Stand Your Ground!

A Twin Cities feminist and longtime DFL stalwart wants feminists to write in Hillary! this fall:

Though she acknowledges it is a difficult sell, [DFL Feminist Caucus founder Koryne] Horbal said she and other feminists are promising not to vote for Barack Obama and write in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name in November if the disputed Florida and Michigan delegations are not fully seated at the Democratic National Convention and Obama becomes the presidential nominee.

But if the move costs Obama the election?

“I don’t care,” Horbal said of the possibility that the move might cost Obama votes. She said she also would not be bothered if the write-in campaign indirectly helped elect John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. “Let McCain clean it up for four years, and then we can have Hillary run again,” she said.

Democrats; for the love of goddess, by all means follow Mz. Horbal’s advice.  If womyn don’t stand as one behind any liberal woman; any liberal woman at all Hillary this fall, when indeed might you get another chance?

I’ll be copiously posting the write-in rules in this space over the next five months.

Desperate for Equivalence

To:  David Brauer, committed liberal and writer for the MNPost

From: Mitch Berg, critical reader

Re:  Because you say so, that’s why

Mr. Brauer,

Who wrote the following (no fair peeking!)

I’m talking, of course, about the Internet, which is a terrific learning tool. For example, a couple years ago, when he was 12, my son used the Internet for a sixth grade report on bestiality. Joe was able to download some effective visual aids, which the other students in his class just loved. See, at that age the kids are sponges!” Source: Al Franken, Playboy, January 2000


“At first I thought it was my imagination, but when Dr. DeVine escorted me into the virtual reality room, she seemed to be coming on to me. She allowed her bodacious breasts to brush against my face as shelowered me into the prototype of the Virtu-Screw 2000. ‘How does that feel?’ she cooed. I didn’t know if she was referring to the Naugahyde bucket seat or to the two erect nipples pushing through her white lab coat and nearly poking my eyes out.

Then Dr. DeVine placed the Virtu-Screw helmet over my head. Sitting in the pitch dark, I felt slightly vulnerable but also excited. Sheasked me which setting I wanted. Since I’ve been married 23 years, I naturally chose ‘blow job.’ My chair abruptly tilted backward, and I ‘felt’ my pants being unzipped. If I hadn’t known I was sitting in the most state-of-the-art virtual reality sex machine, I would have sworn that a real woman’s hand had pulled my cock from my pants.

My nervousness disappeared, and I sat back and enjoyed the amazingly realistic cyber job. It was every bit as good as the last real blow job I had gotten 23 years earlier-if not better-because when I shot my wad, the virtual mouth swallowed.” Source: Al Franken, Playboy, January 2000


“I found myself extremely attracted to the vulnerable side of this sexy scientist, and when I offered to comfort her, she accepted, kissing me full on the lips and inserting her tongue into my mouth and moving it around suggestively. Then she reached down and started rubbing my crotch, and within just five or ten minutes my cock was again hard and ready for action.

That’s when Dr. DeVine took my hand in her other hand, and said, ‘If you think VRS is the future, wait until you see this.’

While still rubbing my crotch, Dr. DeVine led me through the Future wing to the Sexbot room. Once inside I was surprised to see a vinyl blowup doll wearing crotchless panties.

Dr. DeVine explained that the blow-up doll was the prototype for the Sexbot, and scientists at the IPS keep her around to remind themselves just how far they have come and how far they have to go.

And indeed they do have a long way to go. The most current Sexbot prototype, Connie, while quite attractive, has moving parts made of plastic and metal alloys and is considered quite dangerous. In fact, as a futurist, Dr. DeVine believes that the first Sexbots to hit the market will result in class-action suits filed by severely injured men.

That’s why Dr. DeVine urged me to forgo Connie and introduced me to Wilhelmina, a beautiful young German-born researcher who, while human, more closely approximates the Sexbot of the 22nd century. Wilhelmina escorted me to a private room with a bed and removed her clothes.If this is what Sexbots will look like a hundred years from now, I envy my great-great-grandsons. We made passionate love for two or three minutes before being joined by Dr. DeVine, who wanted to make the point that Sexbots will be used for threesomes.

I could describe the incredible sex the three of us had, but this is a piece of journalism about the future of pornography and not one of those cheesy letters from a horny reader. Suffice it to say that everyone came several times, except me, who came only once.”

Was it:

a) Senate Candidate Al Franken, or

b) Conservative archpundit William F. Buckley

If you answered “b”, Mr. Brauer, it explains a lot about this piece.

Note, Mr. Brauer; it’s not the appearance.  It’s the output.

As it were.

That is all.

If You’re Driving Into Town With A Dark Cloud Above You

Today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network:

  • Volume I “The First Team” – Chad, John and Brian will do their thing from 11-1 live in Rochester at the GOP State Convention!
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed and I will be on from 1-3 from home base in Eagan.
  • Volume III, “The Final Word”King joins Michael from 3-5 – they’re out at the convention too.

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of sanity. On the air at AM1280 in the Metro, or streaming at AM1280’s Website, or via podcast at Townhall.

And don’t forget the David Strom Show, with David Strom and Margaret Martin, also live in Rochester from 9-11!

(Title h/t Joni)

Jed Liveblogs His Seance With Sigmund Freud

(Note from Mitch:  I got this from my “evil” twin brother, Jed.  He believes in some funky stuff, including spiritualism and seances.  While I post his occasional pieces, I don’t necessarily endorse his views).

“It’s come to my attention that certain local bloggers have been trying to invoke classical psychoanalysis in critiqueing blogs – namely, in this case, my brother Mitch’s.   In one rather febrile case, a local blogger attempted to co-opt Sigmund Freud in order to “analyze” (via the “inundation with stereotypes” modality) last week’s “Hot Gear Friday” on World War II firearms.

So to set the record straight, I’m going to attempt to go to the source; I’m going to contact Doctor Freud himself in the next world

I believe this may be a blog first; certainly it’s a first among MOB blogs.

I’ve gathered some spiritualistic objects about me; I’m burning incense; I’m getting into a deep trance, attempting to commune with the spirits…

…wow.  He – or his spirit – has a Yahoo Chat account!  Who knew? 

I will include the transcript of the seance chat – the “chateance”, I guess – below.  This should be exiting.

SigFreud: Allo – wem hat mich abgewocht?

JedBerg: Sorry to disturb you, Dr. Freud. 

SigFreud: Kein Problem.  Was ist denn deine frage?

JedBerg:  Thank you.  I have just a couple of short questions… 

SigFreud: Schieß sofort!

JedBerg: Very well!  First question: does your theory of “compensation” have the faintest thing to do with enjoying shooting?

SigFreud: ROFMLAO!  Solche Quatsch!  Nee – regelmäsige waffeninteresse is gesund!  Es bedeutet ein wohle, gesunde…kraft in diesen welt!

JedBerg: “Kraft” – you mean in the sense of “Power, confidence, self-respect”, like that?

SigFreud: Ja!  Doch, natürlich!  Mein beliebte wort dafür is “Mojo”.

JedBerg: OK, thanks…

SigFreud: …anders zum glauben is…krank!

JedBerg: Really?  Do I hear you right – believeing otherwise is sick?

SigFreud: Ja!  Bring die männer in die weiße jacke!

JedBerg: The white jackets?  Wow.  That’s serious.

SigFreud: Doch.  Nächst!

JedBerg: OK.  So say someone likes to make snarky comments about others…

SigFreud: Das is ganz fabelhaft!  Wenn mann “speaks his mind” in seine eigene name, das ist gar gesund!

JedBerg: Healthy?  Sure – except it’s not “in their own name”.  They’re all either anonymous, or talking through fake personas – like animals.  Dogs.  That kind of thing.

(pause in transcript)

SigFreud: So viel arbeit – und so wenig zeit. 

JedBerg: That bad?

SigFreud: Es macht man müde und… nah, sowieso “depressed”.  Das ist alles.  Beinahe gefällt’s mir daß ich Tod bin!   Nächst!

JedBerg: Wow.  Harsh.  OK, final question; doesn’t your very presence here in a seance from the afterlife refute your premises from Future of an Illusion and Moses and Monotheism?

SigFreud: LOLOLOL!  Ja.  Schoiße, nicht?

JedBerg: Heh.  You could say that!  Well, Dr. Freud, thank you for your time!

SigFreud: Kein Problem!  Chuß, und auf wiederschauen!  🙂

JedBerg: And to  you as well!

SigFreud has logged off 12:02PM

The light is fading….fading…

Wow.  I’m back.  Let me read the transcript…

…oh, crap.  I forgot – Freud was Austrian!  Well, dang. 

I hope that’s of use to someone.  

(Jed Berg, Mitch’s “evil twin”, contributes periodically to this blog.  He is a forensic personal injury attorney living in Darrien, Connecticut.  He is a life-long liberal Democrat, but will likely vote for McCain if the Dems nominate a candidate who is pro-choice, anti-gun, and pro-withdrawal from Iraq)

Hot Gear Friday – The Fender Deluxe Reverb

In the world of gear, there are toys – things that’ll give you that little burst of pleasure instantly – and then there’s machinery, the things you have to work to get what you want with.

A fuzz box?  It’s a toy.

I don’t mean, by the way, to disparage toys.  Toys have their place, and it can be an important one.  They give adults, like kids, something they need; a learning experience, something to enjoy, something that ties learning to fun, or just that little jolt of fun you need.

The Fender Deluxe?  It’s machinery.

I bought my Fender in 1978, for $100 worth of paper route money.  It was 50 watts of power through a 10 inch speaker, the bare-bones two-knob tone controls, a simple spring reverb tank and a tremolo unit.

That’s it.  No overdrive circuit.  No power soaker.  No EQ.

The basic tone, after you got done cranking on the tone controls, was basically…clean.  You had to crank it to get overdrive distortion – and 50 watts cranked was very, very loud.

But this was the fun part; after a while of noodling around with it, you found (or I found, anyway) a combination of things that made it, with all its faults, mineMy sound. In my case, sometime after I moved to the Cities and after maybe seven years of playing the thing, I cracked the code:  My guitars (a Fender Jazz and an Ibanez SG), into a cheapo preamp stompbox, thence into a DOD rackmount delay line (that I left sitting on my amp, since, sheesh, who’s gonna buy a rack?), and then into a switch pedal (to jump between the Fender and my Peavey Bandit, when I wanted a wash of cheap, overdriven fuzz.  The preamp gave the Fender a little film of crunchy distorition, while the DOD could be tweaked to give just the right amount of slapback to fill things out, making the Fender sound…

…damn good.

It, and the DOD, got stolen probably in 1989.  That thief, unfortunately, I don’t know.  Hope you enjoy it, douchebag, whoever you are.
Anyway – one of these next tax refunds…

If Not For Shopping

I was wandering through a store picking up some stuff for my daughter last night. One of the clerks had a boombox, tuned to “The Current” (MPR’s alt-music affiliate)…

…and I had one of those musical bolts from the blue I occasionally get.  Not sure why, but a song just stopped me in my tracks, something I hadn’t heard in probably decades.  Vaguely southwestern-sounding, with a scrummy slide-guitar part and a tenor singer I couldn’t quite place, and a sober but engrossing hook…

…anyway, I stood in the aisle for probably three minutes, watching the boombox, like if I walked away the song would stop.

I probably bought more stuff than I should have, to reassure the staff I was really OK.

Oh, it was the 1970 original of this song, by the late George Harrison – with a band featuring G.E. Smith – a guitar player whose intrusive, aggressive style I have always desperately wanted to dislike, but just can’t – on the signature slide part.

Blocking and Tackling

I have my differences with Senator Norm Coleman.

That should be no shock; the guy came up through the DFL. He even gave Paul Wellstone’s nominating speech at the 1996 DFL convention.

But he was one of Saint Paul’s thin film of “good” DFLers, the tiny scree of Truman Democrats left in the increasingly loony Saint Paul party, along with his successor Randy Kelly; both represented what an eastside DFLer friend of mine called the “pro-life, assault-rifle-owning, pro-defense” wing of the DFL.

Hence, the DFL couldn’t tolerate either of them, and Norm became a Republican. Not a perfect conservative, mind you – he never claimed to be – but the closest to one that we’ve got in the Senate at the moment.

And so I voted for him, enthusiastically, in two mayoral races, and in 2002, and I’ll vote for him early and often this fall, too. Not because he’s the perfect conservative, but because he’s better than Al Franken or Mike Ciresi or the risible Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer – and because the MNGOP came nowhere close to showing us a vastly better alternative in this cycle.

And – more importantly – because while he’s not the perfect conservative, he does the blocking and tackling of good government generally well. A former prosecutor, he and his administration had a solid role in helping Saint Paul have a vastly lower crime rate, per capita, than Minneapolis.

Which is one reason, I suspect, that the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Police Federations have endorsed the Senator against whomever he’s running against:

The Saint Paul and Minneapolis Police Federations today joined forces to endorse U.S. Senator Norm Coleman’s re-election campaign. The Minneapolis Police Federation represents over 900 officers employed by the City of Minneapolis as well as Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. The Saint Paul Police Federation represents 620 sworn officers and 75 Emergency Communications workers in the City of Saint Paul.

Saint Paul Police Federation. “Since his time as Saint Paul’s Mayor, when he worked hard to put more officers on the streets, he has always listened to our needs and responded. He knows that the strength of our communities depends on the strength of our officers and their abilities to do their jobs. He has consistently been there for us, and that’s why we are here for him today and going forward in this campaign.”“Throughout his entire career, starting with prosecuting criminals across the state during his time in the Attorney General’s office, to his work in the Mayor’s office and now in the Senate, Norm has responded to the needs of law enforcement. His efforts have made a real difference in how we do our jobs. We need to keep Norm in the Senate working with us in the law enforcement community because he gets it,” said John Delmonico, President of the Minneapolis Police Federation.

Now if Coleman could only sic some of those cops on the UN, he’d redeem a few of his mistakes…

(And perhaps give him a warning about his apparent support for the “Cap and Trade” bill.  Maybe a tazer).

The Audacity of Nuisance

Living in a one-party city, you see and hear some strange things.

There’s a conceit on the part of an awful lot of Twin Cities leftists – Democrats, Greenies, and all their various flavors – that “if we just showed Republicans the truth, they’d be Democrats!”

That point of view is in full foam as we head toward the GOP Convention this fall. One “local” group plans on putting “huge Jumbotrons” on both sides of downtown – on Cathedral Hill and Harriet Island – to beam videos over the city during the convention, apparently to try to convert Republicans.

These, by the way, are some of the same people who fulminate about billboards in Saint Paul. Go figure.

And now, says Schmelzer at the Minnesoros Monitor, they plan to try to “Rock some sense into the Republicans”

No, really!

“The Republican National Convention is coming to the Twin Cities in September, and wouldn’t it be a shame if there was no one to play deafening power chords just up the street?” So reads text at the website of ProVention, online homebase for a concert planned in Lowertown St. Paul on Sept. 3 and 4 to coincide with the GOP convention.

They assure us, of course, that…

…the point isn’t an antagonistic, Noriega-psyops kind of thing, but to welcome Republican guests with “music, beauty and rational engagement” (here’s the group’s platform).

We’ll come back to that “noriega” thing in a bit.

The lineup — which may change, “probably in the direction of more and more ginormously powerful”

A quick tangent; I think Americans of all creeds, colors, orientations and parties can unite behind the notion that people who use “ginormous” in any context can and should be shipped to camps in the Mojave Desert.  Can I get an amen?

Anyway – out of one corner of their mouth, they say this is no “noriega-like psyop”.  And then they say…:

— has elephantine star power: Tapes ‘n’ Tapes,


Tapes ‘n Tapes.

I, for one, choose waterboarding.

Welcome Home, 817th Engineers

I wrote last year for Veteran’s Day about the history of the North Dakota National Guard from the Spanish-American War through Iraq.

There was a bit of current history I’d missed; Jamestown’s National Guard company (renamed again – it’s now the 817th Engineer Company (Sapper), specializing in minefield clearance) has done its second tour in Iraq (the first was almost four years ago, as Company B/141st Combat Engineers). 

And I’m happy to relate…:

Soldiers of the 817th Engineer Company (Sapper) are tentatively scheduled to return from their one-year tour of duty in Iraq to Ft. McCoy, Wis., from June 1 to 8.

Nobody died in action this time; on its first tour, the 141st lost four killed in action.

Anyway – welcome home, from a long-time expat!

Archconservative Attacks “Ay-Rab” Woman

Representative Michele Bachmann (MN6), noted archconservative and immigration hawk, notes this story from Belgium (via the NYTimes, a quote from which starts the excerpt):

Al Qaeda Warrior Uses Internet to Rally Women

BRUSSELS—On the street, Malika El Aroud is anonymous in an Islamic black veil covering all but her eyes…

She calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself…“It’s not my role to set off bombs—that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview. “I have a weapon. It’s to write. It’s to speak out. That’s my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb.”

Ms. El Aroud has not only made a name for herself among devotees of radical forums where she broadcasts her message of hatred toward the West.

Bachmann – who sounds a bit testy, like entering the world of blogging has caused her to let down her guard: 

This kind of s**t drives me bonkers—Ms. El Aroud hates the West? That’s grand. Whatever—that’s her right. Hell, there are some things I hate about the West. But if you hate the West so much, Ms. El Aroud, then what the f**k out are you doing in the West? Go. You’re not nailed you to the floor in Belgium. Let’s make a deal: You were born in Morocco. So you go back to Morocco and we’ll bring someone over that actually wants to live in the West. Perhaps a Moroccan lesbian. But if you long to live under sharia (you say you do), then maybe you should pick a s**thole country somewhere—Saudia Arabia, Nigeria, Gambia, Iran—where Islamists hold power and go and f**king live and blog from there.

Wow. I’m not used to that kind of direct language from Rep. Bachmann.  I’m kind of shocked. 

Still, she goes on.

But here’s the detail that really made my head explode:

That system often has been lenient toward her. She was detained last December with 13 others in what the authorities suspected was a plot to free a convicted terrorist from prison and to launch an attack in Brussels…. Now, even as Ms. El Aroud remains under constant surveillance, she is back home rallying militants on her main Internet forum and collecting more than $1,100 a month in government unemployment benefits.

Belgium, for crying out loud, you’re paying this woman unemployment benefits so that she can sit in her apartments and encourage people to blow up Belgians? Are you out of your minds?

One might wonder.

Of course, being that Rep. Bachmann is something of a paleoconservative, the only real surprise in the above is that she came to the defense of the “Moroccan Lesbian”. 

Well, dog bites man, I guess.

CORRECTION:  I can’t believe I bobbled this; the author was not famed social conservative Representative Michele Bachmann, but in fact überliberal gay sex-advice columnist and non-Bush-fan Dan Savage.

Who’d have thunk – Savage gets it.  Just goes to show you.

I regret any inconvience caused by this misunderstanding.

“Life” Imitates Art

Art:  From South Park, via the Urban Dictionary: 

Stan Darsh – Stemming from the South Park episode where the children go skiing and encounter a stereotypical 80s movie plotline. Sort of a lame whiney insult for someone equivalent to Douchebag or Lamer.


“Life”:  “Scottsdale Woman”, from Fired Oglake: 


Votes, please!

Fingers Crossed!

In a sense, fisking Lori Sturdevant has become almost as rote and pro forma as fisking Nick Coleman used to be.

In her most recent hit job DFL puff piece column, Sturdevant – whose leg got a Chris Matthews-like tingle when the likes of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone flirted with national ambitions – suddenly goes all provincial on us, to the point where she has to contradict herself to do it.

But here’s a first; at least she admits it. Not that that matters much:

National ambition is a desirable trait in Minnesota politicians — or so I’ve said on these pages. A pol who wants a call to the Show will play a better game here in the minors — or so I used to think.
But now it’s a Republican in office!
But covering Gov. Tim Pawlenty in the lawmaking season that just ended raised some doubts about the home-state utility of national ambition. Was it because Pawlenty wants to be vice president that he vetoed a much-needed gas tax increase, or Central Corridor funding?
(Or was it, perhaps, that he ran and won twice as a “no news taxes” candidate, and that he’s delivering on his promises?)
Was he minding the store while on all those weekend trips for John McCain?


“Minding the Store?”

Perhaps Ms. Sturdevant has noticed; the Governor has a bit of an executive branch that’s hired to “mind the store” in the event that the Governor has to, y’know, sleep or go to the bathroom or campaign for office.

Just like DFL governors do.

But wait!  Not only does Sturdevant observe radically different standards for DFL and GOP politicians – she can find DFL politicians who agree!

I put those questions to two legislators sure to have divergent answers, Republican Sen. Geoff Michel of Edina and DFL Rep. Frank Hornstein of Minneapolis. Here’s how they spun, er, called it:
Michel: This is a continuation of a Minnesota tradition, going back to Humphrey, Freeman and Mondale. And Stassen! We have overachieved on the national political stage. For a lightly populated Midwestern state, we have provided a lot to the national stage. Tim Pawlenty is just the next in line. 

Hornstein: I agree that there’s a tradition in Minnesota. But I think Pawlenty is radically different from the tradition defined by Humphrey, Mondale and McCarthy. Where I’ve seen his national profile manifest itself most is in his adherence to this rigid no-tax orthodoxy, which I would argue is not Minnesotan. Particularly on the issue that I work on most, transportation, it has not benefited the state.

In other words, “only tax and spend, profligate tax whores – like every DFL governor in recent history – need apply”. 

If Lori Sturdevant got the same scrutiny that Katherine Kersten got, she’d be composing ads for the Park Rapids Shopper.

Open Invitation

To:  Scott McClellan

From: Mitch Berg – unpaid hack

Re:  Interview

Mr. McClellan,

Since you’re on a big honking book tour anyway, I’d like to invite you on the Northern Alliance Radio Network one of these next weekends.

It seems you have some explaining to do, and it’d be nice to get you into a forum where you’d actually have to do that explaining.

Have your people call our people Ed or I.

That is all.

Caught Between A Rock And A Dumb Place

Saint Thomas University – the Twin Cities’ main and most prestigious Catholic university – just can’t win for losing.

For years, they sell their Catholic soul to try to appeal to the urban, big-money, soft-left crowd they apparently seek.  And what does it get them, according to the City Pages?
I mean, if they try to act Catholic and all?

For Tara Borton, choosing a place to volunteer over the summer for school credit was a no-brainer. The first-year student at the University of St. Thomas School of Law was interested in women’s issues, so she decided to donate her time to Planned Parenthood.

“I’d volunteered there when I lived in Florida,” Borton explains. “I wanted to get involved again.”

It’s a “no-brainer” to do something that the Catholic Church explicitly deems non-Catholic?


But Borton’s choice, hardly worth a second glance at most schools, has become the latest political controversy to roil the University of St. Thomas. Last summer, St. Thomas infamously disinvited Archbishop Desmond Tutu from speaking on campus for fears that his Palestinian-friendly remarks would offend Jews. Shortly thereafter, a deal with Allina Hospitals & Clinics to set up a medical school fell through amid whispers that St. Thomas’s Catholic views would be incompatible with standard medical training on sexual and reproductive health.

Ahem – aren’t we missing a controversy?

I digress:

The latest controversy has forced St. Thomas’s law school to weigh its secular, prestige-oriented ambitions, underlined by its recent ascension to third-tier status in the influential U.S. News & World Report rankings, against the pressure to hew to the Catholic Church’s doctrinaire leadership, reinforced by Pope Benedict’s stern speech to Catholic educators during his recent visit to America.

I dunno.  Somehow, other Catholic institutions manage to make the list. Have they all tossed the whole “church” thing overboard?

The current fracas was set in motion earlier this month, when Borton sought permission to meet her public service requirements by spending the summer working for Planned Parenthood. All students are required to complete 50 hours of volunteer service—anything from pro bono legal work for the poor to building houses for Habitat for Humanity—in an effort to encourage them to serve the needy.

And naturally, Saint Thomas told Borton she couldn’t work for Planned Parenthood at all – right?

Following standard procedure, Borton took her request to the Public Service Board, a student-run committee charged with lining up volunteer opportunities and deciding which projects are worthy of students’ time. Last Monday, after a tense, hour-long deliberation, the board issued its decision: In a 10-4 vote, it ruled that Borton could work at Planned Parenthood on cancer treatment, adoption services, and sexually transmitted disease testing, but would have to refrain from any volunteer work involving contraception or abortion.

Ah.  So Borton actually got to work for Planned Parenthood, in other words?   In a way that didn’t contravene the rules the Catholic church that runs St. Thomas, and of which Borton was certainly aware when she applied?

Oh, of course not.  This is Saint Thomas; the place where the administration of  President Father “Havana Denny” Dease screws up in the secular and ecclesiastical veins – picking and choosing both the First Amendment  rights and  the ecclesiastical rules that will apply to his students.

Within hours, Dean Thomas Mengler’s email inbox was flooded with dozens of angry emails from faculty, students, and alumni. The messages shared a common question: How can St. Thomas, as a Catholic institution, lend volunteer support to Planned Parenthood, a notorious facilitator of abortions?

Mengler acted swiftly. In an open letter he sent out the next day, before the board’s decision had been publicly announced, the dean overruled the vote.

But wait!

But his edict was muddied by school bylaws, which don’t explicitly grant the dean authority to overrule the Public Service Board without a grievance from the volunteer in question. By claiming that authority, Mengler angered a large contingent of students. Though the school is hunkered down for final exams, 80 students found time to sign an open letter challenging the dean’s authority.”A vocal minority of students and faculty were allowed to overturn a decision by a representative student body without a formal appeals process,” the students wrote. “Law school has taught us to be proud of living in a democracy where people—right or wrong—are allowed their day in court and their opportunity to be heard. Ours has been denied.”

Note to Fr. Dease and Saint Thomas; if you shoot yourself in the foot repeatedly, consider switching from a machine gun to a revolver.

Is It Lileks…

or is it a fiendish parody?

Things started well enough: My tires sang on iceless roads, and the flooding sunlight raised a dew of sweat on my forehead. I turned off the heater, and in a fit of wild abandon brought down the driver’s-side window. The wind slapped and stung, my knuckles whitened on the wheel, but I pressed on. Spring! Shivering means you’re alive!

Then Mother Nature swept in, slapped her palm with a nightstick, and barked, Show’s over, pal. Clouds consumed the sun and soon the familiar aerial bombardment of sleet played Penderecki on my windshield.

Doy – take parody – and not a bad one, although it loses a little steam near the end.

If they’ve given up all pretense of doing news, it’s probably not a bad next step…

Hijab, Mijab, Everybody’s Jab

Years ago, my first good technical writing job was for a company that was contracting with Nabisco to produce computer-based training for a “bag in a box” line in Portland, Oregon.

The OSHA regulations for people on those lines were pretty strict; no jewelry; hair nets (and beard next, if you had enough beard); no loose clothing that could get caught in things.

And things, there were. Chain pulleys for the bucket conveyor that hauled the Cheez Nips and Wheat Thins from the conveyor belt (that hauled them from the bakery) to the scales, which had dozens of flipping, clanking lids and doors opening and closing every second, pouring product into bags; the pawls and arms and rotating cams of the machine that stuck the bags into the boxes; the pulleys and steel rods that shoved the boxes into packing crates for shipment.

(Oddly, there was no rule against grabbing a snack from the bucket conveyor).

While the plant followed all the usual rules and regs, I could see where wearing loose, flow-y clothing could cause a problem, opening Nabisco up to a world of liability (and the hapless worker to a lifetime without a finger, arm or head).

So I hear these stories…:

A group of Muslim workers allege they were fired by a New Brighton tortilla factory for refusing to wear uniforms that they say were immodest by Islamic standards.

Six Somali women claim they were ordered by a manager to wear pants and shirts to work instead of their traditional Islamic clothing of loose-fitting skirts and scarves, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a civil liberties group that is representing the women.

The women have filed a religious discrimination complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

“For these women, wearing tight-fitting pants is like being naked,” said Valerie Shirley, a spokeswoman for the Minnesota chapter of CAIR. “It’s simply not an option.”

…and wonder – with no desire to be ethnically insensitive, mind you – “perhaps, ladies, there are fields you just shouldn’t seek jobs in? Jobs like oil-rig worker and Alaska crab fisherman and, perhaps, working in a food plant with (presumably) lots of equipment that long ago pushed the OSHA to ban, like, long flowing clothing in the workplace?”

Navigation Question

Question for all your bikers/excursionmongers who know the Bloomington area.

Old Cedar Avenue runs south of Old Shakopee Road, southwest of the Mall of America. It’s west of the current Cedar (Hwy 77). On the map, and on Google, it crosses the Minnesota River on that old box-trestle bridge that is just west of the new Cedar bridge.

Now, an Hennepin County bike map says the old trestle bridge is closed – but a look at the Google Streetview looks like it’s open.

From the looks of it, Old Cedar links up to the foot/bike path on the new Cedar bridge, which would be a VERY handy shortcut for me.

Does anyone out there know if that old bridge is actually open to bikes?

Leave a comment. Thanks!

UPDATE:  Oops.  Asked and answered.

So It’s A Vast…Left-Wing Conspiracy, Then?

Look – this fall is likely to be another rough one for the GOP.  It’s possible we can retain the White House if we all pull together.  But Congress is looking grim; indeed, if the Dems get less than 80 seats in the Senate and 330 in the House, it should be considered a crushing defeat.

But if nothing else, we’ll get a few years of watching the Tics eat their own:

Former President Bill Clinton said that Democrats were more likely to lose in November if his wife Hillary Clinton is not the party’s presidential nominee, and suggested some people were trying to “cover this up” and “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.

“I can’t believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out,” he said at a South Dakota campaign stop Sunday, in remarks first reported by ABC News. “’Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'”

Well, to be fair, the media has more important things to cover up.  To be fairer – huh?

The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate.

Sixteen years of fawning, and this is all the thanks the press gets from Slick Willy?

The Internet Knows All

So after a couple of years of seeing the commercials, I had to find out – who is the girl in those “you have to put Mercury on your list” commercials?

Well, the ‘net knows all – it’s Jill Wagner

OK – but, better yet…:

I’ve always been around guns. I was raised by my father and he has always had a gun collection and he shoots skeet. When I was like 13 years old I’d go with him to shoot skeet. I actually have a gun collection of my own. I got a gun for Christmas, a Kimber Raptor .45. Also I have a Colt .45 and I have a Ladysmith. Last night my Dad just informed me that he’s going to give me one of his shotguns but he didn’t tell me which one yet. He’s going to surprise me. I’ve only got four guns so far which is a very small collection but I’ve always liked shooting.

OK, I’ll put a Merc on my list after all.

Well, This Should Fix Everything!

Who do you think wrote this?

The Reformers are coming! They are many  and hungry to redress the
steep slide of mostly mainstream media into an abyss of cultural waste
infotainment, shallow journalism, ignorance of real issues, celebrity
worship and lockstep support for government folly  war, corporate
power, enriching the rich, and consolidating their own power! This has made
mincemeat of the medias responsibility to be Americas watchdog, not
Americas lapdog. First Amendment protections have been combined with
untold wealth and control over the flow of useful and important information
citizens need to govern ourselves.

Someone confined to an institution, maybe? 

No – one of many local shills for the “National Conference for Media Reform“, taking place next week at the Minneapolis Convo Center.  Built around the premise that the media is too conservative, and that it must serve a social agenda, the conferences promises enough leftymedia talking heads to prove the greenhouse effect for a couple of days.


Well, there don’t seem to be any in the conventional sense of “people I’d really like to hear speak”.  But there are some notables anyway:

    Allie Pates – Females United for Action  [not really a “notable”, so much as it sounds like it will be oh so fun]
  • Alondra Espejel  – Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network [presumably “media reform” means enabling carefully-selected people from politically-correct groups to ignore the law]
  •  Amina Fazlullah U.S. Public Interest Research Group [Uh huh]
  • Amy Goodman Democracy Now!
    Andrew Slack  – Harry Potter Alliance [Oh, I get it – going after Voldemort O’Reilly!]
  • Arianna Huffington Huffington Post [“Vit enoff money, anyone can make a divvrence, dahling”]
  • Bill Moyers – Bill Moyers Journal, PBS [Yes, that’ll teach us to be fair and balanced.  Whooie]
  • Bob Edgar – Common Cause [making politics safe for elitist wonks for several decades, now.
  • Camille Cyprian – Wellstone Action [Moral of their story:  If the media pays you unquestioning obeisance, you can make a difference!]
  • Cenk Uygur  – The Young Turks [“If you are an immature, blowhard wannabee thug, people will pay attention to you!”]
  • Chantz Erolin – Yo! The Movement [Sounds like one for Ryan Rhodes or Learned Foot to tackle] 
    Dan Rather – Dan Rather Reports [Huh?  The poster child for the sclerotic arrogance of the “old media”?  This makes no sense – assuming “reform”, rather than institutionalizing the status quo via “the Fairness Doctrine”, weren’t what this charade were all about]
  • David Schimke Utne Reader [I’ve had about enough…]
  • Duncan Black  – Eschaton / Media Matters for America [I’d like to go to the convention, and ask him “WHY DO YOU HATE LOGIC?”]
  • Gina Cooper – Netroots Nation [A self-fisking entry if ever there were one]
  • Jane Hamsher – [“If you are shrill and trite enough, you can make a difference”]
  • Jeff Cohen Park  – Center for Independent Media
  • Jefferson Morley –  Center for Independent Media [ I wonder if Mr. Soros makes these guys share a room with Duncan Black and the Minnesota Monitor people?]

…and on, and on, and on…

Never were so many gathered to talk so much about changing so little.

That Elusive Discussion

Gavin Sullivan has been trying to ask CD3 GOP Congressional candidate Erik Paulsen some questions.  The discussion, for whatever reason, isn’t going well; Sullivan isn’t getting answers, Paulsen isn’t talking to him, Sullivan carries on an escalating campaign to get the answers, Paulsen doesn’t play along, Sullivan posts Paulsen’s home address on his blog, charges are made that Sullivan is “stalking” Paulsen, it’s noted that Paulsen’s site also has the home address…

…in  other words, a typical day in the Twin Cities blogosphere.

Let’s come back to that fracas in a moment here.  Because Gavin turns the flap into a question that strikes close to home:

A hypothetical: Let’s say I’m your longtime DFL state representative and I’m the endorsed DFL candidate for US Congress in CD3. Let’s say you’re a conservative blogger who resides near me, in the same legislative district. You start emailing questions; I don’t reply. You include my staffers’ email addresses; you still don’t get any reply. You find that whether you ask a policy question or you simply ask me to confirm biographical data, I refuse any interaction with you whatsoever. Eventually, you corner me in a public setting and ask me why I won’t answer your emails; I tell you I refuse to respond because I believe you’re insincere.

Hypothetical?  Sez who?

I’ve gotten the same thing from my city council president, my Congressional representative, Rep. Ellison, one of my Senators – and gotten nothing.  Not even the courtesy of a “f**k off, you hatemongering conservative”.  The reason…

…well, none of them ever gave a reason, but the peanut gallery pointed to my “credibility” (absurdly so; the Northern Alliance is honest about its biases, unlike most of the Twin Cities media) and worries that I’d “ambush” the politicians (a baseless worry – and a hypocritical one at that, since the same people criticize Rep. Bachmann for citing the same reasons for avoiding the partisan local media).

So no, Gavin, there’s nothing hypothetical about your scenario.  Even among my local representation – while Senator Anderson (DFL-SD66) is quite conscientious about her constituent relations, so as much as I criticize her politics, I admire her for that, at least.   Rep. Hausmann (DFL-66B) can’t be bothered; she’s too busy pretending to be an engineer.

So as to Rep. Paulsen avoiding Mr. Sullivan’s blog?  I don’t know; I’d like to get Paulsen’s take on things.

Well, That’s A First

You’ve no doubt noticed – my NARN colleague Michael Brodkorb’s role in derailing the Al Franken senate campaign made it to the Sunday New York Times.

The Times’ writer, Monica Davey, made what seemed to be a game effort at conveying the Minnesota political blog scene, including a half-hour interview with me a few weeks ago that covered primarily the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers and, of course, True North, my other blog.  She seemed genuinely curious – and, within the constraints of space, did a decent job of getting at least some of the basics across.

The good news?  I got into the Times.

The bad news?  From our half-hour conversation, this was the quote she ran:

“We’ve kind of got a center of gravity going on up here,” said M\
itch Berg, one in a group that started a “True North” Web site in 2007.

“…going on up here?”

Oy.  Good thing I didn’t say “Ja, sure, you betcha”, too.

Anyway – Kudos, Michael!

And Scott Johnson gives some of the anti-climactic background to the whole NARN saga…

Peggy Lee

Scott Johnson notes that yesterday was the 88th anniversary of the birth of Peggy Lee, in Jamestown,ND.

She was a musician’s musician. Think, for example, of her terrific duets with Bing Crosby and Mel Torme. or of Paul McCartney proudly contributing the title track to Lee’s 1974 “Let’s Love.” Listening to her music today, one is struck by how far she could go on her innate sense of swing and pure taste. For a heartfelt contemporary tribute to her, check out the beautiful “Fever” by the Twin Cities’ own Connie Evingson. Last week Will Friedwald found Peggy Lee “All aglow again.”

Lee’s music oozes with sultry intimacy, but Lee had a sense of herself as something of a Gatsbyesque self-creation. Reader Bob Dodd reminds us of the story in which she was going up in a hotel elevator to put on her make-up, stage clothes and jewelry for a show. A woman stared at her and finally asked, “Are you Peggy Lee?” She replied straightforwardly, “No, not yet.”

Lee’s family lived a block from my father’s house, along mainstreet in Jamestown, across from the town’s Catholic church; the house was a kindergarten when I was a kid, and was torn down when I was in junior high to make way for a car lot.

She took a shot at Hollywood first, and then latched on at WDAY in Fargo, hired by manager Ken Kennedy (who I remember on WDAY TV when I was a kid), and thence to Minneapolis, Chicago and finally LA, where she got her big break:

It was at the Doll House in Palm Springs, California that Peggy Lee first developed the soft and “cool” style that has become her trademark. Unable to shout above the clamor of the Doll House audience, Miss Lee tried to snare its attention by lowering her voice. The softer she sang the quieter the audience became. She has never forgotten the secret, and it has given her style its distinctive combination of the delicate and the driving, the husky and the purringly seductive. One of the members of the Doll House audience was Frank Bering, the owner of Chicago’s Ambassador West Hotel, who invited her to sing in his establishment’s Buttery Room.

Benny Goodman discovered Peggy Lee’s vocalizing in the Buttery Room at a time when he was looking for a replacement for Helen Forrest. Miss Lee joined Goodman’s band in July, 1941, when the band was at the height of its popularity, and for over two years she toured the United States with the most famous swing outfit of the day, playing hotel engagements, college proms, theater dates, and radio programs.

I’m gonna have to hit ITunes sooner than later.