The Last Refuge Of Hyperdramatic Dolts

To steal a concept from Andy Warhol; soon, everyone will spend fifteen minutes wrapping some personal shortcoming in the Constitution.

This week?  It’s this intellectual gimp, an editor at the Colorado State “Collegian” newspaper:

The editor of the Colorado State University newspaper says he has no plans to resign amid criticism of the paper for using an obscenity in an editorial about President Bush.

The four-word editorial, published Friday in the Rocky Mountain Collegian, said in large type, “Taser this. F—- Bush.” 

J. David McSwane, the Collegian’s editor-in-chief and a CSU junior, said the newspaper’s governing board may fire him but he said he would not voluntarily step aside.

The irony, of course, is that I’m flummoxed to remember a single person ever being tasered at a Bush press conference.  John Kerry, on the other hand…

(And oh, good lord.  A college kid with an initial for a first name.  I want to taser him on principle).

“I think that’d be an insult to the staff who supported the editorial,” McSwane told the Fort Collins Coloradoan in Monday’s editions.

I think that’d be irrelevant at this point.

Of course, the news isn’t all bad:

The newspaper’s business manager has said the operation lost $30,000 in advertising in the hours after the editorial was published, and that the pay of student staffers would be cut 10 percent to compensate

McSwane said the newspaper’s student editors decided to use the obscenity because CSU students are apathetic about free speech and other rights.

“We thought the best way to illustrate that point was to use our freedoms,” he said.

Let’s get something straight, “Mr.” McShane; you didn’t “use your freedoms”; you defaced them.  You “used” your freedom of speech like someone who farts in church, sprays grafitti on a bathroom wall, and has a food fight in a clothing store “uses” their freedoms of religion, press and assembly.  You trivialized those freedoms, and made yourself, your “advisors”, your paper and  your university laughingstocks. 

The Board of Student Communication, which oversees the Collegian and other student media at the university, plans to discuss the editorial when it meets Tuesday night.

Proposal #1:  hire a grownup.

(Via Fraters)

And You Thought We’d Be “Under-Served”

The Strib will be starting a “New” political section tomorrow.

The Star Tribune will launch a new website Monday that aims to be a one-stop shop for all things political in Minnesota. The site, Politically Connected, will particularly focus on the 2008 elections.

“The Internet has a wealth of political information, but it’s very specialized and very fractured,” said Dennis McGrath, a longtime Star Tribune editor who will oversee the site.

“What Politically Connected will do is not only give you the Star Tribune’s political news, but it will also sweep in all of the different political content that’s out there and assemble it in one place so visitors to this site can spend less time searching … and more time reading it, watching it and debating it,” he said.

I’m not going to hazard a guess as to the kind of “gatekeeping” the Strib’s crack political staff will do on all of this handy-dandy unregulated material, though. 

Oh, no.  Not me. 

Politically Connected –accessible on Monday at www.startribune.com/politics — will feature a main news-of-the-day page, as well as pages on specific political races and individual candidates, weekly podcasts on Minnesota politics, staff-produced blogs, links to blogs across the political spectrum and archival information.

In other words, “Blog House” with a budget?

“We give a lot of information about what’s going on that day or that week in politics, but it gets lost [in time],” Star Tribune Editor Nancy Barnes said. “We want to collect it and archive it and engage people in the discussion.”

It’s likely to be a lively site during the next 13 months.

Oh, that more or less goes without saying.

But will it be a big improvement on their usual political coverage?

Barnes said that in addition to informing the public, the website has the potential to generate revenue.

“Over time, we hope to get political advertising as people see it is the place to come for political news and information,” she said.

I’m shocked.  I expected unicorns on gossamer wings to flit from the sky with sacks of doubloons.

Here’s a question, Dennis McGrath; do you think the Strib has retained any credibility at all, after the past decade of in-the-bag bias?

It’s So Exciting Here with the Skyscrapers in the Dark

Today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network:

  • Volume I The Opening Act The First TeamJohnBrian and Chad – will shoo the Stroms from the studio and kick things off from 11-1.
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed is back from assignment, finally!  We’ll be in next, from 1-3.  We might have a very special guest – we’ll see…
  • Volume III, “The Final Word”King and Michael will talk Minnesota trash after that until 5PM.

So join us on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, 11AM-5PM Central on AM1280 The Patriot, and at Townhall.com!

So git on in here and listen up!

Note to Gay America

Are “you” (and for the moment, let’s assume the “gay movement” really is a monolithic movement with a cohesive goal) trying to get accepted as equals in this country?  Because the whole “gay marriage” thing is a sign that you just might be.

Just curious.  And taking an opportunity to point out that this sort of thing probably isn’t going to do you much good:

A controversial advertisement for a San Francisco festival that depicts the Last Supper as a sadomasochism party falls within the First Amendment and is not harmful to Christianity, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday. [Note to Rep. Pelosi - "well, duh" regarding the First Amendment - and while Christianity has also survived much worse, I will defer to much better sources than you - Ed.] The ad for the Folsom Street Fair [possibly NSFW] – to be held in Pelosi’s district on Sunday and which is partly funded by San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts program, which is funded by the city’s hotel tax – sparked outrage from Christian groups because it mirrors Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting of “The Last Supper” but replaces Jesus and his apostles with scantily leather-clad men and women sitting at a table adorned with sex toys.

Yeah, I know – let the artists romp and play.  No biggie.

But the whole thing reminds me of this.

Question Authority

TvM has added Pat Shortridge to their already-imposing lineup of writers – and he comes out of the gate swinging with a great post on some poor assumptions that the conservative Presidential candidates are making – in this case, trying to court conservative voters by going through big conservative groups:

First, it’s incredibly stupid to try and reach conservative voters by talking to them through a group of folks in Washington, DC – or Arlington, VA in the DC suburbs.  The liberals found this out in 1980 when all the union bosses were lined up behind Carter and yet Reagan did incredibly well among union members by talking to them directly.

Thompson, and any other candidate of the center-right, will do well or poorly with conservatives depending on how well they speak to and deliver on our issues, not by how many endorsements they line up from group heads or party officials.  I can tell you first hand, the issues that top the list of concerns of conservative voters in America are often very different from the agenda of people who purport to speak for them in Washington.
Look at the polling data from ’06 if you want to see that in painful detail. There were a heck of a lot of pro-life, pro-marriage, socially conservative voters across America who pulled the lever for some extremely liberal candidates.

That is a huge point.  For people whose prime motivation in politics is not political idealism – like, 90-odd percent of the American voting public – group affiliations and the pronouncements of one consortium or another are pretty meaningless.  Especially among conservatives, who – outside the pro-life movement – really aren’t school fish.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton, it’s the vision, stupid.

Speaking of vision, Shortridge also remembers the GOP’s last successful big one  – the Contract with America, whose tenth anniversary was yesterday.  Shortridge was working for Dick Armey; my triviageekitude compels me to point out that Rep. Armey and I are both graduates of the same college

The Good, The Ugly and the Good

A good night at Keegans last night, as I extended my trivia winning streak to five (I only played the 6:30 round last night, due to familly commitments.

Crazy day in the office today; posting will be light.

And this time, when I say “light” – unlike those days in the past when I said “light” and I went on to crank out eight posts during the day – I mean it!

A Little Good News?

Carnivore at TvM notes a little bit of fun psychology:

 I like to do all my converting of anti-gun or ambivalent people by inviting them to empty a 30 round AK-47 magazine at the gun range. The big smiles on their faces tell me that a little safe fun is all it takes to convince them that guns aren’t evil. The blacker the rifle, the bigger the smile.

…but the real “beef” of the post is some good news from the Giuliani campaign; Hizzoner seems to have gotten his head a little straighter about the Second Amendment, in time for his invitation to speak at an NRA special convention:

[Giuliani] said his thinking on gun rights also was influenced by a federal appeals court decision that overturned a 30-year-old ban on private ownership of handguns in Washington on the grounds that the Constitution gives individual citizens the right to own guns.

“It is a very, very strong description of how important personal liberties are in this country and how we have to respect them,” he said of the ruling, adding it “sort of maybe even did more to crystalize my thinking on the whole gun issue in light of Sept. 11.”

He no longer argues, as gun control advocates do, that the right to bear arms applies only to the rights of states to maintain citizen militias. He now says that right also applies to individuals as well, and he cites the court ruling, Parker v. District of Columbia, that said the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to own handguns.

Carnivore – who may be the only blogger in town more pro-gun than I - approves: 

… if it takes 9/11 and the Parker decision to change Giuliani’s mind, then I welcome him to the club. As a person who grew up and was a product of New York, with its (originally anti-Italian) gun laws, dating back to the early 1900s, I can see how he might have lived his life with his previous view of the Second Amendment and the feeling that it’s not important since most New Yorkers can’t even exercise that right.

So one of Giuliani’s big sticking points for this conservative seems to be getting a little less sticky.

Tickling the Shark

I never liked Happy Days much; I very, very rarely watched it.  But to the extent that I ever did watch it, I tuned out even faster when it got to the point when every major character would walk on camera, the in-studio audience would erupt in pro forma applause; when Fonzie would go “‘eeeey”, the house would practically come down, as if Henry Winkler repeating “‘eeeeey” for the ten thousandth time was…well, worth applauding.

Drove me nuts.

I used to love MASH.  The first bunch of seasons were good stuff – even though after the first six seasons Alan Alda started taking over as the show’s driving creative force (with the commensurate increase in political preachiness), it pretty much kept its “snap” about it…

…until about the the eighth of its eleven seasons.  It was about the time Gary Burghoff left the show that the wheels seemed to come off.  I don’t think it was Burghoff’s departure itself, but some shuffling among the writing staff that scuppered the show. 

Whatever; for the first three or four seasons, the show was brilliant; seasons five through seven, uniformly excellent. 

Eight through eleven?

It was like the cast stopped playing a couple of sarcastic pacifist doctors, a conservative brahmin blueblood, a crusty old regular army guy, a neurotic nurse, a mild-mannered priest and a grumpy but ingenious draftee; they all became one-liner machines that lived like doppelgangers within the bodies the “the” stock surgeons, colonel, nurse and ex-transvestite characters, serving only the message and the writers; you could almost predict every line:

UNSYMPATHETIC OFFICER CHARACTER: “If we stop trying to take back North Korea, what’ll we have?”

HONEYCUTT: “Peace?”

UNSYMPATHETIC OFFICER CHARACTER: “What are you?  Some kind of comsymp?”

HAWKEYE: “Well, compsymple pleasures are the best…”

COL. POTTER: “Captain Pierce, I suggest you stop trying to kill the major with comedy before you kill your patients!

KLINGER:  “Habibi!”

I write this, mostly, to set up some background for the most depressing thing that’s hit me all week.

I saw an episode from the newest seasons of Scrubs – by far my favorite new TV discovery – the other day.  Now, Scrubs has been for five seasons one of the most crisply written and inventive shows ever, and a show that did “side-splittingly hilarious” (pick  your episode) and “mind-warpingly poignant” (the “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” dream musical sequence with the heart-transplant patient stands out, and totally kills me) with equal, sometimes dazzling facility.  And everyting you really  need to know about parenting, you can learn from Perry Cox.

Unfortunately, the episode I saw the other evening reminded me of one of those episodes of MASH I hated so much back in ’81; where instead of the fanciful-yet-believeable ensemble that made the show such a standout, we got “a metrosexual, a black doctor and his bossy Latina wife, the neurotic rich girl and the arrogant jerk with a heart of gold” mouthing lines that might have been written for “Happy Days”. 

I’m hoping they pull out of it soon…

Mixing Oil and Bile

Lassie writes about this Macalester “experimental” class…:

Macalester’s EXCO (Experimental College) offers a four-session experimental class starting September 27. Pop quiz: find the oxymoron in the course title…

Non-Violence and Anarchy: An Intergenerational Dialog
When: Thursday nights, 7-9:3pm, start 9/27 (4 wks)
Instructor: Betsy Raasch-Gilman, Rob Czernik
Contact: to [redacted] or (651) 222-4956
Where: Hope to alternate between Jack Pine Center and Friends for a Nonviolent World

Even the class venues are an oxymoron. Jack Pine is where the anarkids meet up, Friends is where the peacemakers meet.

I wonder – will the Quakers teach the anarkids tantrum-free demonstration?  Or will the narks teach the pacifists about peace through adolescent posturing?

Mitch Takes On Madison Avenue`

Sometimes advertising just cheeses me off.

Yesterday, while standing in the checkout line at Target, I read the back of a case of Coca Cola (r) that someone was buying. 

Two bits of background here:

  1. While it’s very difficult to avoid processed sugar in your diet, unless you get very serious about watching everything that goes in your mouth, I consume very little processed sugar by American standards.  I don’t add it to things, I use it very sparingly, and I don’t as a rule eat things that are total sugar bombs, like donuts or especially pop.  Coke Classic (R) is, to be blunt, way too sweet for me to drink.  At all.  I really don’t even drink much diet pop these days; my daily allowance of caffeine comes from my one cup of DunnBros coffee, from across the street from my office, most mornings. 
  2. I also drink a lot of water; like, two liters or so every day at work, and more outside.  Part of it is the biking; a bigger part is that I just plain feel better.  Jou Soucheray may ridicule the idea – but there’s a 50-50 chance that any idea Souch ridicules is probably a good one.  Of course, modern medicine and exercise science have been pushing “hydration” for quite a while, now.

Now, the back of this Coke case said something to the effect of “Coke promotes good hydration!  With every sip, you’re taking in water!”

Um, yeah.  You’re also taking in caffeine, which is a diuretic that leaches water from your system.  You’re also getting a ton of sugar – probably close to half the weight of the beverage – which takes even more water for your liver to purge from your system.  Hydration my ass; I’d be amazed if drinking a Coke doesn’t leave you dryer than you started.

Speaking of sugar, I hate those new ads for Sugar, with the “naked” guy standing in a store talking about how natural sugar is.  Oh, the ads are kinda funny – but let’s be clear about something; Table sugar is “natural” in the same way that plastic, heroin, E85, vodka or a car tire are “natural”; they start with something that comes from nature (oil, poppy seeds, high fructose corn syrup and oil, potatoes and more oil, respectively), and then refine the bejeezus out of it until it turns into something that is utterly unrecognizable compared to its original state.  Go take a bite out of a sugar beet sometime – it’s about 15% sugar, and it tastes like a raw turnip.  A bag of table sugar is about as “natural” as a line of cocaine.

That is all.

Things I Will Probably Never See

An abbreviated list:

  1. Tom Jones fans sitting back, scratching their chins, and saying “Engelbert Humperdinck really is a talented guy.
  2. Hugh Hewitt pronouncing a four-syllable name right on the first try.
  3. Me staying awake long enough to turn the dial away from the “Willie and Jay” show
  4. Scarlet Johannson and Kate Winslet getting into a knife fight over me.
  5. Mark “Look At Me, I’m A Union Goon!” Gisleson, proprietor of the most profane, scatological (and sixth-most unintentionally funny) blog in the local Sorosphere, lecturing me about manners and proprietyOops
  6. A worse movie than Little Nicky.

That is all.

The Review That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Katie from Yucky Salad:

I know I shouldn’t nit pick the fine points of a pretty famous story; I certainly know and appreciate that musicals require a high level of suspension of disbelief, and I’m usually better than OK with that. Anyone who knows me knows I wish I lived in a world where people burst out singing for no other reason than breakfast was ready. The problem with Brigadoon, just like with Superbad, was that it was just, well, superbad.

I’ve never met anyone with the guts to actually say that, before…

Sunday At The Mall

I biked over to the Capital Mall on Sunday to watch the union “peace” rally on the Capitol steps. 

I inadvertently got there very early – guess I don’t know my own strength! – so I went down to the World War II memorial, at the foot of the mall by the Veterans Services buildling. 

An older couple were there, wearing matching T-shirts commemorating their son, an Army major who’d been about a year and a half older than me when he was killed last year in Iraq. 

Now, I can’t pretend to imagine what it’s like to lose a child; the safety of my own children is a constant nagging worry in the back of my own head.  I’m no shrinking violet, and I’m certainly not the most sensitive guy, but I do know when to just shut up and let people talk.

And the woman – the bereaved mother – did talk.  She must have figured she was among friends, being on the grounds of a “peace” rally (and, indeed, she was; some things should transcend politics; caring for our kids and loving them more than anything in the world is one of them), and she unloaded, as her husband stood quietly by, admiring the WWII memorial. 

She was angry.  Still demolished with grief. 

She raged against the President. 

I wasn’t about to argue.  I disagreed, naturally, but what could I say?  What should anyone say?  She’d lost her son; for her, the sky might be red and the sun might rise in the west.  I can’t say as I’d see differently in her shoes.

And then she added “…it’s 2007.  We should be able to settle things by talking…”.

I wondered – to myself, of course – if, 65 years ago, Jewish advocates in Poland might have postulated the same ideal; that if they could only talk with Hitler, they could find a way to settle things, before the rest of their families disappeared into the nacht und nebel?  If some Ukranian kulak pondered the idea of just getting a letter through to Staliln to try to settle things as his children starved to death during Stalin’s famine, or if a Cambodian merchant or a Tutsi farmer yearned just to try to settle things like human beings as doom engulfed them and their families?  If some gay Afghan or pregnant Iranian teenager had a the urge to try to reason with their killers before the evil snuffed them out?  Did they believe that evil could be placated?  That behind the implacable mask of the Nazi, the chekist, the Khmer Rouge ideologue or Hutu zealot or Taliban or mullah, or muj with a cell phone alongside some road in Iraq, was someone who just needed to be reasoned with?

I didn’t know, and I didn’t ask.  I nodded, and listened, and expressed my genuine mutual sorrow.

———-

As the couple walked away toward the capitol, I noticed a group of people – younger and middle-aged – in red polo shirts, gathering around the memorial’s reflecting pool.  One of them came over and greeted me; I was among friends – in this case, “Families United“, a group of people whose children, spouses or siblings are in Iraq – or, in a few cases, who died there also. 

As the people in the distance on the Capitol steps  slowly gathered and strummed guitars, the Families United group – two dozen people, altogether – gathered under the American flag and had a brief observance.  The founder – Merilee Carlson, who lost a son in Iraq – read some letters from some of her group’s sympathizers who were also members of the participating trade unions, and were outraged that their unions would spend their dues money on demonstrating to scupper the troops’ mission.

———-

And money, they spent – although apparently not on trying to help people get there on time.  The permit was slated to kick off at 1PM; people were draggling in until two o’clock; between one and two, the crowd swelled from 200 to maybe 500. 

Four fairly posh motor coaches lined up on Constitution Avenue, reminding us that this wasn’t the same crowd we’d had two weeks earlier (at least, some of it differed); the unions, the AFL-CIO and AFSCME, among others, had pulled out the stops to make the day as low-impact as possible on their members.

And still, over half of the “crowd” was the usual suspects; the ACORN crowd, the poverty pimps from various “church” “social justice” groups – everyone but the anarchists, it’d seem.  It didn’t look like the “A-team” of protesters; the signs looked wan and halfhearted; a guy wandered up and down the Mall walkway, banging a pot to no apparent purposes (and yes, if the other guys start that “banging on pots” thing at the convention next year, I am bringing the bagpipes.  Oh, yes I am).  They didn’t know much about sound; they brought a PA system fit to handle a sock hop in a junior high gym; the speakers all exhibited that tendency that inexperienced, underamplified speakers do, shrieking into the microphone like they were hollering to be heard above a nor’easter.

The protesters shied away from talking in person; they’re smarter than most demonstrators (the ones that approached us two weeks earlier were generally woefully illiterate on current events, if not on talking points).

I left after a bit; it was too nice a day.

Janet Beihoffer and Jamie Delton were there, and covered things. 

How Would Keillor Rate?

I took this test to see how I’d stack up in terms of “Sustainability”.   

Of course, the only way to “pass” the test is to live in a commune in rural New Mexico (that, for whatever reason, is still high-density). 

Perhaps the Guatemalan peasant is the model they’re shooting for (especially since they have to get all of their news from the government.  Like…American Public Media!

(Via X-Perspective)

Dear Minnesota GOP

Two points:

1) When this chick says:

Please put Mitch Berg in charge of all candidate selection and planning for your party’s run for the 3rd.

…cut the girl some slack.  She’s a Democrat and a Soros employee; she’s used to having orders handed down from above and carrying them out on command.  She assumes we’d do things the same way.  Right sentiment, wrong party.

And…

2) Resist the temptation:

If you do, I’ll bake you cookies…

She’s, like, pregnant.  The cookies will be something like Spam Cilantro Fudge Snickerdoodles or something like that. 

Only Four Hours Off!

Last week, I figured that C-SPAN would broadcast Laura Ingraham’s appearance at St. Kate’s last week – the one I MC’ed whilst utterly soaked to the bone…

…at 4AM some Sunday morning, between the GAO report on office supply waste and the scores for the Justice Department softball league.

A little bird tells me it will actually run this Sunday morning at 8AM Central.

If there’s anything I hate (like all radio people) more than listening to myself, it’s watching myself. But I have a hunch it’s going to look humblingly hilarious.

Summing Up The Third

I’ve wondered – what could I possibly say about the race in the Third CD?  Especially when the “moderate” hamsters start to mewl about the supposed imperative to nominate a fellow fuzzy moderate critter in the Third?

Now that Jeff Johnson has concluded his op-ed in the Strib with this bit here…:

As long as we nominate a conservative candidate who understands what most of the voters in the Third District care about, we will be successful. A prolife candidate will lose some votes and gain some votes because of that issue. But abortion (or gay marriage, school choice, stem-cell research, gun laws, etc.) will not be determinative in this election unless we’re stupid enough to put up a candidate who is defined by a single, controversial issue and insists on making it central to his or her campaign.

So far, I haven’t seen any such candidate on the lists of potential Republicans.

So take heart, conservative voters. If you believe, as I do, that your best candidate for Congress will be conservative both fiscally and — gasp — socially, use this opportunity to throw conventional wisdom on its rear end. This is going to be fun.

…then, frankly, nothing else needs to be said.

But read the whole thing.

Sergeant First Class Paul Smith

In response to the Sorosphere’s practice of supporting the troops by publicizing the tiny thin film of atrocities commited by a tiny number of them, and parading the fraction of them that have come home to oppose the war around like they’re the only veterans that genuinely matter, a group of bloggers has worked for over a year now to publicize the life, and heroism, of one of the troops whose heroism went, in the full, awful, legal sense of the term, “above and beyond the call of duty”. 

 

 Smith won the Congressional Medal of Honor the same way all CMoH winners have; by committing an act of immense heroism “above and beyond the call of duty” – in other words, something that no reasonable person would expect a soldier to do. 

In Smith’s case – well, watch the presentation.  Read the account of Smith’s life.

Today would have been SFC Smith’s 38th birthday.