Democrats Can Be Sneaky

…but sometimes they’re just stupid.

Nancy Pelosi gave up on the condoms today, but stimuless dollars for ACORN?

Seriously?!

Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that ACORN, the low-income advocacy group under investigation for voter registration fraud, could be eligible for billions in aid from the economic stimulus proposal working its way through the House.

House Republican Leader John Boehner issued a statement over the weekend noting that the stimulus bill wending its way through Congress provides $4.19 billion for “neighborhood stabilization activities.”

…probably won’t make it through the Senate, but come on.

Weasels.

Time For Those “Direct Talks”

Iran will have a nuke this year, says the IISS:

Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) predicts.

 The think tank’s Mark Fitzpatrick made the announcement at today’s launch of its annual global review of military powers.

During 2009, Iran will probably reach the point at which it has produced the amount of low-enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb.

So was Biden right?  Is President HopeandChange being tested? 

Why would he be tested?  Isn’t the world supposed to like us now?

Obama’s Gathering Fascism

Obama’s wants to do to American conservatism with Rumsfeld tried to do to Iraqi Ba’athism; cut off its head using.

After picking a public fight with Rush Limbaugh, the White House is now begun to actively move to censor conservative talk radio:

The White House is promising new reviews of the “obligations” to the government by broadcasters who “occupy the nation’s spectrum” just as the president has targeted conservative talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh for a public attack, raising concerns over the possible restoration of the “Fairness Doctrine,” a policy that failed as unneeded and unconstitutional two decades ago.

Paul Ibrahim of NorthStarWriters.com cited Obama’s warning to congressional Republicans that “you can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done” in suggesting the president has become the “driving force” because a new “systematic” plan to “intimidate and demonize Obama’s opponents.”

Prediction:  Obama will declare the nation “hopes” for censorship to “change” the political landscape.

That such a campaign was launched only days after Obama’s inauguration is “tremendously perturbing,” he wrote.

“Welcome to the politics of hope ‘n’ change. Obama’s startling attempt to hang Limbaugh’s scalp on the wall is a warning that the new ruler does not want unity – he demands it,” Ibrahim wrote.

Question, all you lefties out there:  feeling “chilled” yet?

And when I asked you yesterday if “dissent was still patriotic” – how many of you and your friends have used the phrase “Rush Limbaugh is unamerican” in the past week?

Wouldn’t Be Prudent

There are two ways to react to financial crisis:

  1. Like I suspect people like my Norwegian grandma reacted to things like the depression; by trimming the fat, by spending even less than normal, by developing new ways to be frugal.
  2. Like someone who thinks their Gold Card is never going to max out.

Bartel Schmidt at Truth about Cars compares GM and Toyota’s responses to the financial crisis:

General Motors hasn’t made money on its core auto business since 2004 – and did nothing. Same cars, same talk, same mismanagement. GM is in the government’s intensive care, hangs on a the tax payer’s money drip, and still hasn’t changed.

Contrast that to Toyota. Toyota will announce its first operating loss in its history – approx $1.6b, less than GM’s monthly cash burn – and Toyota went to battle stations months before the announcement.

And that involves choices much tougher than “Do I take my corporate jet to DC to beg for a bailout, or do I take a Caddy?”

While GM was betting on SUVs and available credit, Toyota aims to take the lead in the industry by introducing not only the most environmentally friendly cars but also budget vehicles for emerging countries and (yes) slick models that can spark young people’s interest in cars.

While GM was fleecing its suppliers and even drove its own Delphi into bankruptcy, Toyota is worried about the health of its suppliers. Toyota has conducted an emergency poll of around 50 parts suppliers, to grasp their fundraising situations. The upshot is that their financial health is rapidly worsening. “We will possibly need to help them secure necessary funds,” said Senior Managing Director Atsushi Niimi, who is in charge of procurement.

While GM coddled the UAW, Toyota slashed most temporary workers, and may let unionized workers go also.

The results?

Toyota officially replaced General Motors Corp. as the world’s No. 1 automaker in 2008. At Toyota, this is already regarded as an embarrassing non-event. Everybody knows that the reason is GM’s poor performance, rather than Toyota’s strong results. There were no celebrations at Toyota.

I think everyone’s frugal, pragmatic Norwegian grandma would approve.
(Via Peg Kaplan)

Our New Passive-Aggressive Majority

Strap yourselves in, Republicans across America.  You’ll get to live life the way we lived it here in Minnesota for decades; liberal supermajorities who believe your earnings belong to government first and foremost, backed by a media establishment that portrays dissent as one degree of depravity or another.  Oh, and about the portrayal of Republicans – remember how for the past eight years Chuck Hagel got more mic time than the rest of the GOP caucus put together?  Two words for ya; Lori Sturdevant.
Worse?  The alternatives that the opposition provides will disappear down the memory hole – or at least they will as far as the mainstream media is concerned.

Of course, we have an alternative media now (until Congress or the Administration sneak the “Fairness” Doctrine back in the door).  And the truth will be there somewhere.

Last Saturday, I talked with Michele Bachmann’s New Media director Dave Dziok.  He’s behind a new project – The Majority Tracker, which aims to drop a videocam down the memory hole.

What is the GOP doing?  Well, you’ll find out there.

Buy Low

When the price of something drops, sales eventually rise.

Whether that item is big…

Resales of single-family homes increased 7 percent to an annual rate of 4.26 million. Sales of condos and co-ops rose 2.1 percent to a 480,000 rate.

The rebound last month was led by a distressed-property related jump in the West, including California, Nevada and Arizona, the NAR said. Sales of distressed properties accounted for about 45 percent of all sales last month.

Home sales have been falling since 2005 and prices peaked in 2006. Property values are down by about 23 percent, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index covering 20 metropolitan areas.

…or small:

US fast-food giant McDonald’s said Monday its 2008 net profit soared 80 percent from a year, lifted by growing demand from consumers seeking low-cost meals in a deepening global recession.Net profit for the full year totaled 4.3 billion dollars, compared with 2.3 billion in 2007, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said in a statement.

World War II wasn’t won with a bunch of Dunkirks, and an economic recovery won’t be built on 99 cent cheeseburgers or fire-sales of foreclosed homes.

Still, down markets are not just a time for “creative destruction”; they are a good time to hatch new plans.  On NPR’s “Marketplace” a few weeks ago, it was noted that much of the hiring in IT in Silicon Valley is coming from small startups.  Down markets are a great time to be in startups; if nobody is making money, they there’s less pressure to turn an immediate profit, which makes the inevitably-lean gestation period for a startup a little more bearable than when the Joneses you’re keeping up with are lighting their cigars with $100 bills.

I Knew There Was A Reason I Liked Her

Her fellow New York Democrats don’t like Senator Gillibrand:

Gillibrand, the newly appointed junior senator from New York, has never been shy about her political ambitions — or her willingness to vault over older, more experienced politicians.That aggressiveness and self-confidence has endeared her to the powerful politicians who share her impatience to get ahead — including Hillary Clinton, whose seat she’ll take; David Paterson, who appointed her to it; and Chuck Schumer, who’ll be the senior senator to her junior.

But many of those who know Gillibrand best — Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation — weren’t exactly high-fiving over the pick, and not just because several wanted the job themselves.

“Nobody really likes her,” sniped one New York City-area member, speaking on condition of anonymity.
She’s smart and capable, but she’s rubbed people the wrong the way,” said another.

“I think she’s going to get a serious primary in 2010,” opined a longtime state Democratic operative who supports Gillibrand.

Many members of the state’s congressional delegation skipped Gillibrand’s announcement in Albany, mostly citing other commitments.

And one notable absentee was sending a message: Pro-gun-control Long Island Rep. Carolyn McCarthy says she’ll run against Gillibrand to protest the new senator’s pro-gun record and perfect NRA rating.

Pro-gun?  Perfect NRA score?

I might just peel off a $20 to support her myself.

As Long As They Don’t Get Behind the Wheel, I’m Fine With That

I enjoy Glenfiddich 12-year-old Scotch and almost any Red Wine, but have often wondered how mankind discovered alcohol.

Did Cro-Magnon man have a little still in his cave? Was it the social lubricant that it is today? Having invented the wheel and alcohol, did early man anticipate the trouble the two would cause generations later when used together?

We may never know the answers to these vexing questions, but it appears the imbibing of fermented fruits and grains is a natural thing.

A large variety of creatures consume alcohol in the wild, ranging from bumble-bees to elephants. Hooch finds its way into their diets via the fermenting fruit, sap and nectar of various plants, and many exhibit signs of inebriation after they’ve enjoyed a good feed. Their weakness for the substance au naturel is understandable: ethanol is a rich food, with 75 percent more calories than refined sugar, and its distinctive aroma makes it easy to locate. This natural thirst has been exploited by man since the dawn of history. Aristotle noted that wild monkeys were caught by setting out jars of palm wine — the creatures would drink, then pass out, leaving them easy prey. The same method of trapping was still in use in the 19th century and commented on by Darwin in the opening chapter of “The Descent of Man,” when drawing similarities between humanity and the rest of creation. Monkeys could get drunk like men. They also got hangovers: “On the following morning they were very cross and dismal; they held their aching heads with both hands, and wore a most pitiable expression: when beer or wine was offered them, they turned away with disgust, but relished the juice of lemons.”

Interestingly, a few species of mammals including the slow loris and the pentailed treeshrew (with which we share a common ancestor) not only have a predilection for alcohol but also a natural tolerance. When the latter species find an especially rich batch of fermented palm nectar in their native Malaysian rainforests, they’ll visit it several times each night and consume the equivalent, in human terms, of nine standard drinks, without any evident deterioration in their behavior. Perhaps we drank deep before we were fully human?

Well, isn’t the pentailed treeshrew a lucky bird. Modern man, after “drinking deep” is usually not so fortunate.

The propensity of a variety of domesticated animals to drink is well documented. Clearly, it’s cruel to force alcohol on them — tantamount to poisoning them: Mad Jack Mytton killed one of his horses when he made it bumper a bottle of port after it had won a race. However, some, including dogs, goats, cows, and pigs, develop a taste for it on their own. Aristotle noted that Greek swine became inebriated “when they were filled with the husks of pressed grapes.” A similar phenomena was common in colonial-era New England, where cider production and consumption, in per capita terms, were colossal, and where hogs were fed on windfalls and pomace (the pulp from the bottom of the cider press) both of which ferment. Their subsequent inebriation was often a matter of comment, and may have been the inspiration for the term “hog-whimpering drunk.”

I hadn’t heard that term, but it does explain the more common “drunk as a pentailed treeshrew.”

Someday I’ll Be Undersecretary Of Guitar

Democracy can only survive until people discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury:

We wanted to make sure arts were not left out of the recovery,” said Robert L. Lynch, president of Americans for the Arts, a national lobbying group. “The artist’s paycheck is every bit as important as the steelworker’s paycheck or the autoworker’s paycheck.”

To the artist?  Perhaps.

As a “public good” – the sort of thing the government is supposed to concern itself with?  They should be equally unimportant.

For the moment eyes are largely turned to the National Endowment for the Arts. Dana Gioia, the outgoing chairman, officially stepped down on Inauguration Day and President Obama has not yet named his successor.

In Congress the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill, approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee, includes a $50 million supplement for the N.E.A. to distribute directly to nonprofit arts organizations and also through state and local arts agencies.

The bill is expected to go to the full House for a vote on Wednesday before proceeding to the Senate. It could reach the president’s desk as early as mid-February, an N.E.A. spokeswoman said.

They’re pushing for a cabinet-level  “Secretary of Culture” post.  Orwellian overtones aside, sure – why not do all the wonderful things for arts that having a Secretary and an Executive-branch bureaucracy has done for Education, Housing and Energy?

Let The Celebration Begin

It’s a season of celebrations; Christmas, Chanukkah, Eid, Solstice, New Years, the Saint Paul Winter Carnival…

…and, to wrap up the season of celebrations, Reagan’s Birthday is coming up in a mere 12 days.

And to commemorate this solemn yet happy day, Shot In The Dark presents a special artistic achievement over the next 12 days.  Suitable for a National Endowment for the Arts genius grant, it is nonetheless being done entirely on the free market.

Tune back at noonish.

Any Day Now

If stories like this WaPo mash note

Soon after the November election, al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader took stock of America’s new president-elect and dismissed him with an insulting epithet. “A house Negro,” Ayman al-Zawahiri said…The torrent of hateful words is part of what terrorism experts now believe is a deliberate, even desperate, propaganda campaign against a president who appears to have gotten under al-Qaeda’s skin. The departure of George W. Bush deprived al-Qaeda of a polarizing American leader who reliably drove recruits and donations to the terrorist group.

…are true, then stories like this

 The Taliban have conducted a wave of targeted assassinations against tribal leaders and politicians in Swat. Local, provincial and federal politicians have fled their homes after the Taliban conducted attacks against their homes and murdered their families. Most recently, the leader of a tribal group opposed to the Taliban was murdered and his body was descecrated as a warning to others.

Pakistani forces have been fighting forces aligned with Fazlullah, a radical cleric of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM – the Movement for the Implementation of Mohammad’s Sharia Law) for almost two years.

…should be disappearing from the face of the earth presently.

If Bush “radicalized” Moslems and “caused them to flock to Al Quaeda”, then Obama – the anti-Bush – must perforce reverse the trend. 

Right?

700 Billion Condoms

Nancy Pelosi: make birth control part of the stimulus:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic “stimulus” package, claiming “contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

By that logic, think how much money we’d save if we “aborted” everyone on welfare!

I suppose it’s patriotic – just like paying more taxes…
No, really – birth control won’t be necessary for this particular stimulus, since we’re all getting [indelicate sex-act and anatomical reference redacted for propriety's sake]

In Case You Never Knew

Blockbuster is selling a DVD about the life and times of..Barack Obama.

Con1 at Conservative Oasis comments:

This man just won one of the most historic elections of our Nation’s history, and we have a video on the impulse buying section of Blockbuster, with a complete educational history of “who the hell you just voted for, you damn fools…” And yes, what a perfect place for it to sit, right where people who do things on impulse, will do so again.

He’s just gotten into office, and not done really a damn thing of import, except get elected on a magic carpet ride of MSM ass kissing, softballs, and starry eyed sympathy from a voting block infused with hope driven children, and attention starved minorities.

And, all for .99 cents. A fair price, me thinks, for such a story of really, just about nothing to holler about, yet.

We’ve finally turned into the pop culture we feared we would be. We’ve American Idoled ourselves a new President, voting off the island the true survivors, the real qualified candidates, all because we “liked” the other guy more. The underdog.

The vid is 99 cents, by the way.  I’m tempted to grab one, just for comparison purposes in four years.

Oh, and if you can’t make it to a DVD player, and have $50 to spare?

You can carry your little red blue book with you!

Includes themes of democracy, politics, war, terrorism, race, community, jurisprudence, faith, personal responsibility, national identity, and above all, his hoped-for vision of a new America. POCKET OBAMA is a portable, everyday primer for readers who want to examine the substance of his thought and reflect on the next great chapter in the American story.

Be ready for the Great Change Forward!

Pair Of Docks

The local chattering classes are tittering merrily; the guy who rammed his “SUV” (or was it a pickup truck?) into Saint Paul’s Baby Meat Mill Planned Parenthood Clinic was “mentally ill”:

Stop the murderers,” Matthew L. Derosia quoted Jesus as telling him, a criminal complaint said.Derosia, 32, who has a history of mental illness, faces two counts of first-degree criminal damage to property.

This blog does not endorse physical violence to curb infanticide.  Why, had Derosia driven a bigger truck, the clinic might have been put out of action even longer.  Why, who knows?  Someone – say, the next person Jesus talks to – might drive a bulldozer or a tank.  That’d really cause problems, wouldn’t it?

Still, I think it’s interesting;  Planned Parenthood represents a movement that believes the only thing separating “life” and “unviability” is a four-inch trip down the birth canal – but we call Derosia “mentally ill”.

What’s Wrong With The Parking Meter?

Today, the Northern Alliance Radio Network brings you the best in Minnesota conservatism from 11AM-5PM:   

  • Volume I “The First Team” – Some combination of Brian, Chad and John kick off from 11-1.
  • Volume II “The Headliner”Ed is out sick, so I’ll be flying solo today from 1-3.  We’ll be talking Inauguration – and the loopiness of too many of “Barack’s” supporters.  Plus I’ll be talking with Dave Dziok, Michele Bachmann’s press guy, about her new blog, changes in her office, and Rep. Bachmann’s growing national prominence.
  • Volume III, “The Final Word”King will be dishing the economic smack.

So tune in to all six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, the Twin Cities’ media’s sole guardians of sanity. You have so many options:

  • AM1280 in the Metro
  • streaming at AM1280’s Website,
  • On Twitter (the Volume 2 show will use hashtag #narn2)
  • UStream video and chat (via Hotair.com or here) – Er, not today.  Ed’s got the camera.  Getting a “show” webcam might be something to discuss at our next (also first) budget meeting. 
  • Podcast at Townhall (usually uploaded by Monday morning).
  • Good ol’ telephone – 651-289-4488!

Plus the David Strom show from 9-11!
(Title courtesy Mr. Dolby)

Orwell Was Right

It’s a short step from this to, well, Duckspeak:

What’s Dusty Trice been doing since he stopped working for Al Franken’s campaign? Trying to teach his pit bull, Zoey, to say “Obama.”

The scary part?  The dog doesn’t understand much less about Obama’s experience or agenda than an awful lot of the President’s supporters do…

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today, Part CXVII

It was Monday, January 23, 1989.

I woke up on Mark and Bill’s couch, and drove to Northeast Minneapolis.

I hadn’t spent much time up there in the three years I’d lived in the Twin Cities – really, other than watching the occasional band at the occasional bar on Hennepin or Central, I’d never had the occasion to go.  But I dug out my old map, and found the address – just a few blocks off Central, near 34th and Johnson.

The owner - actually owners, a late twentysomething guy and his older brother – and I hit it off perfectly.  He needed a renter now, and I need a place now.  Better, as we talked, we discovered that we had a ton of common acquaintances; they both worked with my old roommate Liz and her boyfriend.

The place was perfect for me – almost the stuff of single-guy dreams.  It was the entire upstairs of a small house; I had a private entrance, a waffleplate stairway that led up the back of the house.  A nice-sized living room with a south exposure, a tiny (hence less-stuff-to-clean) kitchen with a 20 year old fridge and a beat-up gas stove, a cozy little paneled-wall bedroom, and – mirabile dictu – a bathroom of my very own, for the first time in my life.

They said I could have it; I drove directly to a bank branch over by Apache Plaza, grabbed the damage deposit and a month’s rent, and arranged to move in on Monday.

Life started looking up just a bit.

Death Of A Theory

A couple of seasons ago, I thought I’d pretty much figured out the formula behind Bravo’s lifestyle-reality shows – like Project Runway and Top Chef and a few other vastly less-interesting ones.  Each season, the final 3-4 contestants would be:

  1. The insufferably arrogant (often gay) guy:  Santino (Project Runway 2), Kevin (PR 3), Hung (Top Chef 3)
  2. The extremely talented guy:  Daniel Vosovich (PR2)
  3. The hot babe:  Casey Thompson (TC3), Jillian (PR4), Leah (PR5)

This season, Top Chef‘s producers must have read this blog and decided to change it up a bit.

Oh, some of the picks seem easy enough:  Stephan, the prickly, boundlessly arrogang German, seems a shoo-in for the arrogant guy title.  And Fabio the hilarious Italian and Jeff the cool, calculating Floridian seem like solid shots for the Mr. Competent slot.

But the Hot Babe title seems to be heading for a let-down – which is a double-shame, given the bumper-crop of fantasticality that the show stasrted with.  Of course, Lauren – the Army wife from Savannah – was the standout in the bodacity department, but she flamed out on Week 1; the other obvious frontrunner, Jill, got ejected in Week 2.  Things plateaued at a good level for several weeks – with the ever-so-cute Radhika and the very-hot-for-40 (hey, I’m 46, and you find looks where you can) Ariane holding out until mid-season.  But both the latter were ejected in consecutive weeks, right after the non-standout Melissa, leaving the show with only the plucky, overly-tattoed lipstick lesbian Jamie, the talented but bizarre Carla (who never seems to blink) and Leah, who seems to have survived primarily because the romantic tension with the cartoon-y Hosea has got to be like catnip to the producers.

So we’ll see.

As a consolation prize, it’s fun to see that Chicago’s greatest linguistic trait – the city’s natives’ facility and gusto at swearing – crosses ethnic lines; Radhika, a first-generation child of Indian immigrants,at a party for the ejected contesants,cusses with the joie de blasphématoire  of a second-generation Pole from Joliet or, perhaps, the governor.

(Not safe for audio at work…)

Let’s Get Courtney Love To Teach Charm School!

The State of Minnesota – with the able assistance of the teachers’ unions and a class of professional administrators more wedded to policy than education – has already ruined public education in much of Minnesota.

Why not gut the safe havens to which parents turn when the public system just doesn’t cut it?

The DFL tried to strangle charter schools in their crib when they were first founded.  Then, two years ago, they tried to cap the number of charters; since the GOP was still close in the Senate, the measure failed (since six DFLers with consciences joined every single Republican in voting to kill the cap.

Anyway – they’re baaaaack:

Big changes in the way the state’s 153 charter schools are monitored and regulated are likely to emerge from this year’s legislative session. If so, it would be the first time since 1991, when the state blazed a national trail by passing charter school legislation, that state lawmakers have overhauled the system in such a way.Minnesota’s charters, which serve 30,000 students, will probably face a future of tighter controls, more oversight and increased training for charter school teachers and governing boards.
So the charters can run…more like regular public schools?
Over the years, charter schools have been battered by problems with poor student performance, fiscal woes, conflicts of interest and charges of inappropriate mixing of public education and private religion.
As to “Student Performance” – many charter students (most, at many schools) are the ones that the public schools have spent years painstakingly training to hate learning (but whose parents still care enough to try).  Charters schools have to take all comers (subject to capacity), and don’t have an “ALC” or huge special ed programs to shunt off the low-performers to tweak their statistics.As to the “Fiscal woes”, I’d love to see any public school survive financially under the restrictions charters live under.
“The public is questioning how the schools are operating,” said Kathy Saltzman, DFL-Woodbury, and chairwoman of the Senate charter schools working group. “And there are some charter schools that aren’t working.”
Since we’re on the topic of “public questioning”,Rep. Salzman – have you noticed how many parents are questioning the public system…with their feet? One in eight Saint Paul parents have left the system? And even more in Minneapolis? They’re asking questions with their feet.They’re asking about graduation rates, which are flirting with 50-50, and are well below half for minority students.  And that number – barring the odd fluctuation – has been trending down for as long as fixing it has been a putative priority.

So yes.  By all means, let’s attack charter schools.

Why, if I didn’t know better, I’d think it’s because the educational-industrial complex is nervous about the challenge that school choice provides…:

Legislators are likely to propose freezing the number of new charters. In part, that’s in response to criticism that charters suck students, and the state money that comes with them, out of the regular schools.

Wow.  Didn’t see that coming.