Tuesday, February 28, 2006

AI - Gals Top 10

Graded based on this evenings performance:

A = Mandisa was spot on tonight. Major improvement from last week.
A- = Ayla continued her powerful performances
A- = Katharine slipped a little from last week, but still up there
B = Lisa was a bit awkward at the start but finished strong
B = Paris was a bit out of character, but still nailed it
B- = Kellie was much better this week, but still lacking the talent of the upper tier
B- = Melissa was pretty good, but not Top 6 this week
C+ = Heather Plain, average, Not bad, just not Idol material
C = Kinnik No WOW at all. More karaoke
C- = Brenna simply stale. Definitely out of place in a vocal competition

Current Top 6 prediction:
Locks: Katherine, Lisa, Paris, Kellie
Almost: Mandisa, Ayla
Bubble: Melissa


Dems lead Kennedy

The GOPs favorite Right leaning pollster shows Kennedy behind against BOTH contenders for the nomination. It wasn't that long ago that Ford Bell was merely a footnote in this race. But a 7 point jump in the prior Rasmussen number crunching now puts him ahead of the sitting congressman.:
February 28, 2006--Since last month, support for Democrat Ford Bell has jumped 7 points in a match-up with Republican Mark Kennedy. He now leads Kennedy 43% to 40%. In the Rasmussen Reports January poll, Kennedy led Bell 41% to 36%.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar also gained ground, but only a couple points. She now leads Kennedy 45% to 42%. Last month the two were neck-and-neck (see crosstabs).

Klobuchar does a little better than Bell among unaffiliated voters and moderates.
There is still a lot of campaigning to do, but the optimistic Kennedy camp must be concerned if a former no name like Bell is now polling/pulling ahead.


bin Laden Elects Bush

No wonder the President isn't all that interested in capturing bin Laden, he was his #1 supporter in the last election:
Bush: Bin Laden helped me, book says


AI Week #1 - Timeshift version

Today begins week #2 of the elimination phase of Idol as they whittle the group of 24 to the top 12. The Olympics deterred me from watching live last week, so I TIVOd and watched the girls and guys back to back over the weekend. I scored each person on a 10 scale and used decimals to rank those within each number.

Here we go with last weeks take.


9.90 Taylor - My favorite from the auditions
9.85 Gedeon - Cocky without the attitude. I like him
9.80 Ace
9.75 Chris
9.50 Elliot
9.20 David - needs to be himself and he'll be fine
= = = = = = = =
8.75 Bucky He's close but has something to prove to crack top 6
8.25 Kevin - Loveable, likable, but not in the same league as the others
8.125 Will
8.00 Bobby - I liked Bobby, another year he would be higher
7.50 Patrick - Sorry, Mom, Patrick was out of place
6.50 Sway - I didn't like the pitchy squeaky falsetto stuff

-------- --------- ----------


9.75 Katherine - Not who I would have thought would be sitting here
9.50 Paris - May not have the endurance for this competition
9.25 Lisa - Great voice
9.125 Ayala - Even tho a shaky performance, she is clearly one of the top vocalists
8.75 Kinnick
8.25 Kellie - Overhyped, sweet gal and all, but just not amongst the top.
8.00 Melissa
7.75 Mandisa - She is probably here cause of her early performnce slot
7.25 Heather
7.00 Beckie
6.0 Stevie - Wrong Competition for her, very talented
5.75 Brenna - Annoying, can't wait till she's gone, and she isn't even very good


If I rank them all be score you get this:

9.90 Taylor
9.85 Gedeon
9.80 Ace
9.75 Katherine
9.75 Chris
9.50 Elliot
9.50 Paris
9.25 Lisa
9.20 David
9.125 Ayala
8.75 Kinnick
8.75 Bucky

8.25 Kellie
8.25 Kevin
8.125 Will
8.00 Bobby
8.00 Melissa
7.75 Mandisa
7.50 Patrick
7.25 Heather
7.00 Beckie
6.50 Sway
6.0 Stevie
5.75 Brenna

But since they are taking 6 and 6, Bucky gets bumped to make room for
Kellie Pickler.

Once I watched the performances, it was off to the reveal show. I was close in my rankings in that my 10 and 11 from each list were eliminated (Stevie and Beckie, Patrick and Bobby are no more)

More timely reviews now that the Olympics are over.


Monday, February 27, 2006

McCloud Makes Three

The 'it happens in threes' meme is complete. We have lost three great ones recently.

Don Knotts, Darren McGavin, and now Dennis Weaver.


Docking at Port Miers

OK, bare with me. Are these 'out of touch' decisions being made by the administration (think Harriet Miers and the UAE Port transfers) part of a meticulous plan by the Rovian machine to provide cover for GOP candidates in the mid terms. I mean, what have we been hearing most during the early stages of this elections cycle. The Left has shown their hand and will tie everything they can to the Administration, and the loyalty the Republican candidates have towards this President. It is clear that with President Bush's approvals still tanking in the mid/low 40s (43% as of yesterday), he will be no asset to a GOP candidate.

Will we see a few other controversial issues that on the surface will cause us pause in saying 'What the heck is he doing', only to see the GOP candidates criticize the administration and distance themselves from these decisions. They will build up a handful of issues that they can tout as a sign of independence, while they shake the 'lap dog' meme that the Dems will push all season.

The Right is very cunning, and the Left should realize that anything their opponents do is not a mistake, but a calculated plan to allow for their candidates to release themselves from the grip of a lame duck administration.

Think about that while you sip your morning caffeine.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Taking One For the Team

The Moderate Voice points out how the President is slipping again. They use the Right's favorite right of center pollster Rasmussen's numbers:
February 24, 2006--Just 17% of Americans believe Dubai Ports World should be allowed to purchase operating rights to several U.S. ports. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that 64% disagree and believe the sale should not be allowed (see crosstabs).

Just 39% of Americans know that the operating rights are currently owned by a foreign firm. Fifteen percent (15%) believe the operating rights are U.S. owned while 46% are not sure.

From a political perspective, President Bush's national security credentials have clearly been tarnished due to the outcry over this issue. For the first time ever, Americans have a slight preference for Democrats in Congress over the President on national security issues. Forty-three percent (43%) say they trust the Democrats more on this issue today while 41% prefer the President.
MV's Gandelman comments:
But this means GOPers will likely continue to keep a distance from the White House on this issue, unless polls show the public cooling down. The delay in the deal will give the company and White House more time to explain what the deal means and what security measures will be in place. At the same time, the deal likely means there could be some more unflattering news stories coming out about the deal, or how it was approved, etc. Both Congress and the press now have more time to scrutinize what it means.
The President's approval rating is also taking a hit. After knocking on, but failing to reach, the 50% mark just a few weeks ago, he is now back in the low 40s:
Forty-four percent (44%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-four percent (54%) disapprove.
I don't suspect these numbers will rebound anytime soon. But don't count out the Rovian machines ability to deflect this setback with a plan of their own.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pimping the Good News!

While Doug and I battle it out in a thread below, I hope he understands where my skepticism comes from. Let's look at this article I stumbled on.:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday he was mistaken when he stated last week that the U.S. military had stopped paying Iraqi newspapers to publish pro-American articles.

Rumsfeld had said in a television interview on Friday that the U.S. military had ceased paying to place positive stories in Iraqi media after criticism in the U.S. Congress and press. Rumsfeld made similar comments the same day to the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I just misstated the facts," Rumsfeld told a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday.
So not only were we paying to have Pro American articles published, we were telling people we weren't. When caught, again, Rummy spins with "I just misstated the facts". Should we be shocked?! How many other facts has he misstated along the way.

Yet another of many examples of why one should pause anytime someone from within this administration opens their mouth, and that includes their surrogates like PfA.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Puppy Power

Meet Kurly:

He's a playful one:

Dear IRS:

From my Inbox:
Dear Internal Revenue Service:

Enclosed you will find my 2005 tax return showing that I owe $3,407.00 in taxes. Please note the attached article from the USA Today newspaper; dated 12 November, wherein you will see the Pentagon (Department of Defense) is paying $171.50 per hammer and NASA has paid $600.00 per toilet seat.

I am enclosing four (4) toilet seats (valued @ $2,400) and six (6) hammers valued @ $1,029), which I secured at Home Depot, bringing my total remittance to $3,429.00. Please apply the overpayment of $22.00 to the "Presidential Election Fund," as noted on my return. You can do this inexpensively by sending them one (1) 1.5" Phillips Head screw (see aforementioned article from USA Today newspaper detailing how H.U.D. pays $22.00 each for 1.5" Phillips Head Screws). One screw is enclosed for your convenience.

It has been a pleasure to pay my tax bill this year, and I look forward to paying it again next year.


A Satisfied Taxpayer

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Step Parent Myth

My son is a Marine, my stepson for those who haven't been paying attention. I have never attempted to present my relationship with him as anything less then a shared responsibility. Anything other then that would be disingenuous. It would detract from others who have shared in his life up until now, including his other step dad and his birth father. Tom is fortunate enough to have three dads, and he loves them all equally.

The Right is all up in a fervor, because Nick Coleman had the gall to point out the true parentage of a fallen hero. But if step mom would have been honest about her relationship, there wouldn't have been anything to write about.

What IS interesting, is when you scroll around Freeper land and skim the comments about the rights of Step Parents to speak out. There are still those who are trying to perpetuate a long debunked rumor that Cindy Sheehan did not raise her son, Casey. Even a commenter at SitD mentions this:
Nick Coleman undermines his argument about an alleged "deception" by writing:"Folks who would do that kind of despicable thing are the folks who attacked Cindy Sheehan as a "tragedy pimp" and mocked her grief over the loss of her soldier son, Casey."

Should that be "her soldier STEP-son" or is that distinction only important when the (step-)parent supports the mission in Iraq.
Posted by Thorley Winston at February 20, 2006 12:05 PM
Surely you aren't accusing Nick Coleman of hypocrisy? He writes for a major newspaper, for gosh sakes.
Posted by Kermit at February 20, 2006 12:37 PM
I wasn’t commenting so much on hypocrisy as the apparent lack of fact-checking done for Nick Coleman’s columns particularly when it undermines a key part of his argument that this was somehow a “deception.”
Posted by Thorley Winston at February 20, 2006 01:09 PM
In fairness, there are those in Freeperville with enough intelligence to quell these onslaughts. But I found one comment most interesting:
I thought that was an urban legend from a change in guest anti-war mother on some talking head show. Sheehan bailed and the substitute turned out to be a phony.

22 posted on 02/03/2006 10:36:53 AM PST by RebelBanker
Who was the substitute the poster references. Wait for it . . . . . M.J. Kesterson.

I would never call Ms Kesterson a phony. She performed one of the most challenging tasks there is next to parenthood, and that is step parenthood. There are challenges very unique in rearing a child who is not of your blood, because they have no problem pointing it out when you are butting heads with them. I was merely pointing out the mind set of those on the Right, who continuously pick and choose what is right or wrong depending on the political breeze. I wonder if RebelBanker thinks Ms M. J. is a phony now.


Long Weekend

Nice long weekend. I was, however, distracted. We have a new addition to the family. A cockapoo puppy named 'Curly'. Needless to say, I played referee most of the weekend.

More later, and pictures of the pup tomorrow.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Anatomy of a Political Ad

An out of state political group puts together an Ad based on misleading representations.

The opposition gets into the mix to stop the ad from being aired.

The Echo Chamber starts pumping the meme, even using private E-Mails from private citizens (this has me so pissed off that I wrote my very first profanity ladened screed against the total lack of respect and decorum once again exhibited by MDE. Cool heads prevailed and I deleted it) sent to a private group leaked to them by internal informants.

The news media picks up on the confrontations and alerts the public to the ad, during the news cycle.

The ad maker now gets free air time and more exposure then their limited investment would have ever provided.

lather, rinse, repeat.

And if you still aren't convinced that this ad is nothing more then a bunch of misleading BS, then You are Dumb!

I've been a proponent of this war on terror since day one. It sickens me that the Right continues to use this War for pure political gain without any consideration for the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers. Ads like this, and the response that followed just proves to me that they think of these human beings as nothing more then pawns in their political game. I wish those in power would spend their energies securing Iraq, not letting it linger through another elections cycle so they can continue to promote fear! Soon this will hit even closer to home, once my son is deployed.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Is He or Isn't He?

Jeff questions the manliness of our Vice President:
'Twas the latest incident that really brought it home for me. Oh, the signs were there all along--he got five deferments during Vietnam, for God's sake, and while that's no sin if you're against the war, it's pretty shady if you're for it. (If I have to explain why, you're probably a pussy). Still, like many pussies, he covered himself in the vestments of manliness. He seems stoic to a fault, reticent even. He's allegedly loyal to his boss. Oh, he's able to snarl at an opponent now and then, but that's a typical manly fault.

But the shooting of Harry Whittington does more than tie Dick Cheney to historic pussy Aaron Burr. It throws into high relief the utter wimpiness of Cheney.
You really need to read the whole thing.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blown Opportunities?

The withdrawal of Paul Hackett from the Ohio US Senate race has reminded me of my plea following Patty Wetterling's departure from the MN Senate race.

The Democratic party has a unique opportunity. If they remain aggresive, and stay united, the chances of re-taking the Senate and knocking on the door of the majority in the House is within grasp. But there are those under the big tent party that want it all. I do not want to imply we should ignore debate and not have spirited campaigning within the party. But if a candidate has become cream, and floated to the top, all should rally behind them. The party must not lose sight of the ultimate goal, which I would hope is returning to the majority. This can only be done by rallying around an electable, well financed, and strongly supported candidate

However emotions get involved, candidates feel slighted, supporters become disenfranchised, and the Right just cackles at their bumbling.

For the greatest enemy the Left has, is not the Right but it is those on the fringe of the Left itself. The 'pick up my toys and go home' mentality is what will prevent the Democratic Party from making far reaching gains in a political environment where the Right is prime for picking. If they blow this opportunity again. It may be a long time before a situation like this will present itself.

Keep the eye on the prize, folks. This may just be the last chance for quite sometime.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

That Thing They Do!

Those without a sense of humor can move along, nothing to see here:
"The Late Show With David Letterman" (CBS)

"Good news ladies and gentleman, we have finally located weapons of mass destruction … It's Dick Cheney."
* * *

"We can't get Bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney."
* * *

"Honestly, I don't know what all of the fuss is about. What's more American than shooting your hunting buddy in the ass?"
* * *

"The guy who got gunned down is a Republican lawyer and a big Republican donor and fortunately the buck shot was deflected by wads of laundered cash. So he's fine. He took a little in the wallet."
* * *

From "Cheney's Excuses," Monday night's Top 10 list: "I thought the guy was trying to go gay cowboy on me."

"The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" (Comedy Central)

A partial transcript:

Jon Stewart: "Yes, as you've just heard, a near-tragedy over the weekend in south Texas. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt at a political supporter's ranch. Making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting VP since Alexander Hamilton.

"Hamilton, of course, shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering. Whittington? Mistaken for a bird.
* * *

The other player in the drama? Ranch owner and eyewitness Katharine Armstrong.

Katharine Armstrong: "We were shooting a covey of quail. The vice president and two others got out of the car to walk up the covey."

Jon Stewart: "What kind of hunting story begins with getting out of your car? As I sighted the great beast before us, my shaking hands could barely engage the parking brake. Slowly, I turned off the A/C and silenced my sub-woofers…"
* * *

Katharine Armstrong: "A bird flushed. The vice president took aim at the bird and shot and unfortunately, Mr. Whittington was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty well."

Jon Stewart: "Peppered. There you have it. Harry Whittington, seasoned to within an inch of his life.
* * *

Jon Stewart: "I'm joined now by our own vice-presidential firearms mishap analyst, Rob Corddry. Rob, obviously a very unfortunate situation. How is the vice president handling it?

Rob Corddry: "Jon, tonight the vice president is standing by his decision to shoot Harry Wittington. According to the best intelligence available, there were quail hidden in the brush. Everyone believed at the time there were quail in the brush.

"And while the quail turned out to be a 78-year-old man, even knowing that today, Mr. Cheney insists he still would have shot Mr. Whittington in the face. He believes the world is a better place for his spreading buckshot throughout the entire region of Mr. Whittington's face."

Jon Stewart: "But why, Rob? If he had known Mr. Whittington was not a bird, why would he still have shot him?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, in a post-9-11 world, the American people expect their leaders to be decisive. To not have shot his friend in the face would have sent a message to the quail that America is weak."

Jon Stewart: "That's horrible."

Rob Corddry: "Look, the mere fact that we're even talking about how the vice president drives up with his rich friends in cars to shoot farm-raised wingless quail-tards is letting the quail know 'how' we're hunting them. I'm sure right now those birds are laughing at us in that little 'covey' of theirs.

Jon Stewart: "I'm not sure birds can laugh, Rob."

Rob Corddry: "Well, whatever it is they do … coo .. they're cooing at us right now, Jon, because here we are talking openly about our plans to hunt them. Jig is up. Quails one, America zero.

Jon Stewart: "Okay, well, on a purely human level, is the vice president at least sorry?"

Rob Corddry: "Jon, what difference does it make? The bullets are already in this man's face. Let's move forward across party lines as a people … to get him some sort of mask."

"Jimmy Kimmel Live" (ABC)

Among the jokes in consideration for Monday's telecast:

"It's part of the president's new Social Security plan. Once you hit 78, kablamo."
* * *

"Luckily, the guy he shot was wearing the body armor that never got shipped to the troops."
* * *

"You know what they say, if Dick Cheney comes out of his hole and shoots an old man in the face, 6 more weeks of winter."

"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC)

"Although it is beautiful here in California, the weather back East has been atrocious. There was so much snow in Washington, D.C. Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fat guy thinking it was a polar bear."
* * *

"When people found out he shot a lawyer his popularity is now at 92%"
* * *

"After he shot the guy, he screamed, 'Anyone else want to call domestic wire tapping illegal?' "
* * *

"Something I just found out today about the incident. Do you know that Dick Cheney tortured the guy for a half hour before he shot him?"
* * *

"Cheney's defense is that he was aiming at a quail when he shot the guy. Which means that Cheney now has the worst aim of anyone in the White House since Bill Clinton."

Monday, February 13, 2006

Spewing Coffee

Best Headline of the morning. Put your coffee down first.

"Cheney to Get Probed"


The 18 hour Gap

The late night comics will have a hey day with Cheney's hunting incident. Accidents happen, and while we would love to speculate how the Blogosphere, or even the main stream media, would have reacted if it were a high ranking Dem involved, especially Kerry, I'll leave that for their writers to sort out.

What is interesting to me, is 18 hours passed before news got out. In fact, there is speculation the Administration wanted no one to find out:
While E&P was first to raise questions about the delay Sunday afternoon, Frank James, reporter in the Chicago Tribune's Washington bureau, put his own spin on it later in the day, asking, "How is it that Vice President Cheney can shoot a man, albeit accidentally, on Saturday during a hunting trip and the American public not be informed of it until today?"

Indeed, others raised questions as well. "There was no immediate reason given as to why the incident wasn't reported until Sunday," the Dallas Morning News observed. "The sheriff's office in Kenedy County did not respond to phone calls Sunday."

The president, who was at the White House over the weekend, was informed about the incident in Texas after it happened Saturday by Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and was updated on Sunday, press secretary Scott McClellan said.

But neither the White House nor the vice president's staff announced the shooting. The Washington Post reported late Sunday that Cheney's office did not make a public announcement.

Asked by The New York Times why it did not make the news known, Cheney spokeswoman McBride said, "We deferred to the Armstrongs regarding what had taken place at their ranch."

Armstrong said later, according to The Associated Press, that everyone at the ranch was so "focused" on Whittington's health Saturday that it wasn't until Sunday she called the Caller-Times to report the accident.
I know, picking nits, but if it wasn't for the pattern of deception by this administration, it wouldn't bother me at all!

Jeff has more.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Pickin' Cherries v2006

. . . or, Kennedy voted against it, before he voted for it!

Wednesday the 'Echo Chamber' got all up in a tizzy over a claim Amy Klobuchar made in a recent debate. It started with MDE posting a copy/paste of the Kennedy Kamp's version entitled:
"Amy Klobuchar's Truth Problem
Launches False Attack on Kennedy's Pro-Law Enforcement Record"

KvM picks up on it and calls Amy misleading. Mitch uses the L word.

But what is the truth, and what exactly did Amy say. Here is the disputed quote:
"Congressman Ramstad in two votes in the last two years tried to increase the COPS funding, and you didn't join the other Republicans that voted for that. You voted against the increase."
Bottom line, it's a true statement. I could have scoured the net to find the votes myself, but why bother. The Klobuchar campaign wouldn't throw out something like that without having their house in order. I E-Mailed them and asked. Here is what they shared:
Kennedy Opposed $100 Million Increase to Put More COPS On the Street. In 2005, Kennedy voted against an amendment to increase funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which helps police departments hire extra police officers or pay for overtime to keep more officers on the streets, by $100 million. The amendment also would have increased local justice assistance grants by $100 million, to be offset by a $200 million cut in NASA funding. [HR 2862, Vote #244, 6/14/05] Note: Rep. Ramstad was one of the 21 Republicans who voted for this funding.

Kennedy Opposed $106.9 Million Increase in COPS Funding. In 2004, Kennedy opposed a $106.9 million increase for law enforcement grants under COPS program. The Bush administration wanted to cut spending on the program from the current $482 million to $97 million. The amendment to increase funding was rejected 206-212. [HR 4754, Vote #330, 7/7/04; CQ Vote Report; Houston Chronicle, 2/3/04; New York Times, 5/25/04] Note: Rep. Ramstad was one of the 74 Republicans who voted for this funding.
I can understand the confusion. Kennedy did jump on board when it became politically appropriate for him. One might think that once he recognized that his likely opponent was going to be a prosecutor, he decided to do a little flip-pity flop. You remember the line "I voted for it, after I voted against it" ([Vote #248, 6/14/05; Vote #247, 6/14/05])

Those on the Right have set the standard for cherry picking votes. If they also want to draw the line regarding the definition of deception they better be careful. Once they set that bar, they should look within their own ranks, and see how it applies.

UPDATE: MN Publius and NorthStar Politics also point this out.

The Devil Made Me Do It

A Peek at the Libby Defense:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, told a grand jury he was "authorized by his superiors" to disclose classified information from an intelligence report to reporters, according to the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case.

In a letter to Libby's lawyers, obtained by CNN, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said it is his understanding that Libby testified he was "authorized to disclose information about the National Intelligence Estimate to the press by his superiors."
As the Vice President's Chief of Staff, wouldn't that make Cheney his superior?!?
The letter does not name who the superiors are. But the National Journal, which first reported on the Fitzgerald letter, named Vice President Dick Cheney and other White House officials as authorizing Libby to disclose the classified material.
(cue Arte Johnson)Interesting . . . verrrrry interesting!

Flash (who is really dating himself by starting with a Flip Wilson reference and ending with Laugh-In)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Ciresi Takes a Pass

The press will have to come up with another 'footnote' to future stories on the MN US Senate race. Ciresi has opted to save his money:
Minneapolis attorney Mike Ciresi will not seek a U.S. Senate seat this year, he said Wednesday.

Ciresi, who ran for Senate six years ago, was considered a potential Democratic candidate when incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton announced last year he would not run for re-election in 2006. Even Ciresi said he thought he would be a candidate but decided he would be more frustrated than effective in the current climate in Washington, D.C.

"I was very close to running. In fact, everything was in place to run," he said. But watching the Senate right now, including the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, made him decline a run. "You have to be true to yourself and say what type of person are you? By nature, history and inclination, I like to get things done."
So Ford Bell and Amy Klobuchar can breathe a sigh of relief.

What seemed ironic to me, however, is how this story seemed to slip past me. With every mention of the Senate race, was a blurb mentioning Ciresi's pending candidacy. But when he announced he wasn't going to run, the story was buried. Now, I was a pretty busy guy yesterday, and through the evening, but news like this would have caught my eye. No mention on either major newspapers Websites front page. Where did I first see it, MDE of course. I hate when that happens *laughing*.

The final Bench update is on the sidebar. Interesting to scroll through the complete list of names and see the pool of DFL candidates that were all mentioned at one time as being contenders. Now it is down to two.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Some Housekeeping

I have adjusted my sidebar to better reflect my almost daily reading list. I like to keep a nice range of Left, Right, and Center blogs in the mix. I have moved a few blogs off the list due to retirement or inactivity, and have added a few others that I have found myself visiting more frequently.

MN Campaign Report
Pawlenty Unplugged

Power Liberal(s)
I had to add an 'S' since there are more then one of them.

Finally, I adjusted Minnesota to just MN, which moved Fecke to the top of the list. Although I consider Mitch at SitD my blog father, for turning me onto the blogosphere several years ago, the BotML is my Blog Godfather. It became the first daily read for me once I found another like minded blogger who shared my slightly left of center views, without the venom that can spill out of those sites that are further to the end of the political spectrum. And besides, he can write circles around me in his sleep, like this for example.


UPDATE: Thanks to R-Five for picking up the broken links. I have also added a 'Grip N Grin section for your socializing needs:

Grip N Grin
St. Paul Issues Forum
Drinking Liberally(Wednesday)
Drinking Conservatively (Thursday)
Drinking Moderately (Friday)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Dancing AG

Moses was all over the hearings yesterday, pointing out the deception dance that Alberto has gotten very good at:
1:20 p.m.

Senator John Cornyn: Asks Gonzales questions regarding FISA versus the Constitution. Gonzales dances perilously close to the "It depends on what the definition of 'is' is" answer. Cornyn asks about espionage laws and the leaking of the NSA wiretapping story to the New York Times. Gonzales says an investigation is under way. Cornyn wants to know if the New York Times has freedom of the press. Gonzales isn't going to answer.

Senator Richard Durbin: Cites Gonzales' statement of FISA as a "useful tool" and argues that it is a limitation on the president, which the president seems intent to ignore when inconvenient. Asks what other laws the administration might ignore. Durbin is trying to find out when the president decided to ignore FISA? Gonzales says the administration is not, but FISA can't interfere with the president's authority.

Durbin asks why the president didn't come to Congress to seek changes to FISA. He criticizes Gonzales' citing of the USSC Hamdi case as justification. They are arguing over the "exclusive means" in FISA and an escape clause in the criminal code that Gonzales says allows the president to bypass that law
I have been clear on this issue from the start. I have no problem with the President using any means necessary to protect this nation at a time of war, but I do have a problem with an administration that continues to lie and deceive the American people.

President Bush lied in Buffalo when he said he was getting warrants to wiretap.
"(A)ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.
and AG in waiting Alberto lied in his confirmation hearing when he wouldn't answer a question that he deemed 'hypothetical' when it now turns out the question was spot on to an ongoing surveillance operation
Feingold asked Gonzales about:
where the president's authority ends and whether Gonzales believed the president could, for example, act in contravention of existing criminal laws and spy on U.S. citizens without a warrant.

Gonzales said that it was impossible to answer such a hypothetical question but that it was "not the policy or the agenda of this president" to authorize actions that conflict with existing law. He added that he would hope to alert Congress if the president ever chose to authorize warrantless surveillance, according to a transcript of the hearing.
So when was AG Gonzales going to alert Congress now that it is factual information that the President authorized Warrantless surveillance. I mean, Gonzales did say if the President 'EVER chose to authorize surveillance' he would alert congress. Anyone on Capitol Hill ever get that alert memo?!? I'm just saying!


Monday, February 06, 2006

Beer break

MNSpeak has a little blurb about a new brewery in town. Surly Brewing is shipping their first two beverage styles to fill a much needed niche in the local brewing game. I have been waiting for them to release their first brews since I found out about Surly. The Surly Brewer, Todd, spent over 10 years at my regular haunt as the Brewmeister at the Rock Bottom Brewery on Hennepin Avenue. Now that he is free to delve into his dream recipes without the constraints of corporate hovering over his head, Surly is surely to be a hit!

Here is their inaugural list of establishments:
We are finally selling beer! Our ales are available, so run out and put down your hard earned money and tell the bartender, "I wanna get Surly!" Where can you get your hands on some sweet Surly? Check out the places below. Be sure that they know you came to drink some of our beer.

Are you a bar/restaurant/liquor store that would like to carry our brew? Drop us an email or give us a call and we will talk.

Half Time Rec - St. Paul

Cafe Twenty Eight - Minneapolis
Solera Restaurant - Minneapolis
The Blue Nile - Minneapolis
Acadia Cafe - Minneapolis

Liquor Stores - That carry our kegs
THe Liquor Barrel - Golden Valley
Highway 55 and Winnetka Ave - 763.544.4441
7890 Highway 55 (Olson Memorial Highway)
Call them to be sure they have what you need.
They are carrying both our beers, Furious and Bender in 5 Gallon and 15.5 Gallon kegs.
Don't get just any beer, get Surly


Sunday, February 05, 2006

The REAL Game.

Yes, the Super Bowl was on, and everybody watched it. But no matter what anyone tells you, it is the only event I am aware of where people run to the TV during the commercials, rather then take a potty break or get a refill.

So in case you missed 'em, they can all be found here.

Oh yeah, Steelers beat the Seahawks, 21 - 10.


Saturday, February 04, 2006

Gather Up, Gatheroo

It may only be an Alpha launch, but Gatheroo is already making a hit.

Gatheroo, the brain child of New Patriot contributor Chris Dyklstra, is "a free, web-based group organizing and social networking service." From Chris:
"There is a need for free community organizing tools, which can be accomplished through a new model. Because of our expertise, we knew we could provide a valuable alternative to meeting site users that provides an unmatched experience," said Chris Dykstra, Warecorp partner and Gatheroo founder. "We are looking forward to being a strong player in CivicSpace partners network and to being one of the first to donate a portion of our profits to support the CivicSpace foundation."
The ALPHA launch site is here. I have set up a Drinking Moderately group which I will use to announce public Drinking Moderately events. If that isn't enough incentive, then I am sure you will find other groups of interest there. Remember, Gatheroo is NOT limited to political Meetups, but is available for use to all, free, for promoting any group based organization that needs an online outlet for announcements.

Gather up, at Gatheroo!


Friday, February 03, 2006

The Patty Payoff

I would have made a killing, but the odds would have been very short I am sure. Last April I stated this:
I would still put my money on a Klobuchar Senate, Wetterling 6th pairing. It is so early that I am hoping Wetterling is choosing not to hedge her situation to allow for a more robust fund raising effort and a focused campaign. But when all is said and done, I hope she reconsiders.
Today, all will be said and done, and the easiest prediction in politics will come to fruition.
Children's safety advocate Patty Wetterling will announce her candidacy for the DFL nomination for Congress from the Sixth Congressional District today, according to her new rival in that race, former Blaine Mayor Elwyn Tinklenberg.
Patty will take considerable lumps for her strategic decision to dismiss any chance of returning to the congressional race. One quote that will come back to haunt her (from April 2005):
Speaking to Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party elders at a Hemenway Forum luncheon in Oakdale , she said, "I'm not going to run for the 6th District. The numbers show me that ? I will not win."
However, as mentioned earlier, King ran this by some of his DFL contacts.
Theory goes: If she breaks the promise she will receive negative press, but it would fade rather quickly and not be a problem for her by the time the district convention arrives. Makes sense to me.
So the GOP will have a heyday for a short period, but the DFL's chances of retaking the 6th have significantly improved.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Flight 93

Thanks to the wonders of TIVO, I have 'Flight 93' in the buffer, so I haven't watched it yet. I am still torn between my wanting to see this docudrama interpretation of events, and the reality of knowing how it ends. I am sure it was rough on the families just knowing the broadcast was going to happen.

But for Cable network A & E, it was a hit:
"Flight 93," about the hijacking of the United Airlines plane and passengers' efforts to retake it, drew 5.9 million viewers when it premiered Monday, the cable channel said.

It was the most-watched A&E program since the channel launched in 1984.
So are any of my readers amongst the 5.9 million. I'd be curious to hear your take on the show.


Training Day

I was in training yesterday for an exciting new technology program that we will roll out at our school next week. It is an after school opportunity which I will be teaching. I'll probably share more about this fantastic opportunity since some of you out there, especially you Rabid Righties, don't think the public school system is doing enough for these inner city students.

Since I was occupied yesterday, I didn't have a chance to opine on the SOTU address. But then, even if I did have time, there wasn't much there. Kind of a yawner. Rah rah Troops, Social Security not passed, addicted to oil, warrantless surveillance must be done, yadda yadda.

So this morning Mitch rips Mayor Coleman for his initiative to reduce pollution emissions by 2012. Not much to rip there, a leadership stance on a timely issue. We could just do nothing, but that would give the likes of Shoot from the Hip Berg a real reason to complain. Besides, the President said we were 'addicted to oil'. Maybe the Mayor is doing his part to show his support for President Bush. Ya think . . come on, there is an outside chance.

Incoherent rambling over.