Monday, March 29, 2004

Frist (R-Shameless)

From Atrios:

So after Frist's damning spiel on the senate floor last week:
I am troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their service as a government insider with access to our nation's most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001.
It turns out he must have been talking about himself:
When Every Moment Counts: What You Need to Know About Bioterrorism from the Senate's Only Doctor; by Bill Frist
Where do I begin

I have a couple things brewing in my head. Although Spring break this week should give me ample time to kick out some good stuff, the Honey Do list is quite long. I do have two things I hope to touch on this week.

A) The Northern Axis Radio, and the group of Rush wannabes with their RNC talking points. I really was hoping for a more independent, objective look at the world's happenings. Instead, it is just a bunch of retreaded one-liners from a group of hacks! Sorry, Mitch, I guess my expectations were too high!

B) What are they afraid of. The White House and the attack dogs continue to dodge the facts, and the premise of the 9/11 commission. It is almost like they are trying to 'hide' something. Hmmmmm!

Hopefully, more later in the week


Wednesday, March 24, 2004

An Apology
"Your government failed you.  Those entrusted with protecting you failed you.  I failed you.  We tried hard, but we failed you...I ask for your understanding, and your forgiveness."
Richard Clarke, 3/24/04, as part of his opening statement to the 9/11 commission

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Krugman editorial

Paul Krugman, at the New York Times, touched on some of the Clarke bashing I talked about yesterday. A couple things that jumped out at me:
It's important, when you read the inevitable attempts to impugn the character of the latest whistle-blower, to realize just how risky it is to reveal awkward truths about the Bush administration. When Gen. Eric Shinseki told Congress that postwar Iraq would require a large occupation force, that was the end of his military career. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV revealed that the 2003 State of the Union speech contained information known to be false, someone in the White House destroyed his wife's career by revealing that she was a C.I.A. operative. And we now know that Richard Foster, the Medicare system's chief actuary, was threatened with dismissal if he revealed to Congress the likely cost of the administration's prescription drug plan.

The latest insider to come forth, of course, is Richard Clarke
It takes more courage to speak against, then it does to just ride the wave. This week will be a long week for the GW administration. They can take their lumps and come clean, or continue the cat and mouse game. They can scratch their head all they want in trying to figure out why their once loyal aides are now doing a 180. But what they are really missing, is the reason, and Krugman points it out well:
So why did he (Clarke) write it? How about this: Maybe he just wanted the public to know the truth.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Who's next

Mitch over at Shot in the Dark is once again joining forces with the RNC to discredit another one of Bush's trusted aides who is coming out against the administration. Clarke has been with multiple administrations, voted for Bush, and now is as fed up as many of us about the 'They just don't want to get it' White House.

I won't belabor the story itself. You can read the various links here as provided by Bush Watch:
Bush Pressed For Iraq-9/11 Link: Advisor
Bush Ex-couterterrorism adviser says Bush doing 'terrible job' on terror
Bush Adviser says Bush ignored terror threats before 9/11
"Former anti-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke exposes White House's criminal negligence"
Bush has made US less safe: ex-aide
'Bush ignored the al-Qa'ida threat before 11 September'
Bush ignored terror threat, claims ex-aide

At some point, the Right is going to have to recognize that this administration has made grave mistakes in protecting this country and forging ahead with the war on terror. They will have to admit their mistakes, attempt to restore credibility in the world community, and begin taking the steps necessary to protect the people.

Mr Clarke echoed the same things Paul O'Neil had expressed. This administration can not continue to bash every former administration official who wants to come clean on these vital issues. By doing so, the administration only puts into perspective their inability to choose quality people within their own administration

At some point, the judgment of GW will come into play, for at this point, it is a lose lose. Either he doesn't do a very good job of picking the people who surround him, or the people who surround him are doing a better job then he expected. He shouldn't just fire them when things don't go his way.

Oh . . . I'm sure there will be more on this.


UPDATE: Here is some biographical information.

Clarke had 30 years of public service, and did admit he "probably" shares some of the blame for 9/11.

This is from
Mr. Richard A. Clarke  was appointed by President Clinton as the first National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism in May 1998.  As National Coordinator, he reports to the President through the National Security Advisor, and, when the NSC Principles Committee meets on security issues, he serves as a full member of that Cabinet-level committee.  Richard Clarke is a career member of the Senior Executive Service, having begun his federal service in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as an analyst on nuclear weapons and European security issues.  He joined the State Department in 1979 as the senior analyst for the NATO decision to engage in theater nuclear arms control and to deploy nuclear cruise missiles in Europe.  In the Reagan Administration, Mr. Clarke was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence.  In the Bush Administration, he as the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs.   In 1992, Mr. Clarke joined the National Security Council staff. 

Friday, March 19, 2004

The French fight back

This is an AP story bouncing around out there, Headline reads:

Bin Laden look-alike eludes French motorist

The lead:

A French artist allegedly traumatized by last week’s Spain bombings was convicted of trying to run over a pedestrian he mistook for Osama bin Laden and ordered to pay the man $615.

Ya gotta give them at least an 'E' for effort!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Is this for Real

This is too bizare. I wonder who thought 'they' were on Kerry's list.

You really have to read it in context, but here is the punch:

The statement said it supported U.S. President George W. Bush in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry, as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Spain and the war on Terror

I have been conspicuously quiet over the last few days. I've been weighing the events in Europe with how they effect the future of our goals in Iraq.

What happened in Spain, to Spain, was awful and ruthless. The enormous amount of defiance shown afterwards was as much part of the story as the bombing itself. Millions and millions of Spaniards defiantly raising their collective middle fingers to the terrorists in a show of national unity.

And then they went to the polls. The current Conservative Party had been leading in the polls going in, even though 90% of the people weren't all that thrilled about involvement with the US and the war on terror. At the end of the day, the people switched, and elected the "Socialist" party.

Is this a victory for terrorists, I suppose one could score it that way. Are the terrorists foolish enough to believe that the same tactic would work here, on our soil, probably. But then Mitch posts this, specifically:
And Kerry is the fool's candidate. A vote for John Kerry is a vote for letting the terrorists control the place, time, and agenda of the war on terror.
Like last weekend's vote in Spain - it's a vote for surrender.
How preposterous. Why does the Right insist on turning every thing into a name calling party, bashing the other side? Why do they continue to go negative and avoid the issues? Why do they simply refuse to recognize that a vote for Kerry is clearly not a White Flag? Sorry, it is really annoying for them to think that their way is the only way.

The Bush policies have created a void in our foreign policy relations that has built a new front for the terrorists to fight. The fragile nature of the 'coalition of the willing' will be taken advantage of, and other countries are in jeopardy.

Sorry Mitch, the Cowboy has made grave errors in this battle, and through deception had built a week coalition of support. The coalition is crumbling because it was never that strong. The people around the world can not take America for their word anymore. The current administration blew it, and there is nothing they can do at this point to change that.

The only way America will be successful in this battle is to regain the credibility we once had, that has since been destroyed over the last few years.

The American people will vote for a change. They will look for someone to return international credibility to the White House and our foreign policy.

If the GOP wants to be in the game, they better start to scramble now looking for a nominee. A vote for GW will not be a vote for credibility, and all that will be left in his column is the base, which won't be enough.

One Termer!


[UPDATE] I was directed to this piece that shares their own take on the events in Spain, and the following electoral results. Of many qualifying statements in the article, was this observation:
The Aznar government dragged Spain into the war against Iraq and the subsequent occupation even though 91% of Spaniards opposed it. It is only logical that the voters would take the first opportunity to rebuke the Popular Party for ignoring popular opinion. Although it keeps being said that the conservatives were leading in the polls before the Madrid bombings, polls are notoriously unreliable. Polls once suggested Dewey would beat Truman, too. I think the conservatives were doomed all along, and the polling just wasn't showing how unhappy people were.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Catching Up

Tons of stuff going on in my real world lately. Sometimes you just need to put the ole Net on the back burner.

Refinancing the house again. I did it a couple years ago, at 6 3/8, which was a steal at the time. We almost did last fall when the rates were bottoming out, but we were so convinced we were going to move, that we let that opportunity slide. After some heavy sole searching, we have decided to stay put and research another refi to take advantage of the most recent dip in the rates.

At the time, I was offered 4 5/8, which was pretty darn good. When the jobs report came out later that day, with lower then expected results, I decided to hold off. Great move on my part. Rates have dropped another half point, so I pulled the trigger and locked at 4 3/8 on a 15 year fixed.

So. I'll be finishing up the document nightmare, and putting together the necessary paperwork. I am dealing with the same guy I did last time, so that is saving me some origination cost, and doc work, but it is still a hassle.

If you ever need a Refi Guy, this is the guy. Turnaround last time was 13 days (that is 13 calendar days) from Lock. I locked Tuesday of this week, and the Appraiser will be out this afternoon already.

I may even close by the end of next week. Let me know if you want me to put you in touch with him (anokaflash - at - )

Have a GREAT weekend


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Wilson Redux

About a month ago, the staff I work with was informed of the impending demise of our Junior High program. The 10 schools Minneapolis wanted to close dwarfed the news.

Since then, Minneapolis has rescinded their threat, and is doing a full district evaluation, which will undoubtedly propose cuts the following year. The difference, is that NOW the decision will be based on best available information, and community input.

St. Paul, on the other hand, just provides lips service. All they talk about is how sorry they are, how unfortunate it is, and there is nothing we can do. The claimed here is no where else to cut.

And then this:

Members of the St. Paul school board on Tuesday considered a plan to expand bus service across the city for its 20 neighborhood schools, in effect making it possible for parents to choose a school for their children regardless of where they live.

The plan, sure to draw fire at a time when the school district has had to wrestle with shrinking budgets and dropping enrollments, has a preliminary estimate of $3.2 million to $3.4 million, said Kent Pekel, St. Paul schools executive director of strategic planning and implementation.

So 6 weeks ago, they WERE in a budget pickle, and had to go as far as close my school to save $500,000. NOW they are proposing a 3+++ Million-dollar expansion of the biggest money sucker in the district, Transportation.

For those of you who read my "Open Letter to the School Board" (You may have to scroll down), you'll see I went beyond typical liberal whining. I proposed solutions, reasonable and effective solutions:

Every school has their own busses, and if a neighborhood has students attending each of the schools of choice, that many busses will be driving down the street of that neighborhood.
How can we save money here;

1) Preserving Neighborhood schools: If more students were attending schools closer to their home, less busses. The Hamline/Midway community may now have another couple buses driving through our residential streets to transport our neighborhood kids to another community.

2) Hub System: A hub system could be developed that would significantly reduce the number of busses on the road. We could consider having Arlington and Central, for example, be designated transportation hubs. Each neighborhood would have only one bus driving through it, picking up students to bring them to the hub locations. At the hub, these same busses would now have a school designation, and student would transfer to the necessary bus to get them to their final destination. Sure, there are a multitude of logistical things to consider, but I can imagine the opposition to Magnet schools when the Transportation piece was being discussed and evaluated.

3) Regional Choice: Currently, there are 5 area Superintendents. Areas A, B, and C include the traditional schools that encompass the school district. Choice can still be provided, but the choices could be limited to the schools within your Area, be at A, B, or C. This would build community, limit transportation miles, and undoubtedly save money.

The School Board, however, seems to be heading in the opposite direction with no hope for Wilson in sight! This clearly leads me to believe the decision to close Wilson has nothing to do with money. However, that is the easiest excuse to feed the populace, and hope they have a short attention span.

This isn't over yet!


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

A Kos toke

The TRUE Waffle King was revealed this past Weekend on the dailyKos (Kos is pronounced with a long O sound, BTW).

Here is the list:
* Bush is against campaign finance reform; then he's for it.
* Bush is against a Homeland Security Department; then he's for it.
* Bush is against a 9/11 commission; then he's for it.
* Bush is against an Iraq WMD investigation; then he's for it.
* Bush is against nation building; then he's for it.
* Bush is against deficits; then he's for them.
* Bush is for free trade; then he's for tariffs on steel; then he's against them again.
* Bush is against the U.S. taking a role in the Israeli Palestinian conflict; then he pushes for a "road map" and a Palestinian State.
* Bush is for states right to decide on gay marriage, then he is for changing the constitution.
* Bush first says he'll provide money for first responders (fire, police, emergency), then he doesn't.
* Bush first says that 'help is on the way' to the military ... then he cuts benefits
* Bush-"The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. Bush-"I don't know where he is. I have no idea and I really don't care.
* Bush claims to be in favor of the environment and then secretly starts drilling on Padre Island.
* Bush talks about helping education and increases mandates while cutting funding.
* Bush first says the U.S. won't negotiate with North Korea. Now he will
* Bush goes to Bob Jones University. Then say's he shouldn't have.
* Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq. Later Bush announced he would not call for a vote
* Bush said the "mission accomplished" banner was put up by the sailors.  Bush later admits it was his advance team.
* Bush was for fingerprinting and photographing Mexicans who enter the US. Bush after meeting with Pres. Fox, he's against it.

Many added more. You should read the comments here. It is GREAT fodder!
Credibility Gap

This is not a Left or Right post, it isn't even a slam on the administration or a pining for the presumptive nominee. It is an observation of concern that the Right should be evaluating, or this election will be a walk for Kerry/Clark. This administration can not continue to play smoke and mirrors with the War and with the Economy, if it expects to win in November.

Jeff Fecke steered me to one of the best graphics relating to job loss. Each time the Administration pushed through tax cuts, they touted the job dividend in their February Economic report, and each time it failed miserably short. The first time could be considered an anomaly, the second just a freak of numbers, but the latest, and now month to month under estimates. WHY, why, would they continue to destroy their own credibility by continuing to present numbers, which are baseless and unattainable? At this rate, even if their numbers do come through for a month, they won’t be given the respect they probably deserve.

As with WMD, or lack there of, GW43 and the rest of his administration are losing steam and Quality Cred by grasping onto a blinded view of mainstream America. Like I mentioned to 'The Doctor' yesterday, the Left is not the enemy in this election, it is the RNC for continuing to think this election can be run like in the past.

I believe this years' electorate will be the most informed group of voters in history, and they will be able to read through the slime, and the mud, brutal attacks that will come from both sides. They will base their decision on the facts, and as longs as GW continues to misrepresent them, the populace will grow weary, and legitimately question his sincerity. That, will be the wooden spike, the silver bullet, the end . . . of GW43.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Up Next

It will be a weird week. I need to finish up inventory at school. Most of the 'stuff' we have has been bought from various programs; Title I, ELL, Grants, etc. Each one has their own ways and rules to transfer equipment following the demise of a program. Kind of like a bureaucracy within the bureaucracy.

Anywho, I have a few things up my sleave, most notably a piece on the credibility gap that Bushco is stumbling through this election with. At some point they will have to start being sincere with the American Populace, and when that happens, the perceived waffling of Kerry will become moot.

Stay tuned . . . .


Saturday, March 06, 2004


Congrats to the Northern Alliance Radio Network for their inaugural effort on Saturday.

I caught most of the first hour, and a good chunk of the last hour. What they need is balance. Maybe I'll call next week.


Thursday, March 04, 2004

It's GW's to lose

I continue to grow weary of the arrogance and blatant ignorance of this present administration. Most recently, listening to Karen Hughes try to defend the Warm Fuzzy ads that GW has started running today. The furor they have already created for using dead victims of 9/11 for political gain. I wouldn't be surprised if that particular ad is pulled. At this point, it is a lose - lose since leaving it up will continue to show the heartless inconsideration of this current administration, and by pulling it, will admit the heartless inconsideration of this current administration.

Do I think that 9/11 is fair game for GW. You bet! I expected a tie in. He performed admirably, as any President would have, during this awkward and difficult time. He has every right to use that moment to his advantage to display his claim of Strength and Leadership, but to show bodies being pulled out of the rubble in his Political Ads crossed the line. All this has shown is how insensitive he is, and how out of touch with the mainstream he can be.

The RNC keeps complaining that all the Dems have done over the primary season is shown a relentless hatred and anger for this current administration. They grasp that as a way to claim a 'lack of leadership and vision' for this country. Rather then spin it like that, I would think they would try to decipher WHY there is so much hatred and anger towards GW. If they do not even attempt to address the ISSUES, this election will be a run away, a run away from GW.

The best strategy for the DNC right now is to simply keep their mouths shut, for every time the Right steps up to the plate lately, they strike out. All one needs to win a game like that, is to walk in a batter.

I am not as confident as some that Kerry/Clark will WIN the presidency, but I am becoming more convinced, that GW will lose, and lose badly.


Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Off to the Prom

Kerry is it, only catastrophe will derail him now. Jeff Fecke at the Blog of the Moderate Left has been doing a great job blazing the primary trail. His final analysis is worthy of a read.

For the record, I cast my support behind Edwards, as well, but have no problem with Kerry. I still think a Kerry/Clark ticket is more likely then a Kerry/Edwards, but that is several weeks down the road.

Kerry will stay in the press as he creates a Veep search committee and defends himself from the Cherry Pickers. will assist in putting out those fires.

On to Boston!!


Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Cherry Pickin'

A favorite game of politicians in battle is to parse votes that may cast a bad light on their opponent's candidacy. They also like to take decisions made years ago, and pull them out of the context of the time, and apply them to today. Here, let's try some examples:

After completing 20 planes for which we have begun procurement, we will shut down further production of the B-2 bomber. We will cancel the small ICBM program. We will cease production of new warheads for our sea-based ballistic missiles. We will stop all new production of the Peacekeeper [MX] missile. And we will not purchase any more advanced cruise missiles. … The reductions I have approved will save us an additional $50 billion over the next five years. By 1997 we will have cut defense by 30 percent since I took office.

Hmmmm . . would you believe that is George41 in his 1992 State of the Union Speech.

Oh, this one made me chuckle, too:
Congress has let me cancel a few programs. But you've squabbled and sometimes bickered and horse-traded and ended up forcing me to spend money on weapons that don't fill a vital need in these times of tight budgets and new requirements. … You've directed me to buy more M-1s, F-14s, and F-16s—all great systems … but we have enough of them.

You guessed it, Our current Vice President, then Defense Secretary whining about the Democratically controlled congress.

Even Dizzy Gillespie (Ooops, sorry, no name calling week) claimed that Kerry voted to cut 1.5 billion from the intelligence budget. Technically, correct, but in reality, it was rescinding the appropriation of money to operate a spy satellite that was never launched. Sounds more like fiscal responsibility to me, something this current administration could take a class or two on.

So be leery of the Cherry Pickers. The GOP will be marching out votes on defense cuts that THEY THEMSELVES proposed and supported. The DNC played dead on this tactic four years ago, they best not drop the ball again.

Although, the way things are going now, they wouldn't even have to run a campaign, GW is doing a fine job in raising the White Flag all on his own.

Read the whole article here, courtesy of Slate
It's time to Caucus

I am leaning Edwards, it is the best fit for me at this point. His biggest downfall is Foreign Policy. We have seen what lack of legitimate Defense and Foreign Policy experience can do when you look at the quagmire the current adminsitration has got us in to.

If you need guidance on the Process, the Secretary Of State offices have information here

Monday, March 01, 2004

No mas

It's the First annual No Name Calling Week

What is No Name-Calling Week?

The first annual No Name-Calling Week will take place March 1 – 5, 2004. No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.

At least for a week I may hear the Junior High bantor "Shut up", "No YOU shut up!", "No YOU shut up!", "No YOU shut up!", "No YOU shut up!" . . . a little less often.

So let's honor this week and make a pledge. Let's park, hamster, moonbat, wingnut, clueless, arrogant, inept, and all the other venom that can be spewed over this bandwidth. Let's stick to the issues, at least for a week.

First sign of Spring

I tapped my first keg of the year this weekend. I have a gutted out Fridge with the necessary tubing, tap, and regulator, so that a 16 g Keg slides right in. The freezer does a nice job of frostiing the mugs for me.

Long time resident, Jerry, 2nd generation in his home next door, stopped by. Also, Mitch helped innaugurate the season.

For the record, I didn't tap till Mid March last year, but began the 2002 season on Feb 14.