working again:

Facing the growing consequences of a partial shutdown of state government...
Er, wait a minute.

What are the consequences?

I've been reading the papers for two days, and the biggest "consequences" I've seen barely qualify as inconveniences; closed rest areas, having to wait for drivers license tests...

Going into the meeting, Johnson said resolving the budget dispute will assume greater urgency after the holiday. The shutdown put about 9,000 [Unmentioned; it's 9,000 out of over 50,000. Less than 18% of the state workforce is affected. The vast majority of state activities are completely unaffected!] state employees out of work. While they can use vacation during the next two weeks, they won't be paid until a budget agreement is reached.
And then, someone at the legislature will ram through a retroactive pay measure.

Just watch.

The DFLers want to spend more money than Republicans on health care and social services and slightly more on public schools. DFLers and Republicans are $150 million to $660 million apart in their proposals for the $30 billion biennual budget, according to recent estimates.
The cynicism of the DFL and its supporters has been shocking throughout this fracas. Pawlenty meets them halfway - with his ill-advised "health impact fees" - and the best the DFL can do is hop up and down and crow "He's flip-flopping on taxes!". Which was true, but lousy politics to harp on it. In the meantime, the DFL's tin ear never fails to astound; as Minnesota emerges from a bruising recession, they continue to put the care and feedding of the bureaucracy above all else in Minnesota.

They're working overtime trying to spin this shutdown as Pawlenty's fault. Leaving aside that the "shutdown" (which isn't really a shutdown at all) is doing wonders to illustrate how much fat there is to trim out there (roughly 18% of the government could be cashiered tomorrow without any lasting ill effect on the taxpayer).

Let 'em stay shutdown indefinitely. The only loser will be AFSCME.

Posted by Mitch at 07:35 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

Some Good News

According to Froggy Ruminations, one of the SEALs that's been missing since last Tuesday has been rescued after five days of Escape and Evasion.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Mitch at 02:43 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

July 01, 2005

Protecting the Sacrament of Abortion at All Costs

Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring from the SCOTUS.

Watch for the left and the mainstream media to pull out all the stops to portray any sign of religious faith, judicial restraint or constructionism as "extreme":

we have to find a way to explain how each Bush nominee is part of a larger conservative agenda to take rights away from the people in order to satisfy their fat cat and fringe fundamentalist backers.
Put in judicial terms; execute, then sentence, then try, and finally arrest.

Learned Foot puts it well:

Kinda reminiscent of how the moonbats were crying "FRAUD!!!" weeks before the election....how about we exhume some of the best jurists of the 20th century like Benjamin Cardozo: a stalwart force on the courts for many years whose legal mind was only rivaled by the eloquence of his opinions?


How about Brandeis? Taft? Dare I say, Learned Hand?


Naturally, there is only one issue, one "civil liberty", that really matters; the sacrament of abortion.

I was driving home up Snelling today; on the I-94 overpass, a group of women stood holding a long row of cards that spelled "R O E V. W A D E"; well-padded fiftysomethings from the alpaca and Volvo set, their faces furrowed with perpetual concern; fashionably scraggly twentysomethings, their faces puffy from extended indignance; all radiating an attitude that telegraphed "screw every other tenet of our democracy, if it'll safegard the prime sacrament of our common religion".

It's going to be a long summer.

Posted by Mitch at 07:40 PM | Comments (31) | TrackBack


So if someone were to ask you "Who was the first successful Celtic Rock band", who would you answer?

You might ask that the quizmaster please "Define Celtic-Rock" and "Define Successful".

If the quizmaster says "They mine a deeply Celtic Tradition and combine it with Rock", and "Sell a couple million records", you might arrive at "The Pogues", Shane MacGowan and his merry band of rum-sodden Irish folk-punks who left a trail of vomit and great albums in the eighties and early nineties.

But you'd be wrong.

Or the answer could be "A thin veneer of Celtic tradition atop a booming rock base" and "Multiple Platinum!", and guess Big Country, who brought Celtic and Scottish sounds and rhythms to the Billboard Top Forty in 1983, after scoring a hit or two in the UK. They twisted their guitars to sound like bagpipes and fiddles, the sword-danced about the stage, their whacked you over the head with their Scottich Celticivity. Surely they're the right answer.


Perhaps the answer would be "Ethnically Irish with the odd nod to the music of their culture" and "Mega-successful!", and arrive at U2. Not quite as overtly ethnic as Big Country, they still showed bits of their Gaelic roots on their first few albums ("An Cat Dubh" from Boy jumping immediately to mind).

Maybe even "Irish but not Irish-y" and "Sold a few record, but predated U2 and the Pogues", which would mean Boomtown Rats or Stiff Little Fingers or Thin Lizzy - who, while their music was not remotely "celtic", certainly wore "Irish" on their sleeves. Maybe?

Nope. And don't even bother guessing Jethro Tull, which hit the disqualifying trifecta of being Non-Irish, Druidic rather than Celtic, and of course sucking chunks through a straw.

Naturally, after eliminating the above, the savvy music fan would fall back on the only possible remaining answer: "Deeply immersed in the folk forms of the British Isles" and "sold a lot of records, and spawned a generation of British/Irish folk/rock", and voila, you'd come to Fairport Convention. The classic folk/rock group mined British, Celtic and a jumble of other folk traditions, sold a ton of records, and launched the careers of a scad of Brit/Celt folk rockers - Ashley Hutchings, Bob Brady, Bruce Rowland, Dave Mattacks, Dave Pegg, Dave Swarbrick, Gerry Conway, Ian Matthews, Sandy Denny, Simon Nicol, and of course the great Richard Thompson.

That's gotta be it.

Not at Keegan's Irish Pub's Thursday Night Trivia night.

No, apparently by answering the two questions above as "Irish, yep" and "Successful enough to have ranked as a footnote to the careers of all of the above", the "correct" answer at Keegan's is Horslips.

I'm a music geek nonpareil - so I've heard of Horslips. I even had some of their stuff on cassette in the mid-eighties. They never quite ranked as even an "obscure cult favorite" in the US; even Celtic music fanatics thought Horslips fans were a little off.

Oh, well. Next week's the charm.

Posted by Mitch at 06:12 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack


According to a source close to the Mound Police Department, Jeff Skelton - who allegedly killed his wife's lover on June 21 by shooting him five times, in the eye, groin and foot and twice in the chest - was released on bail on June 23.

Skelton earned fifteen minutes of fame by calling WCCO radio and confessing to the alleged murder.

A Google search and a search of the Strib archives show no coverage of the fact that a man who shot another man five times, in the eye, groin and foot and twice in the chest, was released on bail. Apparently if people who shoot people in the eye, groin, foot and chest aren't physically calling the media with the story, it's of no interest...

According to the source, the authorities in Mound got word that Skelton was about to be released on half a million dollars' bail. They contacted the Hennepin County Attorney's office to schedule an emergency bail hearing - they had:

  • ...information that Skelton had had third-party contact with his wife, and
  • ...addresses and phone numbers of the family of his victim, Michael Delmore.
A judge raised the bail to $750,000, compelled him to wear a GPS bracelet, enjoined him from entering Hennepin or Wright counties, and barred him from having any contact with the Delmore family or his wife.

Skelton's freedom didn't last long; this past Wednesday, Mound investigators heard that Skelton had tried to contact his wife at work on Monday, June 27. The Mound police confirm Skelton was taken back into custody this past Wednesday.

Question: Why did the the Twin Cities media not see fit to report that the alleged shooter in one of the most highly-publicized killings of the past year - who, need I add, is alleged to have shot his victim five times in the eye, groin and foot and twice in the chest - was back on the street?

Another question: Why did a judge offer him bail at all?

Posted by Mitch at 12:17 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

DFL Legislative Deadbeats: Caption Contest!

My ideas:

"The DFL walk off the job - leaving nothing but a trail of metaphors!"

"How about Momma puts out the cigarette and holds the sign herself?"


Photo courtesy the Strib

Posted by Mitch at 07:25 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

"Daddy, Why Are You Writhing With Laughter?"

"Well, son, mainly because I'm reading this exchange between Sisyphus and a local leftyblogger".

Posted by Mitch at 07:22 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


The desperate battle to rescue a SEAL team in the mountains of Afghanistan continues:

A Predator unmanned aerial vehicle captured images of movement around the crash site and infrared strobes of the type U.S. special operators use in emergencies, a military source said. “There was definitely movement around the aircraft,” the source said.

The Washington Post reported that the Predator also crashed or was shot down.

In addition, U.S. forces detected a PRC-112 survival radio beacon emitting from the vicinity of the helicopter, the military source said. The beacon appeared to be moving. “The last location was a good distance away from the crash,” he said.

By all accounts, the area aroud the crash has been secured, and US troops are flooding the zone.

Remember Mogadishu? Nobody could call it a victory - 18 US servicemen dead in an inconclusive battle is the kind of thing we're not accustomed to these days - but we didn't know the full story of the battle until Mark Bowden took the story away from the media; a story not only of immense courage and competence, but of a brutal drubbing dealt out to the enemies that day, the warlords' militias by the retreating Rangers and Deltas.

I suspect - with no information whatsoever - that there's a similar story behind what's going on near Asadabad; a concentration of Al Quaeda and Taliban, flushed by the original stick of four SEALs, is getting descended on by a whole lot more than two choppers full of troops now.

Matt Heidt, a former SEAL, is the blog to follow over at Froggy Ruminations. Keep your thoughts with the guys who are no doubt rooting through the allahforsaken mountains of Afghanistan today dealing out the payback.

And when you think about them, think about their families back home. And spare a buck or two for Frog Friends, a charity to benefit the families of Navy special forces killed in action.

Posted by Mitch at 07:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oh The Humanity

Minnesota's government shuts down.

So far so good.

Or is it?

Posted by Mitch at 06:07 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack