Friday, December 31, 2004

The Feckes

The 2004 Feckes have been announced. Categories include:

Rick Kahn Award (for worst political speech)
Previous award winners have included Rick Kahn for his "Rallemorial" speech, and GDub for his "Mission Accomplished" address.

Biggest Loss for American Politics

Biggest Loss for Minnesota Politics

Best Year Politically (America)

Best Year Politically (Minnesota)
and several others.

Included in his 2005 predictions
Cubs fans will rejoice as Carlos Beltran leads them to...a World Series loss to Boston in six games. But at least we will have been there.
Good ole Jeff. Always a dreamer.


Thursday, December 30, 2004

A letter to the editor
Get over it?

During Christmas Eve dinner, a relative commented on the many people who still display Kerry-Edwards bumper stickers -- saying, "Why can't they just get over it and move on?"

Being one of this group, I'm writing to dispel the idea that I display my sticker as a sign of continued mourning over the results of the election. Instead, it's a sign that I will not be held responsible for the colossal domestic and international messes we'll be left with when Bush leaves office.

It's a sign of solidarity with those who believe that wars of choice are immoral, that the only way to support the troops is to oppose the dishonest policies that put them in harm's way unnecessarily.

It's a sign that I support protection of civil rights and liberties for all. It's a sign that I support preservation of the environment, our fundamental common interest.

It's a sign of hope that one day soon we'll have a leader of whom we can be proud.

And above all, it's a sign that I love my country.

Mike Gude, St. Paul.
My bumper sticker came off right away, although trading in the vehicle for a new car had more to do with that. Within a few days I took the sign down in my front yard, and within a week I had pulled the signs down out of my porch window. All has been retired to the garage, where many relics clutter the walls. Most of them from losing campaigns, with a few winners between the studs. There's over 25 years of campaign history in my garage, and a few more buttons added to the collection this year.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

We Voted For Him Anyway

It's simply amazing. 'We don't approve of what he is doing, but we voted for him anyway'.

From the STRIB:
President Bush will enter his second term with the lowest approval ratings of any just-elected sitting president in a half-century, according to a series of new surveys.
and the numbers:
A new Gallup survey for CNN and USA Today puts Bush's approval rating at 49 percent. That's 10 to 20 percentage points lower than every elected sitting president at this stage since World War II, according to Gallup.
So Bush received 51% of the popular vote, but only 49% of the people approve of what he is doing. Why would anyone support someone if they didn't approve of them?!?


Sunday, December 26, 2004

Mortality Check
'Minister of Defense' Reggie White dies at 43

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Reggie White, a fearsome defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers who was one of the great players in NFL history, died Sunday, his wife said. He was 43.

Latest reports are now saying it was a massive heart attack.

I turned 44 in August.


Friday, December 24, 2004

Luke 2:8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Helloooooo, Chapter Two

Mitch is on an extended Holiday trip to North Dakota. We have spoken many times about his desire to find someone to share blogging duties on Shot in the Dark, and I think he has found a good match.

Steve Gigl of Helloooooo, Chapter Two is filling in this weekend, and his opening salvo is on Cell Phone etiquette. A very practical and informative read. Give it a 'Shot'.

As for me, the holiday transition begins, and I am not fortunate enough to have someone take over the reigns of Centrisity. Although, I am in discussion with a Right leaner to bring literal balance to the Centrist nature of this blog. Is there another site out there where opposing views battle it out on the front page, instead of in the comments section? It would be an interesting experience.

Until then, posting will be light, if non existent. If I can finish up the last minute Holiday errands, I'll be meeting up with 'The Doctor' for a trip to Keagan's tonight. I'm man enough to face my dissenters' face to face and off the clock, these guys are great company to keep!

Have a safe, healthy, and joyous Holiday Season. I've already received my first gift. My Oldest stopped by the other day. Tom, The marine!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Washington Ballot Battle

There is still a bit of excitement left this elections season. No, it isn't the faux recount attempt in Ohio, but the hand recount in Washington State.

Reports have leaked that the Democratic Candidate now has an 8 vote lead, before the ruling on some 700 ballots that are in question. Most are in agreement that those 700 ballots will break for the democrat, so if the 8 vote lead is valid, the recount will reverse the original outcome of the election.

Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate, won the first count by 261 votes and won a machine recount by 42 votes. Now Christine Gregoire the Democrat may have the last word.

The final recount will be announced this afternoon. Arguments on the status of the 700 ballots from King Counts is also on the docket.


UPDATE: Gregoire by 10

The Court also ruled in favor of counting the found 700+ King County ballots.
Results do not include 700-plus recently discovered ballots from King County, home of Seattle and a Democratic stronghold. The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that those ballots should be counted. They will be added to the total on Thursday, and are expected to favor Gregoire.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Can We Be Part of the Solution, Instead?

When a local columnist writes an article on literacy, and the local Right Wing Media machine chews it up, spits it out, and changes the whole intent into their own little focused message, it is nothing more the a perfect example of being part of the problem, not part of the solution.

These wingers have the time to pursue their agendas and grab hold of any message as part of their mission. In this case, their mission is nothing more then the systemic disassembling of the public school system. They refuse to look at the successes, they refuse to acknowledge the troubles these schools are having meeting the mandates placed upon them by the current administrations. They expect everything to work perfectly, they assume everyone should be able to start and stop on a dime. They can only crow about money spent, not money invested. They can only squawk about textbooks -vs- reading books while doing everything they can to prohibit access to any books, or at least so it seems. They talk about 'accountability' of the district and school staffs, but place no accountability on the parents.

There are no fewer then a half dozen members of the Right Wing Axis and their surrogates bashing away at this issue, and only one who is making any reasonable attempt to focus on the kids, albeit his goal is still the same as the rest.

These are rational individuals whom I consider my friends, but it is painful to watch them swing so far off course on some personal vendetta against an individual who is trying to make a difference. If they want to provide a best case environment for the students of St. Paul, then why not work together within the system? Seems their energies are going up the stove pipe, instead of heating the schools.

For the record, My SPPS History

Tom: K-3 Maxfield, 4th Galtier
(Moved to Mounds View with his father, then California with his mother)
Now PFC Marines

Josh: 4-6 Galtier, Highland 7-10(current)
Nick: K (California) 1-6 Galtier, 7 Ramsey (Current)
Bob: K Maxfield, 1-6 Galtier (Current) Maxfield had an all day Kindergarten

I've never switched my kids from a school, or changed their teacher during a school year. Stability is important, and transience is detrimental, not only to the child, but to the environment of the class itself. I have always worked within the system to effect change when I felt there may have been a problem, and the response has always been positive.

I don't think we should give the districts and their employees a free pass, but I don't think we should give the parents one either.


UPDATE: My apologies to the King who did try to separate himself from the vendetta, and stuck to the story itself:
You can call it wonkery if you like...
...but I didn't agree with the decision during the third hour of NARN to steer the discussion of the Coleman-Westover-Maxfield controversy away from accountability and towards the media flap. The flap, of course, continued yesterday with Coleman referring to Westover as "Captain Fishsticks", so I guess I am going to go even further afield. Mitch and Fraters and the Blog of the Year will take that side of the debate, and good for them. I prefer to practice my comparative advantage.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Forced Vacation

Winter break begins for us educators. It is a forced vacation that we must take regardless of whether we want to or not. Don't get my wrong, the respite is welcomed, but the half paycheck isn't.

Contrary to popular belief, we are not paid for this vacation in full. It is a forced two week siesta, but one of those weeks is unpaid. The buildings are inaccessible, so I can't go in to work if I wanted. If I was going to pick a time of year I wanted to get half a paycheck, Christmas wouldn't be one of them.

So keep that in mind, as you are taking your 2, 3 or 4 week vacations throughout the year. An educator gets two weeks vacation, for 10 months work (One week paid in Winter, one week paid in Spring). Some of us are forced to take other time off without pay. We can't pick the weeks we take off, they are built into the schedule. I'm not complaining, just pointing out one of the great misnomers in public education educators pay. It's not a bowl of cherries, but it is one of the most rewarding professions there is. I'll take the tradeoff.


Sunday, December 19, 2004

Top Ten

First of all, Congratulations to Powerline, for being named Blog of the Year by Time Magazine. However, I did stumble on another article there that was most informative. 10 things we learned about Blogs.

Nestled in this grocery list was another local favorite:
Bloggers Can Be Fakers
Plain Layne, a highly personal blog supposedly belonging to a Minnesota lesbian named Layne Johnson that drew thousands of fans over 3 1/2 years before mysteriously disappearing, was revealed to be a hoax. Hundreds of fans helped track down the real author, Odin Soli, 35, a male entrepreneur from Woodbury, Minn. Later in the year, fake Bill Clinton and Andy Kaufman blogs became hits.

There are days that I miss Layne, but Odin has another writing project in progress. It's 'The Mexican Year', starring Nick and Nooshin. It's not Layne, but it is still the same quality prose that Odin is the best at. Give it a read when you are looking for a good book to read and don't have one at your fingertips.


UPDATE: Nice article in the STRIB this morning on Powerlines' success

Friday, December 17, 2004

What's Next for Rummy

Most of us who even hint to a left tilt have been criticizing Rumsfeld about his performance in what The Daily Show dubs "Mess O' Potamia". Over the last few weeks, several high profile (or wannabee high profile) GOP members have hopped on the bandwagon.

McCain began the flurry with
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Monday that he has "no confidence" in Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, citing Rumsfeld's handling of the war in Iraq and the failure to send more troops
Then we have Sen. Trent Lott
:“I'm not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld,” Lott told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. “I don't think he listens enough to his uniformed officers.”
Sen Susan Collins (R-ME)
“I think there are increasing concerns about the secretary's leadership of the war, the repeated failures to predict the strengths of the insurgency, the lack of essential safety equipment for our troops, the reluctance to expand the number of troops,” Collins said in an interview.
There are others, but one local boy has jumped on the bandwagon:
Sen. Norm Coleman said he had "serious misgivings" about the process of providing armored vehicles for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I have reservations about what the secretary and the Army have done in this regard," the Minnesota Republican said, but later added, "I'm not at the point of pointing fingers. I don't (know) who did this. I don't know what happened."
Only Sen Norm Coleman can point fingers, while saying "I'm not at the point of pointing fingers" The Republicans King Flip Flopper has done it again, and all in the same paragraph. Amazing!


Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Plot Thickens

From the Austin Daily Herald (emphasis mine):
No one claimed credit for the Edwards vote. Several electors said they suspected that someone unconsciously mixed up the two Johns on the ticket rather than purposefully made a political statement.

Stevens was one of them.

The former Mower County DFL chair, who was a Kerry elector, said, "It was a real shock. Most of the electors thought it must have been a mistake; particularly when the vote was 10-0 for Edwards as the vice president."

Stevens sat next to Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, when the ballots were counted and saw his own ballot clearly registered a vote for Kerry as President and Edwards as Vice President.

He said the only indication that one ballot was for the other candidate and office -- expect for the candidate's name -- was the word "vice" at the bottom of the Vice President ballots.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

What, No inaugural Ball

I find myself listening to the Right Wing Media machine quite often. Last night, on my way home from a Board Meeting, I found myself listening to Mitch's favorite Right Wing Talker (scroll down to the comments) (OK, maybe not his favorite, but he does a great impression of him *laughing*)

Savage was stating clearly and definitively, that President Bush should forgo all the Pomp and Circumstance of the inauguration, and donate the hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars saved to purchasing armor for our troops. It caught me off guard, to hear something so seemingly practical, and clearly appropriate, coming from the Right side of the Media machine.

Of course it will never happen, but maybe it should!!

Mystery Solved?

Minnesota Democrats Exposed has posted copies of all the Elector oaths along with a copy of the 'Ewards' Ballot. They include a poll for us to speculate who they think the 'rogue' elector might be. There is one elector way out front, and when you compare the ballot with the Oath, the 'r's are very telling. You can peek below. For the other oaths, take a trip to the Right side of the Blogosphere.

You be the judge.

Original docs are all at MDE. I've cropped and combined them for ease of comparison here.


Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I Know Who It Wasn't

An E-Mail from my Mom
I signed mine John F. Kerry . . . We signed at least 10 different things so I'm sure that the Secretary of State has matched handwriting by now!
At least I know who it wasn't!


MORE: From the PiPress:
In response to public information requests, Kiffmeyer's office released copies of the ballots along with other documents bearing signatures of the electors. Some electors had distinguishable handwriting, but comparisons involving the Edwards ballot were inconclusive.


"All I can say is, I know it wasn't me, because I signed it 'John F. Kerry,' " said Jean Schiebel of Brooklyn Center, a DFL volunteer and elector. She added that she believes the errant elector made a mistake, and added, "I think the person that did it is embarrassed.

"Everybody's going to be wondering now," Schiebel added. "We may well never know."

Monday, December 13, 2004

9 - 1

In a surprise turn, the Minnesota slate of Electors voted 9 Kerry, 1 Edwards. All 10 Vice Presidential ballots carried John Edwards' name.

The news hounds on site immediately went to the Elector table and polled the votees to interview the hold out, but no one came forward. As discussion continued, it appeared that there was one person who may have thought at the time that they were casting the Vice Presidential ballot first. Either way, the vote count was certified, and the 9 - 1 count will be forwarded to Washington, DC.

The ceremony was very dignified and honorable. I was proud to be there to witness my mother be a part of history, and to have her name and signature stored in the National Archives. I will post a couple photos when I get home later

I am sure the news will do further snooping to see if they can identify who cast the Edwards ballot.


UPDATE:From the Secretary of States' Website

Minnesota Electoral College Assembly; Matthew Little,Lil Ortendahl, Sonja Berg, Tim O’Brien, Frank Simon, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, Everett Pettiford, Chandler Harrison Stevens, Jean Schiebel, Michael Meuers, Vi Grooms-Alban
Election Day

The electors meet at the state Capital, today, to cast their ballots for President. All electors are to report at 9:00 to be certified. If anyone is missing, they will be replaced. They return at 11:30 for the ceremony that begins at Noon. It should be a great lesson in our election process. I hope to get away during lunch to witness Mom cast her ballot.

I'm Back

Well, I leave for a couple days and the place gets taken over *laughing*

I am looking forward to responding to some of the specific comments made in the various blogs debating this issue, but I need some time to absorb the responses so I can comment appropriately. I'm just a lowly educator, with a wife and three kids. My blogging time is limited to about an hour in the AM, and some time after dinner. I'll be able to do a bunch of reading today to get up to speed.

Thanks to all for your comments and spirited debate!


Friday, December 10, 2004

Leaving, on a Jet Plane

I'm am flying out to Newark, NJ this AM, in route to Scranton, PA. The biannual drum corps Rules Congress is this weekend. It is an opportunity for the members of the association to propose rule changes that govern our association, and the contests we perform in. These meetings have come a long way from the smoke filled, east coast, mob style meetings they once were. But things will still get intense with several controversial items on the agenda.

Posting will be at a minimum, but I'll have a laptop, and will check in whenever I hit a hot spot.

What Was He Reading

Mitch, in one of his cheesier attempts to 'set the record straight' swerves way off course today. All I was doing was answering St. Paul's question at Fraters, which I did. Apparently that means I was missing the point. So I ask you, Mitch. When someone ends a post with a question, are we not suppose to answer it?!? And if we do, does that mean we missed the point?

And, in a fine show of desperation, he takes a pot shot at New Patriot about not fact checking my job title, so you decide. I am alone in a classroom, while seeing 143 students everyday. I take attendance, grade, and teach them how to use the software. I monitor their progress, correct them when appropriate and help them when needed. Do I have a teaching license, no. But I do have a 4 year degree and the same responsibilities a licensed teacher has. Most people would call that teaching, and thus I would be the teacher. You do the math!


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Which is it?

The contextually challenged of the NARN are taunting Nick Coleman, again, this time on education. They are trying to screed him into a corner so they can call him a liar. Now I'm not a big fan of anyone with the last name of Coleman, but I can't sit back and watch the NARNiacs imply that which is clearly not the case.

In Nick's column back on Nov 14 Mitch quotes:
How did we get to the point in Minnesota that we have a school in a minority neighborhood of our capital city where there aren't enough books? If you don't find that situation outrageous, you are part of the problem.
What he leaves out, is the key contextual statement that comes before it.
But when Zelma Wiley walked into Maxfield Magnet School in St. Paul and took over as principal a couple of years ago, there were hardly any books on the shelves
See, rhetorical questions were asked of a situation from a 'couple of years ago', not now, today! The outpouring of support received through the Coleman column provided two followups, Nick's Dec 4 piece:
Three weeks ago, I told you about Maxfield Magnet School in the heart of St. Paul's black community, which was desperately seeking books so its kids can learn to read.

You responded with overwhelming kindness, and I am glad to report that Maxfield has been inundated with books.
So common deduction is that over the last couple years, Principal Wiley has restored the reading coffers at Maxfield, most recently with a fresh supply of materials from impassioned Coleman readers. I see no contradiction here. And when Zelma rattled off her response to the Westover editorial, she stated:
If Mr. Westover and Mr. Stern had visited our school, they would have seen our hard work paying off. They would have seen that all of our classrooms have the textbooks they need. They would have seen that we know with precision how every dollar we receive is being spent to help our students learn. And they would have seen students from diverse backgrounds improving and achieving.
Which brings us to the questions St. Paul asks over at Fraters:
So which is it? Either "we don't have enough books" or "all of our classrooms have the textbooks they need."
Well, St. Paul, it's both, and yes it can be both. The innovative and dedicated staffs of the public school districts are doing the best they can with the limited resources that are available. Maxfield clearly had a shortage of adequate reading materials 'a couple of years ago', but due to a resourceful staff and compassionate neighbors, the stock on the shelves are growing. Is that good enough, I don't think so, but it is enough that they can get by. And is that what we want for our future, enough for them to 'get by'

Maybe those on the Right can start to comment on the other issues that plague inner city schools, the high transient rate with kids coming and going in classrooms like a revolving door, lack of parental support at home prohibiting their ability to succeed, parents that would rather blame the school for their child's behavior and performance, rather then having adequate expectation of their students own behavior and performance.

Sorry, I am on the inside looking out, and the problems that many students in this district have begin at home, and all the money in the world can't fix that!


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Rummy has some 'splaining to do

Rumsfeld was at Camp Buehring, Kuwait yesterday, firing up the troops. During a Q & A portion after his prepared remarks, it was the troops firing away at Rummy.
``Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?'' Wilson asked. A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rummy's response
``You go to war with the Army you have,'' . . . ``You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up,''
Another concern raised was why regular Army units appear to get preferential treatment when it comes to doling out the best equipment.
``There's no way I can prove it, but I am told the Army is breaking its neck to see that there is not''
It's unusual when the administration is distracted off their message. I don;t think there was any squirming going on, but at some point you would think they would start listening to what is actually happening on the ground.


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

December 7, 1941

Paul Goodyear was standing on a signal bridge on the starboard side of the USS Oklahoma in 1941 when bombs started falling from the sky and torpedoes zeroed in.

Explosions, screams, chaos and gunfire shattered the calm morning of that Dec. 7, and within 12 minutes, the massive battleship rolled over and capsized, trapping hundreds of men belowdecks.

Sixty-three years later, Goodyear can still hear their cries and tapping for help.


Japan's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and other military bases on Oahu lasted two hours. Twenty-one ships were heavily damaged, and 320 aircraft were damaged or destroyed. In all, about 2,390 people were killed and about 1,178 were wounded, according to the National Park Service, which maintains the Arizona site.
Thank you, to the brave men and women in all our armed forces throughout history. It is your commitment, dedication, and sacrifice, that allow people like me to flourish in this great country!

USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association


Monday, December 06, 2004

Agreement Reached

A tentative agreement has been reached in the battle for an Intelligence Reform bill.

Republican House Armed Services Chairman Duncan Hunter's concerns involved protecting the Chain of Command involved in Military intelligence gather, specifically, satellite data. The fix seemed to create language which is "intentionally ambiguous". Hunter stated:
"We have come to an agreement on changed bill language that we believe protects with necessary clarity the time-tested chain-of-command," the committee chiefs' statement said.

"Pending a review of the rest of the legislation, we are prepared to support the bill as amended by this new language."
The other major holdout, Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) related to immigration provisions. Sensenbrenner backed off his opposition when assured they would be addressed in separate legislation next session.

One other item did catch my eye in the article. We have all heard Senator Frist squawk about up or down votes, and how important it is to at least allow for the full body to vote, up or down, regardless of the support an issue may have. But how does the GOP work:
The bill had enough votes to pass before the Thanksgiving break, but House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, would not let it go to the floor without the support of a majority of Republicans.
As usual, it is OK for them I guess

Black and Purple Division

Mitch could have honed his screed to two simple words.

"Vikings Suck!"

The classic Minnesota Sports curse prevails. We always seem to play down to the level of our opponents. Thanks God the Packers lost, too.

It's been a weird morning. More later . . .


Friday, December 03, 2004

The Intelligence Battle

It had looked like the Intelligence bill was going to die a slow painful death. The president's luke warm support, to appease opposition in the House's majority caucus, is being forced by heavy lobbying from members of the 9/11 commission and public concerns.

It is unusual to see the GOP fighting amongst themselves on any issues, let alone one that is evolving into the first test of the President's ability to shape policy.

Reservations are many, the least of which is the reluctance of the various defense agencie’s intelligence ops to be under a newly created Intel Czar. This article explains:
As much as 80 percent of the annual intelligence budget goes to military intelligence. The proposed overhaul would put all 15 government intelligence agencies, including the CIA and military intelligence units, under the new national intelligence director. The legislation also would create a national counterterrorism center to coordinate the government's response to global terrorism.
Bush is pretty clear on where he stands, as he stated in Ottawa this week;
"Let's see if I can say it as plainly as I can. I am for the intelligence bill"
The bill received almost unanimous support in the Senate, 96-2, but remains stalled in the house. Why? A couple of GOP committee chairmen claiming to be looking out for 'us'
(Rep. Duncan ) Hunter (R-CA), reflecting concerns at the Defense Department as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, doesn't want to dilute the Pentagon's control over military intelligence. He's vowed to stand up to presidential pressure, saying he's more concerned about doing the right thing for people such as his son, a Marine lieutenant who's served two tours in Iraq.

(Rep. James ) Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, wants the bill to include immigration restrictions and border-security measures.
The bickering is beginning to escalate
"That's the arrogance of the House at the moment," said Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, a Republican moderate who opposes a confrontational strategy. "To me, it's showing incredible lack of leadership on the part of my leadership and the president. ... What we're saying to the Democrats in the House is that they have to do it our way or no way. How are we going to pass tax reform and Social Security reform? ... We have to start building some bridges."
The President has put himself in a precarious situation before his second term even begins. On one hand, if he pushed too hard for passage, he may have to spend some of his 'political capital' that he would rather save for tougher battles ahead, if the bill fails, many may call it a failure in leadership for his inability to 'unite' his own party in protecting our homeland and it's borders.

Either way, it is a lot more intriguing watching them battle for power amongst themselves, then joining forces against the Left.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Another Educational Perspective

Swiftee over at Pair 'O Dice had his own take on the dire straits facing the St. Paul Public School (SPPS) district. He also shared his concerns in my comments below. Specifically, with the following questions.

Keep in mind that the SPPS district cuts, over the last 6 years, have totaled about $50 million bucks. The current budget shortfall is half that at 24.3 Mill.

What happened to the cash from the last two excess levy referendums.
The first one was primarily for technology improvements in the district. And one of the great features of this upgrade is the Parent Portal, allowing Parents to instantly review and monitors their student's performance online. Lack of parent involvement is the greatest detriment to their education, and SPPS has taken great steps to provide student information to the parents in an efficient and timely manner. The second referendum, I believe, was spent on improving achievement by providing Summer School for all students, and restoring some funding that was cut prior to the referendum.
Why is $12k\yr\student not enough to make sure the kid has a book.
I am not privy to recent data. This site does show an interesting picture. SPPS spends about the same per pupil as Seattle, but with triple the Non English students and 1.5 times as many students in poverty. Buffalo Public Schools have a higher Poverty rate, but only a fraction of Non English students but spend $2000 per pupil MORE then SPPS. Why isn't it enough, I don't know, yet, but it seems that SPPS is making pretty good strides with much less then other district are using.
Where is the $553M\yr (More than half a Billion!) going?
Well, 80%of the budget is salary, plain and simple. At this point, you would have to freeze and/or cut salary to make any significant dent in the deficit without increasing revenues. In my case, my salary is already froze, so that means the next step is a cut, which may drive me out of the profession. Is that what we want to do. Turn people away and deal with second tier educators willing to 'settle' for less pay.

All I have been trying to point out, is that this city's public school system has made a concerted effort to streamline function, while providing quality service, and is now facing a deficit larger then they have ever seen. You can only cut so much, and demand more gains, before one needs to look at other ways to resolve the shortfall.


Wednesday, December 01, 2004

- 24.3 Million

If you thought things couldn't get worse, they have. A 24.3 million dollar shortfall in the Saint Paul Public School district's budget is staring them right in the face. The district has been nicking the bone already, as they have trimmed the fat, and some of the lean, to get into balance.
After five years of continuous program-shaving worth more than $50 million, St. Paul's budget-watchers have come up with their worst projected shortfall yet. And it all means, Harvey lamented, that the district since 1999 will have cut nearly $75 million in staff and programs.
I had been concerned about past referendum proposals and my belief that the district hadn't tightened it's belt enough. I voted against the referendums as I believed there was more the district administration could do to streamline themselves into a lean mean education machine. But now it is apparent to me, that the best efforts have been made to assume fiscal responsibility, while still succeeding in this challenging urban educational environment. Test scores have risen, and schools are improving, in spite of the financial limitations.

What's next:
The time has come . . . for St. Paul to join the growing roster of Minnesota school districts pressing the governor and the Legislature to stop the slide. St. Paul officials plan to join an effort next week by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts in sounding the alarm about a deepening gloom in districts across the state. Revenues simply are not keeping pace with expenses, educators say, and children will ultimately pay.
In the past, we have blamed enrollment declines, but with the influx of refugees, that decline has been stifled somewhat. Furthermore, the district's Finance and Budget director states:
the main culprit has been four years of unchanging state revenues and continually increasing costs. She cautioned that simply increasing the basic per-pupil aid formula holds little hope to avoid a deficit. For every increase of 1 percent in the state general education formula, St. Paul would net only another $2.3 million.
It is time for a closer look at the educational coffers in this state. I am not sure how much more the district can endure, and still meet the grocery lists of expectations being placed upon them by state and federal governments while refusing to provide adequate funding. Superintendent Harvey explains:
"Without a doubt, we are in danger. And if we don't think carefully about this, we will lose all that good that we have gained," Harvey said.
Folks, you can only take out the knife so many times, and if you keep cutting and cutting, at some point there isn't anything left, but the vital organs needed for any entity to survive. The St. Paul School district is no different.


Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Ken Lost

Ken Jennings lost
, finally! In his 74th title defense, Ken stumbled on a cream puff question in Final Jeopardy after bagging both Double Jeopardy questions. He was still in the lead, $14,400 to $10,000, going into Final Jeopardy. (The third contestant, a local boy from MN, finished in the red, so was ineligible). The query:
Business and Industry

Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.

I grew up in the home of an accountant, so it was easy to know what season lasts 4 months, tax season. She got it right, Ken said Fed Ex.

75 Games, 74 wins, 2.5+ million dollars. He says he won't quit his job, but may cut down on the hours. We'll see.

Ken will be making the talk show rounds this week, so his 15 minutes aren't over yet.

His complete statistical breakdown is here.

Doin' the Ginger dance

Chad, the Elder over at Fraters has a great screed today. It started out as an immigration post, but then went on to state:
If you ever wonder why people are cynical about politics, consider the way that the two major parties gingerly step around issues that many Americans would like to see addressed. Immigration has become the new "third rail" of American politics, but it's not the only one that Democrats and Republicans prefer to avoid:
Be sure to read the whole thing. He mentions several different 'touchy subjects' that he believes neither side should run away from. I don't agree with them Frater's boys too often, but I do respect their ability to be on the outside looking in from time to time.

When it all began

I stumbled across a USAToday article about the "long-simmering battle over how evolution is taught in high school"

Personally, I find just as many flaws in an evolutional theory as I do in a theory that purports everything just poofed here about 6,000 years ago. In fact, I have always said that there isn't an real inconsistency between evolution and creation if one is a realist. What is to say that the 'intelligent design' was an evolutionary process. The tools from which the higher power worked to hone the creations. The article raises the following question:
How should evolution be taught in schools?
Teaching Charles Darwin's findings as fact
Teaching Darwin's findings as theory
Promote 'intelligent design'
Do not teach evolution or creationism
In an educational environment, especially High School, all popular theories should be presented in an equal way, supported by the information presented. In fact, we should even encourage the students to come up with other options or alternative, modifications, and theories of their own. Isn’t the whole idea of education to stimulate interest, creativity, and open minds. I thought so.

Going around the horn, we see where some of the battles will be fought on this front.:
• In western Wisconsin, the small Grantsburg School District now requires that alternative theories of evolution be taught.

• In Ohio, the state school board passed a measure that encourages the teaching of evolution and "intelligent design," a hypothesis that says life is so complex that some intelligent force was responsible.

• In Kansas, the defeat this month of a "pro-science" incumbent on the state school board by a candidate who had questioned evolution has shifted the balance of power on the 10-member board and ensures that the issue will come up again. The board ended the teaching of evolution in 1999, then reversed that decision after a subsequent election. It has been deadlocked since.

• The Dover, Pa., school district recently became the first in the nation to require teaching intelligent design. Two school board members, Jeffrey Brown and his wife, Carol, resigned in protest.

• A lawsuit in Georgia was filed on behalf of six parents who objected to a disclaimer sticker the Cobb County school board placed on ninth-grade biology textbooks. The case was tried earlier this month in federal court in Atlanta. The judge's ruling is expected soon. The disclaimer sticker states: "Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered."
A recent Poll concluded that 48% said religion has too much political influence in American life, and 40% said it has too little influence. Seven percent said religion has about the right amount of political influence. An interesting finding since the GOP meme post election was that it was a moralistic, religious movement that made the difference this year.

So teach it al, and teach it fairly, and encourage thinking and creativity. Skill and drill may make students good test takers, but in the broader picture, there isn’t a whole lot of jobs out there for good test takers. Of course, there isn't a whole lot of jobs out there anyway, but that is a different post!


Sunday, November 28, 2004

My Son, the Marine!

I met Tom when he was 11 months old. His bottle was second only to his blanky as his best friend. He wasn't walking or talking, but he sure had energy. For the next 10 + years I would play an integral role in his life. The only stable father figure he would have. I was there for his first step, the bottle weaning, potty training, bike riding, ball games, parades, carnivals, fairs and festivals. We did all the things dads do with their sons.

When his mother and I split about eight year ago, Tommy stayed with me to finish that year of school. In the Spring of 1997, Tom would leave to spend the Summer with his father, and I knew that would probably be the last time he lived under my roof. I had no strong legal grounds to keep him, and as long as his father was in the picture, I didn't stand a chance at custody. His father was (is) a good man, and I knew Tom would be fine.

Over the next several years, Tom would stay in touch, and we would get together occasionally. For reasons I am not totally aware, Tom decided to move to California last fall to do his Senior year of High School living with his mom. We exchanged a few E-Mails, but it wasn't the same with him out of state. When graduation passed, I sent him a congratulatory E-Mail, with no response. This was unusual, but a newly freed 18 year old can be a pretty busy guy.

Although I had speculated what may be up, it wasn't until I received an E-Mail from his mother, addressed to his brothers, that confirmed my suspicions.
Tom has been very very busy the last 9 weeks. On September 13th, he began a very serious journey towards becoming a Man. This was a journey that he felt he had to make and really wanted it badly. We had been planning this since February of this year, he didn't want anyone else to know about it until he was on the final leg of it. As of last week your big brother is officially a United State Marine, completed the crucible which is a 56 hour test of strength and will. The crucible is a right of passage for all who wish to earn the title of United States Marines. He will graduate from boot camp on the 10th of December.
I am not sure why they would want to keep this Hush Hush. I kind of feel cheated not being able to support him on his journey. But I do know one thing. I have never been more proud of my Son, as I was when I read that E-Mail.

My Son, the Marine!


So a seemingly responsible Dad thinks it's time to teach his daughter a lesson after she comes home intoxicated. She's all billigerent and drunk, so he decides to call the police.

What does the daughter do, she turns the tables. Tells the cops how afraid she is for her life and leads the polics to a crawl space in the ceiling. What did they find . . . four semiautomatic guns and some 600 vials of cocaine.

I guess Dad should have thought ahead first before trying to pretend to be a parent.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

I'm a Pilgrim

This is my descendancy from the Mayflower.

Francis Eaton Born 1596 Bristol,Gloucester,England , Died 1633 Plymouth MA

Benjamin Eaton B 1627 Plymouth, MA; D 1711/12, Plymouth MA

Benjamin Eaton B 1664 Plymouth, MA; D 1745 Kingston, MA

Francis Eaton B 1700 Plymouth, MA; D 1748 Middleboro, MA
Married Lydia Fuller, descended from Samuel Fuller also a Mayflower Passenger

Benjamin Eaton B 1742 D 1820
In Oct 1781, Benjamin EATON was included in Capt Eli NOBLE's company of militia in Pownal in Col Ebenezer WALBRIDGE's Regiment

Fuller Eaton 1786 Vermont; 1862, Green Lake WI

Van Rensselaer Eaton B1812 Herkimer CTY, NY, D 1875 IA

Lyman Spencer Eaton B 1851 NY D 1913

John Freeman Eaton B 1877 Silver Lake MN D 1944 Spencer IA

Clinton Cleo Eaton B 1907 D 1962 St. Peter, MN

From a seat on the Mayflower, to a vote in the 2004 Electoral College, my family has much to be thankful for.

Enjoy the games tomorrow, and don't eat too much turkey.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Controlling the news Cycle

Ezra over at Pandagon nailed it yesterday:
Democrats, we all know, have the message clarity of a coed at her first kegger. But they're only partly to blame for it.
Ain't that the truth. It seems we are so intimidated by the Right Wing media machine, that we play catch-up most of the time. We need a more aggressive style. We need to be able to take command of any issue and claim our equal time. Pandagon's method:
Democrats need to pick an outrage of the week and pound on it until they win. No diverting attention, no denunciations of new and upsetting bills, no distractions. We must pick and choose among the Republican's unjust, unfair, unpopular actions and settle on one to obsessively publicize and publicly reject.
The left has been playing nice too long. It is time we put away the White gloves and chiffon dress, and slip on the boxing gloves and sweat suit. We need to confront the opposition with our own brand of delivery. And if we wait till the next election cycle, we'll lose again.


Monday, November 22, 2004

An Academia Balancing Act

It is no secret that the GOP is but a small minority amongst Academic Professors throughout the country. A recent article in the NY Times entitled Republicans Outnumbered in Academia, Studies Find, touches on this very topic.

It's been a delicate mix, but as the Conservative movement amongst students may be picking up a little steam, the growth of GOP professors are stagnant at best :
Conservatism is becoming more visible at the University of California here, where students put out a feisty magazine called The California Patriot and have made the Berkeley Republicans one of the largest groups on campus. But here, as at schools nationwide, the professors seem to be moving in the other direction, as evidenced by their campaign contributions and two studies being published on Nov. 18.
What have the studies found:

* Democratic professors outnumber Republicans by at least seven to one in the humanities and social sciences
* This ratio is more than twice as lopsided as it was three decades ago, and increasing.
* a nine-to-one ratio of Democrats to Republicans on the faculties of Berkeley and Stanford.
* the ratio is especially lopsided among the younger professors of assistant or associate rank:
183 Democrats versus 6 Republicans.

So now 'they' want a form of desegregation of their own.
The political imbalance on faculties has inspired a campaign to have state legislatures and Congress approve an "academic bill of rights" protecting students and faculty members from discrimination for their political beliefs. The campaign is being led by Students for Academic Freedom, a group with chapters at Berkeley and more than 135 other campuses. It was founded last year by the leftist-turned-conservative David Horowitz, who helped start the 1960's antiwar movement while a graduate student at Berkeley.
The article is a very informative read, so be sure to visit the link up above.

What was the LTE fallout from this perspective:

Here are a couple "Letters to the Editor
Re "Republicans Outnumbered in Academia, Studies Find" (news article, Nov. 18):

Would it be surprising to find mostly Republicans among oil company executives? Simply ask what the population in question is trained and paid to do.

Academics are trained to reason using logic, to question evidence and to consider and evaluate several possible interpretations of events. All these activities are discouraged and indeed ridiculed by the present Republican leadership.

Academic Republicans must indeed suffer from this cognitive dissonance.

Markus Meister
Pasadena, Calif., Nov. 18, 2004
The writer is a professor of biology at Harvard.


To the Editor:

The view that campus collegiality leads to tyranny of the majority has some plausibility in explaining the absence of Republicans from academia, but the main causes clearly lie elsewhere.

A successful career in academia, after all, requires willingness to be critical of yourself and to learn from experience, along with a lack of interest in material incentives. All these are antithetical to Republicanism as it has recently come to be.

John McCumber
Los Angeles, Nov. 18, 2004
The writer is a professor of Germanic languages at U.C.L.A.

RIP, Dr. Farrell

I always give the Obits a once over every day, and yesterday AM I was startled to see the face of my former Finance Professor at St. Cloud State.

Dr. Crumpton Farrell, died after a battle with Cancer.

Dr. Farrell was a genuine individual who was able to balance his academic commitments with that brand of student support you don't see too often these days. He was more then a professor, he was there to assist all who asked, in the transition to their future. He helped me greatly, and he will be missed.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

For Ron

Coffee with KARE directed us to the story of Ron, who after defeating an occurrence of Esophageal cancer, is now dealing with a recurrence of the disease in multiple areas of his body. Since going to Parker Hughes, improvement has been seen, but his prognosis is still not very good.

I don't believe I have promoted benefits like this before, but Ron has some ties to my family, and I wanted anyone who was in a position to help, to at least be aware of his struggles.

A full description of Ron's journey to this point, can be found at Ron Rice's Page. Below is the details of the benefit to be held this Friday.

Spaghetti Dinner/Silent Auction/Bake Sale
Friday, November 19th
4:00 - 9:00 pm.
Chanhassen Legion Post 580
290 Lake Drive East
Chanhassen, MN

For more information you can contact Ron's twin sister, Rhonda at 952-934-2089. Or donations can be sent to Ron and Kathy Rice at 26224 150th St. Zimmerman, MN 55398.


UPDATE: Thanks Mitch, Captain Ed, King and the Elder for helping spread the word!
Secession Diaries

I posted a ponder last week, enouraging people to think of what would happen if the Blue States and Red States split up. Mitch took the idea all the way to full succession in a tongue and cheek look at what would happen in his right leaning world.

It is actually some pretty good stuff, as long as you keep telling yourself it is fiction. Everyone should read it since Mitch has a nack for this kind of stuff. That is why I stomach most of the other RNC talking points he tries to force down the bandwidth pipe.


Secession Diaries

Part I: Push Comes to Shove
Part II: Irrational Exuberance
Part III: Death and Taxes
Part IV: World of Hurt
Part V - Snack At Midnight
Part VI: Postcards From The Ledge
Part VII - Atlas Fled

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Sears -vs- KMart

Back in the day, I worked at Sears. I spent 10 years at the then #1 retailer. Sears was all but untouchable back then, until KMart began to grab market share with their no frills low prices marketing scheme. By the end of my tenure in the late 80's, KMart had surpassed Sears on the retailer list, and it didn't look like they were looking back at anyone.

Sears wandered haplessly, trying various formulas to regain market share and recapture a stingy consumer base. Low prices replaced great service as a deciding factor in the average consumer's mind. Sears was all but helpless in trying to elevate itself back to the elite in the retail market.

And then came Wal*Mart. Sears at least had a well defined niche, in strong brand identification (Craftsman, Kenmore, etc.) and customer service, which allowed it to survive the growth of KMart and the onslaught of WallyWord. KameApart was a sitting duck. Wal*Mart was able to create a shoppers' city with the low prices they craved, and the customer service they missed. It was the beginning of the and for KMart. . . . . or was it?

Sears trudged along over the last few years, while KMart threw up the white flag. KMart filed for bankruptcy protection while closing a large chunk of their stores. I was confident KMart would dig themselves out of the whole, all but starting from scratch, but I never expected what would happen next.

Kmart buying Sears

I had thought maybe Sears would have made a move for KMart, since KMart's value was languishing in penny stock range for awhile, but they kept their strategy to grow from within, and never made a move that could have returned it to the stature they once enjoyed.

So now it is KMart that is going for the jugular. They survived bankruptcy and are looking ahead to create a strong, stable, and vibrant retailer. They'll be smart and keep the stores separate, but what I suspect to see is the brand strength of both to be cross marketed. Craftsmen tools in KMart with Martha Stewart in the Linen department at Sears.

The new corporation is called Sears Holdings, but the management will be all KMart.

It will be interesting to see how this merger evolves, as in most cases, one store pushes it;s name across the awnings of the claimed stores. We'll see how this works out soon enough.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Who's the Smartest

Ever since the elections, blue staters are claiming intelligence over ignorance, and the red staters have been claiming real estate in the sea of red in the electoral maps.

Another ranking was released using a variety of criteria to rank the states' public school system and therefore the smarts of each state.

The Top 10 'Smartest:

1. Massachusetts
2. Connecticut
3. Vermont
4. New Jersey
5. Wisconsin
6. New York
7. Minnesota
8. Iowa
9. Pennsylvania
10. Montana

and the Bottom 10:

41. Tennessee
42. Hawaii
43. California
44. Alabama
45. Alaska
46. Louisiana
47. Mississippi
48. Arizona
49. Nevada
50. New Mexico

Just another perspective.


I have always been frustrated with the MSM and GOP portrayal of the resistance in Iraq as being foreign insurgents. I do not deny the fact that there is a level of insurgency within Iraq that can't go ignored. But this LA Times article points out the 'enemy' we now battle is more resurgents then insurgents. Only a small percentage of the 1000 catpured Iraqis are foreign fighters:
Of the more than 1,000 men between the ages of 15 and 55 who were captured in intense fighting in the center of the insurgency over the last week, just 15 are confirmed foreign fighters, Gen. George W. Casey, the top U.S. ground commander in Iraq, said Monday.
So do you think the major arm of the Right Wing Media Machine, The MSM, will start using the term Resurgents, since it is a more accurate description of the fighters we are up against. Don't hold your breath!


Monday, November 15, 2004

Mass Exodus

The grocery list keeps getting longer for the President. Several more cabinet members are high tailing it from the second term of the administration. CNN reports Powell (State), Paige (Education), Abraham (Energy) and Veneman (Agriculture) are resigning. Add that to Ashcroft (Justice) and Evans (Commerce) from last week, and you don't have much of a cabinet left.

It is not unusual for a shake up to take place leading into a second term for a President, but this seems like a wholesale make-over.

If Conodleza Rice (National Security Advisor) grabs the State post, as expected, then there will be her postion that will transition as well.

I wonder if this is part and parcel to the marching orders received at the CIA. New Director Porter Gross is reported to be under a White House directive to eliminate officers who were disloyal to Bush.

So much for an open mind and a desire to consider all possible options.

Atlantis Found

Once a year or so we get a report that some great myth of human history has been proven, We found Noah's ark, Big Foot is real, Troy is discovered, only to have the report fizzle. So yesterday I found on the CNN site "Lost city of Atlantis found?"

I don't, it makes a great headline, but it will be difficult to prove to most skeptics. We'll see.


Friday, November 12, 2004

They Have Reached a Verdict

A verdict in the Scott Peterson murder trial has been reached. It will be announced at 3:00 PM Central time. It will probably be at this link.

I can't imagine him being found guilty, without any solid evidence, but jurors are strange creatures. I was a juror in an assault case several years back, and I had the guy walking all the way up until jury instructions were given. Once the judge layed down the rule of law, and the criteria we were swarn to use to reach a decision, a guilty verdict was the only option.

I guess we'll find out Scott's fate in about an hour.


First degree murder with special Circumstances for Lacie
2nd degree murder for Connor.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

It's Unanimous

Johan's the one

Dominant in second half, Twins' Santana tops Schilling for AL Cy Young

Johan Santana led the AL in ERA (2.61) and strikeouts (265).

NEW YORK (AP) -- Johan Santana of the Minnesota Twins was a unanimous choice for the American League Cy Young Award on Thursday, rewarded for a stellar second half that helped his team win its third straight division title.

Santana went 20-6 and led the AL with a 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts, going 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break.
FANTASTIC!! I can't wait till Spring Training.

Thank You!

In Honor of Veterans' Day

To all those who are serving and have served in the protection of our freedoms I say Thank You.

Here are a few of my relatives who have served along the way:

Seth Trowbridge (4G Grampa), Revolutionary War

Ansel Eaton (GG Uncle), Civil War

GrandPa Otto WWI and WW II

Bob Dummer (Uncle), WWII

Uncle Stan Dummer Navy WWII

Uncle Lamoyne Dummer Navy WWII, Army, Viet Nam

Uncle Emery Vane Dummer Navy WWII

Uncle Jim Eaton Navy WWII

my Father, Robert Schiebel, Korea

and My Nephew, Dustin Lee Imholte.

Thanks to all those who served for your honor and courage in defense of this great nation. It is individuals like you, that allow individuals like me, to prosper in this great land!


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Name Calling

As we make the transition into a Second term for President Bush, I suspect the normal political invocations to begin. I have been called a commie so many times, that I turn my head now, thinking someone is calling me by name. But the GOP is looking at another name change by the far left of the Dem party. It looks like NeoCon was too Minnesota Nice, and the Fascism term is gaining more prominence.

Truthout has reminded us of a screed penned by then Vice President Henry A Wallace in the Spring of 1944. The New York Times asked him to answer the following three questions: What is a Fascist, How many Fascist have we, and how dangerous are they. OK, I'll cull the snippets that caught my eye, but you should read his take for the full context.

Keep in mind, this is 1944, pre D-Day, at the height of WWII
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.
The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.
Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.
The symptoms of fascist thinking are colored by environment and adapted to immediate circumstances. But always and everywhere they can be identified by their appeal to prejudice and by the desire to play upon the fears and vanities of different groups in order to gain power.
This one jumped right into my lap and sat there awhile:
The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.
I'm not calling anyone names, and don't plan to. It is easy to generalize any person or group of people and lump them into a title of your choosing. The problem the left has, is that the Right is way to good at this. I am recognzing more and more every day why, because I am bound by the truth, and the Right is confused as to what the truth really is.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hung out to dry

It looks like the Scott Peterson jury is having some struggles in their deliberation. I am convinced Scott was directly involved in the disappearance of his wife, Lacey. But the prosecution spent five months dancing in circles and the jury is probably as confused as anyone as to how this case made it to trial without all the 'W's and the 'H' answered.

Watch the jury throw up their hands by weeks end, and Scott still in custody awaiting a retrial.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Operation Phantom Fury

The battle for Falluja begins. My heart and prayers go out to the brave men and women of our armed forces as they carry out their missions.



Sunday, November 07, 2004

Stimulating the Economy

I'm doing my part. The old Grand Am was getting tired, and change was needed. We were looking at a variety of lightly used vehicles but when we considered the GMS Pricing (Family discount for GM employees and their dependents on new vehicles) it seemed silly to buy used.

So here is my effort to help the economy along. A 2005 Grand Prix. What a beaut!

Click on pic for larger image.

I needed something to sooth the soul.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Pondering out loud . . .

I am not proposing to do this literally, I just went everyone to think about this long and hard. I want you to put on your objectivity caps, and process the following scenario.

Let's have all the people who voted red, move to the Red states, and those that voted Blue, move to the Blue states.

These two new socioeconomic environments would be limited to the geography, infrastructure, and the skills sets of their individual constituencies, that are within their borders.

Think about the top 3 or 4 base demographics of each groups, and how many of them could contribute to the respective efforts. Consider how many of them there would be, and what they could do to contribute.

Recognize the full realm of possibilities within each new geo/econo/ecological dome.

See what happens when a guy get's home from work, goes out to the garage, and has a couple beers? Now i'll be thinking about this all weekend.


Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Propaganda War

Much analysis is going on around both sides of the Blog World. Why who won, how could they have lost, etc. It is an interesting, yet crucial debrief of the events over the last year or so.

Chris Dykstra, over at New Patriot, has a GREAT screed (longish, but well worth) on the propaganda machine of the Right, and how the left can take note, and learn from those who we lost to again. Here's a snippet:
America means freedom, by God. But that's just my idea of America. The day after the election of George W. Bush to his second term, that idea seems quaint. America the idea might mean freedom to me, but it is perfectly obvious to me that 51% of America has a substantially different view of America. Why is that? When the vision for America is laid out so clearly in our founding documents, has been developed over 224 years of history prior to the Bush Presidency, has been codified in 224 years of judicial decisions, why have an electoral majority of people in this country suddenly veered to the right and up the authoritarian scale? Two words:

Propaganda Machine.

In order to re-define America as a tax-free, liberal hating, Christian-Capitalist theme park in which it is perfectly acceptable to use biblical arguments in support of public policy, arrest suspects and hold them indefinitely without charging them, limit speech, control the media through the FCC, wage indefinite war (badly) against undetermined enemies, attempt to constitutionally limit the rights of millions of citizens, disenfranchise a growing class of have-nots, re-write legislative processes to favor the controlling party with the idea that the controlling party will not relinquish power, alienate nearly all of the world and generally shield the activities of the government from the scrutiny of the press and the people - in order for this agenda to be approved by the people these ideas had to be sold.

Now, that represents a real challenge. In their raw form, these ideas are generally unattractive to most Americans. So they have to be gussied up. The dress of thought, so to speak, comes in the form of packaging. Radical Legislation is gilded with emotional titles, such as "Patriot Act" for example, or "Clear Skies." The justification for war is simplified and reduced to words a child would understand and repeat. Why do they hate us? "They hate us for our freedom."

A common, tested vocabulary is established and relentlessly used by everyone on the team. Positive, sunny words related to the lives of voters are used to communicate vision when speaking about initiatives. All negative consequences are stripped from all conversation when referring to yourself, your initiatives and your party. Can you say, "Tax Relief?" Just feel the stress ease out of your body. Go ahead, say it again, "Tax Relief." There you go. Now say, "Culture of Life." Ahhhh. "Culture of Life." On the other hand, all positive references to your opponent, his initiatives, his party are removed. How about "flip-flopper" or "Liberals in Congress" or "Tax and spend Liberal" Or Big Government Program" or "Pro-Abortion" or "Activist Judges." Newt Gingrich first codified this concept (at least in US politics) in his 1994 Magnum Opus: "Language: A Key Mechanism of Control"
He missed one, which I witness the failure of many times over, The No Child Left Behind Act. That flawed piece of legislation is doing nothing but leaving children behind, but you'd be amazed at how many people don't realize that.

Read the whole thing, it is worth it.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

2008 Presidential Nominee Prediction

Since my predictions are horrid, this should scare away any hopes of this happening.

Senator Elizabeth Dole -vs- Senator Hillary Clinton

Wouldn't that be a historical redux, the spouses of the 1996 campaign go at it! And you know what, I don't think it is all that far fetched.

For me, I'll go on the record. I can't think of a single scenerio where I would vote for Hillary Clinton. Sorry, Mom, I just don't think I could do it!

President George W. Bush, Two Termer

With blogger locking me out all day, most of what I have scribbled in comment files either here or there are mute.

I did not expect Sen. Kerry to concede today, although I did expect him to acknowledge certain realities the electoral trends were showing. I did expect him to make some sort of unity speech, so I was at least half right, after being wrong on just about every other prognostication.

I'm certainly confused with the results, but have excepted them and will give the President an opportunity to finish what he started. In fact, I am still waiting on him to start working on his very first campaign promise from 2000, to unite and not divide. I hope he get's it, the country has been splintered long enough!

Congratulations to my collegues on the Right, although things didn't go well for you in Minnesota, you have plenty to gloat about!

For me, I plan on blogging still, and as often as practicle. But the next few days I will be getting back to those HoneyDo items I have neglected over the last week or so during the final flurry. Sometimes changing a radiator hose or cleaning the garage puts life into an appropriate perspective.


PS: The Doctor and I had made a bet long ago on the election. If the President one re-election, I would have to include Two Termer after his name, if he lost, he would have had to call him One Termer. Thus, the title of the post!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Quadrennial Event

The Doctor and I will be venturing out to the Victory Celebrations this evening. Our revelry may be more biannual, then quad, but two years ago was more of an exception, and not the rule.

The best time, was when both the Dems and Reps were in St. Paul, just a few blocks from each other. Made it easy to bop back and forth throughout the evening.

This year will be different. We will be starting our evening at our favorite watering hole, Rock Bottom and fueling up on some good eats and freshly brewed beverages. We have to make sure we are properly tuned for the night.

Sometime before 9:00 we'll venture a few blocks to the Minneapolis Downtown Hilton, where the DFL is gathering this year. Generally they have been in St. Paul, so I am wondering if the defection of GOP DFL Mayor Randy Kelly may have played a role in them switching to Rybak land.

We'll watch the early calls on the East coast states, including key battlegrounds of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. Several of the early closings will favor GW, so I am prepared for a little early ribbing, knowing that when the big boys come in, things will tilt back in the correct direction.

While the Doctor still has hope, we'll take a drive over to Cake Eater land where the GOP is having their regalia at the Marriott Southwest in Minnetonka. It will probably be all over by then, but we try to make it to both gatherings when logistically possible.

We have agreed to end our evening at the Party of the Victor. This works out well, as even if your side loses, you would rather be amongst positive energy then the angst of negativity. I have no doubt I will be back in Minneapolis by Midnight, to revel with my peers and enjoy the sweet nectar of victory.

No matter what, it will be a good time, and I hope to be home by 1:00, as I have a 7:00 conference and it will be hard enough getting up as it is!

I Voted for my Mom

I gave up my AM blogging time to get to the polling location first thing in the AM. I have NEVER had to stand in line before in my life. Today, it was about an hour wait. I gladly stood in line as I watched what will be the largest voter turnout in Minnesota history.

I feel those butterflies and anxiety I do at every election, but still can't fathom how the results will be anything but a Kerry Victory.

I have confidence in the intellect of the electorate, but will respect the decision of the masses.

I did write in Scott 'Big Trunk' Johnson for one of the unopposed Supreme Court seats. An impromptu write in campaign began yesterday over at Fraters yesterday, so I figured what the hey!

So I'm off to work. More later regarding my plans for this evening.


UPDATE: Welcome Frater's Folks. I'll be here tomorrow to gloat on the Kerry victory, or offer my congratulations on the re-election of George. Either way, you'll find I am more open minded then the average Lefty. I mean, I did vote for Scott, didn't I *grin*

Monday, November 01, 2004

2004 Election Prognostication

I believe this is a conservative estimate. I actually rolled back my electoral and popular number from where I believe they may be. I sincerely expect this will not be as close as the race has been. Bottom line, Kerry wins handily in the elctoral college, with a possibility of Bush squeaking by in the popular vote. But if the turnout is anywhere near as high as they expect, GW won't have a chance!

Here goes!

Popular Vote

48.9 Bush
48.8 Kerry

Electoral Vote

295 Kerry
243 Bush


Ohio AND Florida go Kerry
Hawaii Goes Bush

When will we know

By Midnight Central we'll have a pretty good handle on our new reality. Although the race is tight going in, I really believe this will be a more traditional Election night, with most of us being able to go to bed at a reasonable hour, knowing the outcome.

New Senate

49 R
50 D
1 I

New House of Representatives

219 R
216 D
001 I


Kerry will win Minnesota by 5-7 point, surpassing Gore's performance. The Congressional makeup will remain the same, with the closest of the bunch being the Kline/Daly race in the 2nd district. Kline will still will by 5-7 points.

The Washington Post listed predictions from 13 popular political strategists/pundits that you may find interesting. Most are homer picks, but Tucker Carlson shows his growing unease by predicting a Kerry Victory. Take a peak if you haven't seen it yet.


Sunday, October 31, 2004

Making the Rounds

A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican
By John Gray Cincinnati, Ohio - July - 2004

Printable version: Click here!

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some liberal fought to insure their safety and work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to call the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should loose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time, Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae underwritten Mortgage and his below market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his life-time.

Joe is home from work, he plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dads; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electric until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home. He turns on a radio talk show, the host’s keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day) Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have”.
I still believe we need to evaluate how much it is government's job to provide for us. But I also wonder how many times a Middle Class Republican sits down and counts their blessings that the Democrats were there for THEM, and not the fat cats and big businesses!

I have confidence in the intellect of the electorate, and look forward to Tuesday evening, as the returns come rolling in.

Hope is on the way! . . . . My predictions tomorrow!


Friday, October 29, 2004

Minnesota's Democratic and Republican electors

From this morning's STRIB
Depending on the outcome of Tuesday's election, one of these groups will be called on Dec. 13 to award Minnesota's 10 electoral votes. If Kerry gets more votes next week, the DFL electors will be called on; if Bush prevails, Republican electors will vote in Minnesota for the first time since 1972.

DFL Party electors

Sonja Berg, St. Cloud
Vi Grooms-Alban, Cohasset
Matthew Little, Maplewood
Michael Meuers, Bemidji
Tim O'Brien, Edina
Lil Ortendahl, Osakis
Everett Pettiford, Minneapolis
Jean Schiebel, Brooklyn Center GO MOM!!!
Frank Simon, Chaska
Chandler Harrison Stevens, Austin

Republican Party electors

George Cable, Lindstrom
Jeffrey Carnes, St. Paul
Ron Eibensteiner, Minneapolis
Angela Erhard, Eden Prairie
Eileen Fiore, Andover
Walter Klaus, Farmington
Michelle Rifenberg, La Crescent
Judie Rosendahl, Madison
Lyall Schwarzkopf, Minneapolis
Armin Tesch, Waldorf


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Who are the Electors

In a follow up to yesterday's post, I want to share a brief E-Mail exchange I had with my Mom last night.

She received a phone call from an AP reporter, checking for voter' 'loyalty. It seemed strange to me, at first, that they would be calling a lifelong DFLer like my Mother, but then I found out why. She is a 2004 Kerry Elector, one of 10 in the state of Minnesota. The reporter was checking to see if there was any movement possible within the slate of electors currently assigned to each party.

That she got the call was cool, to find out my Mom is an Elector was gratifying. A staunch, grassroots, hardworking, multi tasking, Democrat like this more then deserves the honor of actually being able to cast a vote for the President himself. All we are stuck doing, is voting for a slate of Electors, and this year, I'll be voting for my Mom!

Congratulations, Mom!!! You've earned it!

So now it is up to US, to give her the chance to cast her vote, and place Minnesota in the Kerry Column. Polls are nothing more then a picture in time, it is the votes counted on Election day that matter, so GOTV!


UPDATE: The Elector List in Mr. Fixit's column the other day was 2000 Electors. The Strib will be publishing the full slate of Electors from the GOP and DFL on Page 2A of this weekend's Sunday edition.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


The Blogging Caesar, a Righty Tightie blog, has his current electoral projection at 269-269. If you thought 2000 was a nightmare, can you imagine what a tie would do to whomever is ultimately inaugurated.

The Detroit Free Press has a quick Electoral College Q & A the handles the basics.

Bottom line, the House elects the President by a simple majority of state delegations (each state gets one vote) and the Senate chooses the Vice President. This would be the newly elected 109th Congress, not the current congress.

The division and bitterness we have endured over the last almost 4 years occurred due to a contested election and a Supreme Court ruling. I can't begin to imagine the division and awkwardness if Congress were to choose the next administration.

Can you imagine Kerry/Cheney, or Bush/Edwards, serving the next four years. Unlikely, but certainly possible.


UPDATE: CNN posted it's own story: Electoral College tie could be mother of all messes