Thursday, December 29, 2005

It only takes one!

The questions is, how many liberals does it take to destroy a positive news cycle. And his name is Jay Benanav!
Benanav, whose ward includes the University of St. Thomas and Hamline University, is researching whether the city should charge institutions of higher education a per-student fee of $25 to pay for police and fire services. State law exempts schools and other nonprofit organizations from paying property taxes.
Probably THE most ridiculous proposal he has ever made, and that was a challenge for even him to meet.

Let's hope this one spirals down the drain spout quickly!


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Complete Denial

I've stayed out of the Special election fray up in St. Cloud. First there was the Governor choosing a date right around the Holidays that some speculated was a ploy to disenfranchise Student voters away for the Holidays. Then the one, two punch of the GOP candidates, one claiming residency that didn't exist, and the other doctoring photos to create a rally for him that didn't happen, and a family from thin air. So it was no surprise when I saw the results this AM, showing the DFL swept the races:
Senate District 15 results
Ind DAN BECKER 826 6.96
GOP DAN "OX" OCHSNER 4422 37.26
WRITE-IN** 47 0.40

House 15B Results
DFL LARRY HAWS 3579 70.86
WRITE-IN** 150 2.97
GOP KAY EK** 1322 26.17
But in the STRIB article this AM, the Right had the spin cycle in overdrive!
"I think the Ek situation caused confusion among the voters," state Republican spokesman Mark Drake said after Ochsner conceded the election to Clark. "It drowned out the message that Clark is a liberal who is out of touch with the district."
So your guys get busted, the constituency demands a little honesty and respect, and you say THEY'RE out of touch.

The attention that was focused on these races, specifically the Ek factor, created a perfect environment for voters to properly review the candidates and make decisions that they felt were in the best interest of their future. If some of the traditional conservative voters opted for a candidate based on integrity rather then ideology, then it is the GOP that must look within itself. Talk about being out of touch!

The State's Right leaning machine has a lot of soul searching to do as we enter 2006. The power of incumbency may be more of a hindrance then a help.

2006 is going to be an exciting year for Minnesota Politics. Stay tuned!


Saturday, December 24, 2005

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.
Merry Christmas and have a safe and joyous Holiday Weekend!


Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Marine got Married

CONGRATULATIONS, to my Son on his nuptials yesterday! I wish him and his blushing bride all the best in their future, and safe travels during their service to our country.

No little ones in the plans for now, so I will be spared the Grampa moniker for a little while yet.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Presidential Reversal, or simple Deception?!?

God ole Fast Eddie was playing a sound bite of a campaign Grip and Grin from Buffalo, NY from April 2004. From the White House Transcript
"(A)ny time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."
Seems like the President and I were on the same page back then, but for some reason he has changed his mind. Anything short of that would simply mean he was saying one thing, but doing the complete opposite.

So which is it Mr. President; "When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. (April 2004)" or "I keep saying that . . . it requires quick action. And without revealing the operating details of our program, I just want to assure the American people that, one, I've got the authority to do this (December 2005).

I'd just like to know. Anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone!


I Can See You!

The President continued his propaganda campaign to gather support for his flawed efforts in Iraq. Yes, I was for the invasion of Iraq; Yes, I feel I may have been duped by the sales job of the administration and it's cherry picking of intelligence to support their desire to invade Iraq; Yes, I feel that everyone is better off without a SoDamn Who's Insane running a country in a vulnerable area of the world, and yes, I feel we must stay until Iraq is secure and Iraqi's are in control of their own destiny. But none of that means anything if the President can make up his own rules as he goes along.

But after a week of barnstorming ending in a prime time Sunday evening speech to the American People (viewed all over the world) and a press conference addressing specifics of his covert operations, the popularity polls have blipped up, for the time being. Rasmussen polls were hovering in the low 40's for quite sometime, but have been in the mid 40's as of late.
Forty-six percent (46%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.
For the month of December, The President's high water mark was 47% on December 4th, with his low point of 43% registering just a few days later on December 9. This clearly shows a volatility of the opinions of Americans, and suggests that any brief bump after the latest inundation of face time, will be brief.

A stickler for the President could be his authorization of surveillance without court order. I thought the most important question in the press conference was this tidbit:
Mr. President. Getting back to the domestic spying issue for a moment. According to FISA's own records, it's received nearly 19,000 requests for wiretaps or search warrants since 1979, rejected just five of them. It also operates in secret, so security shouldn't be a concern, and it can be applied retroactively. Given such a powerful tool of law enforcement is at your disposal, sir, why did you see fit to sidetrack that process?
19,000 requests with only FIVE rejections. And there actually an opportunity for retroactive authorization built into the law. So what is the difference between this practice and the desire of the President to work outside the letter of the law? The President;s response:
We used the process to monitor. But also, this is a different -- a different era, a different war, Stretch. So what we're -- people are changing phone numbers and phone calls, and they're moving quick. And we've got to be able to detect and prevent. I keep saying that, but this is a -- it requires quick action.
Which, I assume, is the primary reason the current law allows for retroactive authorization.
And without revealing the operating details of our program,
FISA operates in secret, so the operation is still protected.
I just want to assure the American people that, one, I've got the authority to do this;
but there is no need to use this authority since the law provides you with all the tools you need to do the same.
two, it is a necessary part of my job to protect you;
sure, but know need to make up your own rules to do it when the current set of procedures allows for the same protections.
and, three, we're guarding your civil liberties.
Not if you are circumventing the law to spy on citizens without proper legal clearance.
And we're guarding the civil liberties by monitoring the program on a regular basis, by having the folks at NSA, the legal team, as well as the inspector general, monitor the program, and we're briefing Congress. This is a part of our effort to protect the American people. The American people expect us to protect them and protect their civil liberties. I'm going to do that. That's my job, and I'm going to continue doing my job.
But your oath, Mr. President is to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", and frankly, peeking into people's worlds with out legal authorization is just plain creepy. There are policies, processes and procedures built into the current system that will allow the administration to do exactly what they are doing right now, without skipping a beat. What they are doing instead is pure power mongering arrogance, and I believe the American people will see right through it.

But that's just me!


Blogger Bash

Good times were had by all. Several (w/Pics) of the MOB members have already posted write-ups, so I won't bore you. Of course, since it is Tuesday, it is all old news anyway. You would think that having two weeks off would give me some extra blog time, but the plate is pretty full this week. Don't worry, though, I'll be checking in often,


Friday, December 16, 2005

'West Wing' Star Dies

CNN reports:
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- John Spencer, who played a dedicated politico on "The West Wing" who survived a serious illness to run for vice president, died of a heart attack Friday, his publicist said.

Spencer, 58, died at a Los Angeles hospital, said publicist Ron Hofmann. He would have been 59 next week.

Spencer played Leo McGarry, the chief of staff to President Jeb Bartlet (Martin Sheen) through the first few seasons of the NBC series. In a sad parallel to life, his character suffered a heart attack that forced him to give up his White House job.
Holy moly! I loved the Leo McGarry character! He provided sanity to a busy and hectic oval office. With his status as the Democratic nominee for Veep, this could make for some interesting plot twists. Of course, if the GOP candidate (played by Alan Alda) takes the prize, it will be uneventful.

Anyone who ever wanted a peek inside the inner workings of the oval office really needs to watch this show. Especially now, since Leo is gone, and there isn't much time to experience it.


Married to the MOB!

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the Winter meeting of the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers. OK, not really a meeting, more of a formal, yet informal, gathering of like minded, ok not all like minded, individuals. Bloggers, mostly of the Red variety (A very DARK Red), will converge on Keagan's in merriment to celebrate whatever they choose to celebrate. But everyone and anyone is invited.

Festivities begin at 5:ish and end, well, Mitch said it best:
The party starts at 5PM, and lasts until J.B. Doubtless climbs up on the bar and sings "Hungry Heart".
I hear from reliable sources I may not be the only admitted Left leaner at the gathering, so that should spare me from being cornered and then tag teamed into submission. But in reality, these events turn out to be more apolitical, and the conversations take on a more personal flavor, rather then political ones.

I have a debt to pay, so I'll be there in my black Minnesota Brass, Inc. Jacket. And whether you're a blog writer, reader, or both, stop on down and put faces to names. We really are a pretty nice bunch of folks, even though it doesn't always look that way.

Hopefully I'll see you there. Mitch has the skinny.


PS: GiGi, I dare ya!! *laughing*

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The 'Das Booty' Four

After dodging more serious offenses, charges have been filed:
Four Minnesota Vikings, including quarterback Daunte Culpepper, were charged today with misdemeanors alleging lewd or indecent conduct in connection with a party on Lake Minnetonka in October.

The other players charged were tackle Bryant McKinnie, running back Moe Williams and cornerback Fred Smoot, who was one of the organizers of the annual party put on by a first-year player from the team.
This couldn't come at a worse time for the team. The Vikings biggest test of their come from no where season is against a resurgent Pittsburgh team which is as desperate for a win to keep their playoff hopes alive as the Vikings are. But being held accountable for criminal behaviors knows no time line.

Hit the STRIB link above for more details. I try to run a clean blog here.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"I am responsible" - Pres. Bush

WOW! The President's handlers finally realized what it will take to turn his pathetic approval numbers into something to campaign on for the mid-terms:
It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong," Bush said during his fourth and final speech before Thursday's vote for Iraq's parliament. "As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq. And I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we're doing just that."

"My decision to remove Saddam Hussein was the right decision," the president said. "Saddam was a threat and the American people, and the world is better off because he is no longer in power."
It's like he almost admitted making a mistake . . . almost!


After Several Baby Steps, a Leap!

Tomorrow, the balloting for the Iraq Parliament begins. It shouldn't matter what your political color (Red, Blue, or Purple) is, I hope you are all with me in full support of a successful election and the installation of the new Iraqi Parliament. CNN has more:
Iraqis started the year with a transitional assembly election. They voted for a constitution in October. And on Thursday they will cap their tumultuous year when many are expected to vote for a full four-year parliament.

On a main road in Sunni Aadhamiya, teenagers broke away from a soccer game to voice support for former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a Shi'ite, Reuters reported.

"Ayad Allawi. Ayad Allawi. Ayad Allawi. We want Allawi," Reuters quoted Ahmed Khaled as saying. "He is a hero, and I am a wrestling champion."
Iraq is evolving into a much better neighbor and global citizen. We can argue whether or not the President lied us into this conflict (I like to think of it as a self fulfilled prophecy). He has much to answer to regarding the intelligence that did not support his claims of WMD's, his primary argument for militaristic intervention. But I don't think any objective mind can ignore the fact that the Arab peninsula is better off with a Democratic Iraq, rather then a dictatorial regime that brutalized it's on people into conformity.

Cheers to the Iraqi people for their transition in taking a lead roll in their own future. Cheers to the administration for staying the course and doing what is necessary to ensure successful elections, and cheers to the political opposition for keeping the administration in check.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005


A co-founder of the Crips, Tookie Williams was executed this morning, his appeals exhausted, and his pleas of being a different man ignored:
Stanley Tookie Williams -- the co-founder of the violent Crips street gang who became an anti-gang crusader while on death row -- died by lethal injection early Tuesday for the 1979 killings of four people in two Los Angles robberies.

Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the unofficial time of death was 12:35 a.m. (3:35 a.m. ET).

Williams, 51, while acknowledging he had a violent past, had maintained he was innocent in the slayings.
I shed no tear for Tookie, as he refused to take responsibility for his actions, and the violent past that brought him into San Quentin's death chamber. His storied involving that evening have changed, and his claim of innocence evolved. I share with Mitch the discomfort of carrying out the ultimate punishment when considering the possibility of executing an innocent man, but that was not the case here.

However, there is another case that is beginning to gains some attention, and this man is also sitting on death row. (via BotML)
The Cory Maye case is just about the ugliest nexus of race, civil rights violations, southern juries and our criminal justice system that I can think of.
Let's summarize: Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.
The Maye case sees no political boundaries. Bloggers of all stripes and colors are presenting what appears on the service to be a travesty. It's not very often the Left, Right, and Libertarians can join hands and fight a common cause. When that happens you almost have to take notice. This is definitely a case that everyone should notice. Let's push this one out there so at least those in a position to right and potential wrongs here can have the time to do their work.


MORE: Probably the best information on this case can be found at The Agitator. There are mutiple posts there, so be sure to scroll around, but this one has PDF links to key legal documents and other crucial information.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Saturday Obits

The country has lost two individuals who will forever be carved in our culture.

A GREAT Statesman in Eugene McCarthy, and a GREAT comedian in Richard Pryor.

May they rest in peace.


Friday, December 09, 2005

DINO Dines with Rummy

I have been following the Raw Story's push of the meme that Rumsfield may resign with a Drudge Report kind of reservation. They have been 'reporting' that the leading candidate to succeed him is non other then 2000 VP Candidate Sen. Joe Lieberman. Sen. JoeMentum was my early choice for the Dem nod in 2004, but his continued movement to the Right has been taking Zell Miller strides.

But now the story is bleeding into the main stream press with this tidbit:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld hosted Senator Joe Lieberman for a breakfast meeting today amid speculation that the Connecticut Democrat could be in line to succeed him.
Could it be, Secretary JoMentum. Hmmmmmm!


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Too Close To Home

Be sure to read Mitch's 'Hostage' post, today.
One of the latest hostages in Iraq is from my hometown, Jamestown, ND:
and later:
As a point in passing, I know every single person referenced in this article, including mayor Charlie Kourajian (brother of a friend of King Banaian's; small towns are the smallest world of all)
I know several people directly involved in the war on terror. And, of course, my son the Marine who is scheduled to deploy next Spring.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Ron Schulz family in hopes of a speedy release and a safe trip home!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Just Plain Wrong!

Dissent is OK. I would even argue that it is patriotic. But Howard Dean's comments the other day crossed the line of dissent and into danger:
Dean, the Democratic National Chairman, on Monday told a San Antonio, Texas, radio station that the United States appears to be making the same mistakes it made during the Vietnam War, and the idea that the war in Iraq can be won is "just plain wrong."
You can criticize the President, you can challenge him on how we got into this mess, and you can propose solutions that may bring the troops home sooner. But to imply that the effort is hopeless is wrong, implies you are totally out of touch with what is necessary to defeat this evil overseas, and jeopardizes the safety of our troops.

Not only is the war winable, it must be won, for the alternative is simply not acceptable.


Monday, December 05, 2005

For the Sports Junkie In Me

The ViKings make it 5 in a row, but it wasn't pretty!

The Gopher FB team will make another trip to the Hillbilly Bowl.

The Lumber Puppies are ripping it up on the road.

The Gopher hockey team can't get by the Cheeseheads.

The Wild wallow in mediocrity.

Now get back to work!


A True Story (and a DvK analogy)

When I moved into my current home, I was unable to arrange transportation to move all my belongings. I made arrangements with the owner of the house I was renting, to store some items in the basement until I could arrange to move them.

When I returned several weeks later, some of the more valuable items were taken. I was livid. I had thought I had done everything correct. Granted, the storage arrangement was gratis, but I was convinced I had some recourse in the matter. I even called the police to file a stolen property report.

The most likely suspects were the people that moved into the property after me. Of course they claimed they knew nothing about my property and refused to allow me access into their living area to search for my belonging. They were still mine, I thought. I even called the police to file a stolen property report. They weren't very sympathetic. Unless I had a written agreement showing I still had rights and access to the home, there was nothing they could, or would, do. Anything left in the home, technically, belonged to the home owner.

The current renters allowed me access to the basement to collect what remained. Had they been honorable people, they would have assisted me in recovering the missing items. But they didn't. They wanted me gone as soon as possible and they most certainly wanted the police gone as well.

I learned an important lesson that day. Don't abandon your property with the assumption that it will still be there should you return to claim it. And if you do return, and it is missing, hope that the person who took it is honorable enough to return it as best they can. I wasn't that fortunate, DvK was.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Class Act

For the most part, bloggers get along pretty well in real life, both Right and Left sides of the aisle. The majority of the jousting that happens online is a far cry from their behaviors when they meet in person. The Power Liberals and I frequent the Right Blogosphere's domain at Keagan's Thursday nights. I've had some cross over at my Friday evening drinking Moderately gatherings. Heck, if the Wege and Mitch can find common ground and remain civil in conversation, their must be truth to my observation.

Which brings me to an unfortunate prank gone awry. MNPublius happened to notice that the old D v K Blogspot location had gone dormant. In an attempt at innocent punking, MNPublius, registered himself as the administrator of the old D v K blog, and added a new post ridiculing the blog. What he didn't know is that seven months of archived material in the old blog would Poof. (The D v K blog links are 404 now, so I can't link to even the Prank Post)

Now in reality, he didn't do anything wrong. You snooze you lose, right. Maybe so, but the class and integrity of Matt was more then just staying within the guidelines of the Blogger rules. Sometimes one must do what is morally right, not legally correct, and Matt took the moral high road.
In what I thought would amount to little more than a practical joke, I claimed the up-for-grabs site and put up a post ridiculing the Dayton v. Kennedy blog. What I did not realize is that in doing so the archives would be removed from the site. For this I am truly sorry. I have removed myself from the blog's administrator role and left it alone. This was not a case of "cyber-sabotage" or unethical blogging, it was an honest mistake made by someone who obviously does not understand the inner workings of blogger well enough.
But, did he stop there. No siree!
When I realized what had happened I felt terrible for having ruined someone's hard work like that. I immediately apologized to all the KvM authors and set to work righting my wrongs. It took me a while sifting through the yahoo and google caches of old DvK pages but I managed to find every single lost post. I compiled this list and sent it off to KvM. I know it doesn't rectify everything, but I made a mistake and wanted to correct it as best I could
It may not seem that the Right and Left can get along, but at least here in the Minnesota Blogosphere it is more then just promoting our personal ideoligies, it is about playing fair, and doing the correct thing!

MN Publius, an honorable person admits their mistakes and does whatever they can do to rectify the damage. Matt, you are an honorable man!


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's About Time!

Finally, this administration is sharing with us their plan to resolve the Iraq conflict by providing us a Strategy for Victory. Many of us, especially those of us that have supported this effort all along have asked for this. I believe it was even part of the resolution to use force. But the Bush administration has dragged it's feet, called us cowards and traitors for questioning them. They refused to provide any insight at all as to what their ultimate goal was, and what constituted victory.

I am going to take some time to look over this document, in hopes that I see substance, and not political spinmeistering to regain popularity. I am going into this report with an open mind, now let's read it together. The PDF is available here!


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

They Beat Horses, Don't They

In the wonderful partisan political world we live in, negativity prevails. Why tout positives; 'Dog Bites Man' doesn't sell, whereas 'Man Bites Dog' is front page news.

So today, each side will probably be beating the horse of negativity as they both have fingers to be pointing.

For the Left, we have:

Congressman resigns after bribery plea

and the Right:

Vote topples Canadian government

I know, all the Right has today is Canadian news, but they are perfect at the slight of hand game, and will manage to twist this into something here at home.

Now I'm off to the blogosphere to see how close I am!


Monday, November 28, 2005

Holiday Weekend Recap!

It's kind of nice to just shut down the ole Blog and walk away for a few days, and this weekend was busy enough all on it's own.

Thanksgiving day I filled the house with the aromas of the holiday. I love to cook, and I do the full spread. 15+ lbs Turkey (stuffed), White Cheddar Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Corn, Cranberry Sauce (I'm a Jelly guy), and of course, Pumpkin Pie. For the first time, I boiled down the old carcass for turkey soup. I love making soup, but usually it is Bean soup, so this was my first attempt at Turkey Soup. MMmmmmmm Yummy!

Friday morning required at least one excursion to the Black Friday sales. I opted for a quick jaunt to Radio Shack to snag on of the 49.99 1 Gig MP3 players. Even though it was after 9:00, they still had two left, the last two. I bought them both. The stores was kind of dead, with 6 employees there to great me. My boys and I were the only customers in the store. We then ventured to Sears to check out some leather jackets, again the store was rather empty for the day after Thanksgiving, but I went on with my business so I could get out of there quickly.

Once home, the oldest boy prepared for his shift at Target, while the younger two made sure they were packed and ready for a day with their Auntie. My wife and I would be traveling to St. peter, MN for the evening and my FANTASTIC sister agreed to spend quality-bonding time with her nephews. I can't begin to tell her how much I appreciated her help.

With the boys taken care of, it was off to St. Peter, for the annual Govenaire end of the year Awards banquet. It was GREAT to see old friends that I spent all summer performing with. The banquet is the official end of the 2005 season. Most everyone dressed all fancy, which is always interesting since we have spent all summer seeing each other all sweaty and casual. I was fortunate enough to be honored as the 'Rookie of the Year'. But the big surprise was the second to the last award, the "Drum Major/Corps Director Choice" award. He hesitated briefly, stating he was unsure if he could give this award to the person he had in mind, because he has never given it to a Rookie before. He then announced the winner, 'FLASH'. What an honor, and what an end to a fantastic season. I had the time of my life this year, and after watching the video of our performance at Nationals, I realized what a fine Drum Corps we had!!

The remainder of my weekend continued to be non political and blog free. It was refreshing to clear the mind, and have a restful relaxing weekend. And the fact the ViKings made it four in a row, made it only that much sweeter.

I hope you all had as great a weekend as I!!


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a safe and healthy holiday weekend. Being descended from Francis Eaton, a signer of the Mayflower Compact, this holiday is one of my favorites.

Enjoy the parade, the football, and the food. But most importantly, enjoy your family and friends, for that is what I am truly thankful for!


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

He is T.O.ast

Terrell Owen's season appears to be over. The arbitrator has ruled in favor of the Eagles in not only the 4 game suspension, but their right to deactivate him and make him sit out the rest of the year (with pay).

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!!


Mr. Foreman!

John Kerry continues to show what an honorable man he is (via CNN).
Sen. John Kerry's public profile and prosecutorial past didn't spare him from performing that most mundane of civic responsibilities -- jury duty.

Kerry was not only chosen this week to sit on a jury in Suffolk Superior Court, but also was elected foreman.
I liked this part best:
I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person," said Cynthia Lovell, a nurse and registered Republican who says she now regrets voting for President Bush in last year's election. "He kept us focused. He wanted us all to have our own say."

Readyyyyyyyyy DRINK!

Swiped from the Wege:

I'm hoping to make an appearance to balance out the 'Left of Wellstone' crowd. However, anything can change in a domestic household with 3 boys; two in Junior High and one in High School! Yes, it's the high maintenance years!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Final Witness

Time continues to take it's toll:
The last known surviving allied veteran of the Christmas Truce that saw German and British soldiers shake hands between the trenches in World War One died on Monday at 109, his parish priest said.

Alfred Anderson was the oldest man in Scotland and the last known surviving Scottish veteran of the war.

"I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence," he was quoted as saying in the Observer newspaper last year, describing the day-long Christmas Truce of 1914, which began spontaneously when German soldiers sang carols in the trenches, and British soldiers responded in English.

"All I'd heard for two months in the trenches was the hissing, cracking and whining of bullets in flight, machinegun fire and distant German voices. But there was a dead silence that morning across the land as far as you could see.

"We shouted 'Merry Christmas' even though nobody felt merry.
An article I found around Veteran's Day had these numbers
No one knows exactly how many of America's World War I veterans will celebrate Veterans Day, which marks the armistice of November 11, 1918, that ended what then was considered the Great War. An estimated 2 million Americans served in Europe after the U.S. entered the war in 1917.

Today, the Veterans Affairs Department lists just eight veterans as receiving disability benefits or pension compensation from service in World War I. It says a few dozen other veterans of the war probably are alive, too, but the government does not keep a comprehensive list.

The Census Bureau stopped asking for data about those veterans years ago. Using a report of 65,000 alive in 1990 as a baseline, the VA estimates that no more than 50 remain, perhaps as few as 30.
Most interesting, however, was the age of the final veteran to pass from each American conflict:
Long-lived veterans are common among America's warriors. The last veteran to fight in the American Revolution died at age 109 in 1869, according to Defense Department statistics.

Other wars and the ages of their last veterans the year they died: the War of 1812, 105, 1905; the Indian Wars, 101, 1973; the Mexican War, 98, 1929; the Civil War, 112, 1958; and the Spanish-American War, 106, 1992.
Remember, we don't have to wait for one day a year to honor the man and women who serve, and have served our country! We should do it every opportunity we can find!

But that's just me!


Monday, November 21, 2005

The Most Dangerous Cities

via CNN:
Listed as the most dangerous cities are:

1 - Camden, New Jersey
2 - Detroit, Michigan
3 - St. Louis, Missouri
4 - Flint, Michigan
5 - Richmond, Virginia
6 - Baltimore, Maryland
7 - Atlanta, Georgia
8 - New Orleans, Louisiana
9 - Gary, Indiana
10- Birmingham, Alabama.

At the other end of the scale, the safest are named as:

1 - Newton, Massachusetts
2 - Clarkstown, New York
3 - Amherst, New York
4 - Mission Viejo, California
5 - Brick Township, New Jersey
6 - Troy, Michigan
7 - Thousand Oaks, California
8 - Round Rock, Texas
9 - Lake Forest, California
10- Cary, North Carolina.
Hmmmm, Ironically, I have been to 8 of the 10 BAD cities, and only 2 of the good cities. Maybe it's me!


UPDATE: I'm getting a lot of visitors from this post. Welcome! Some have asked if the complete list is out there. All I can find is THIS ONE, which lists Top 25's and breaks them down by metro area and size. The Complete list is available for a fee.

Border Battle

I had a vision:

Queenies 28 -- Cheeseheads 23

But that's just me!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

John Gallos; 1923 - 2005

Clancy is gone.
John Gallos, 'Clancy the Cop' on TV, dies at 82

John Gallos, former host of WCCO-TV's "Clancy the Cop," was recognized by Minnesota baby boomers years after the children's TV show, which ran from 1961 to 1977, went off the air.

Gallos died Tuesday in Minneapolis from complications of diabetes. He was 82.

His daughter, Nancy Gallos of Minneapolis, said he was born with a desire to entertain. He was known for reciting the classic poem "Casey at the Bat" from memory.

"He was always interested in entertaining people," Nancy said. " 'Clancy the Cop' stemmed from his love for children and entertaining."

Clancy, a policeman who befriended kids, was beloved by many children in the Twin Cities during an era when every city had its own "Mr. Rogers."
Mom tells me I had an Axel doll when I was just a wee lad. Axel was the man. But Axel passed while I was still little, and Carmen the nurse took over. That's when the crack detective team of 'Clancy the Cop' and 'Willie Ketchem' took over.

Oh the joys of kidcentric TV of the 60's and early 70's, until the networks went into full comercialization mode. I have fond memories of those days. Axel, Carmen, Clancy and WIllie on 'CCO. Casey and Roundhouse on WTCN (back then an independent station, but now NBC affiliate KARE).

I leave you with Clancy's final words, as he left the air back in 1977:
Typically, near the end of the program Clancy and Willie would talk to the kids in the studio, but on that melancholy occasion there was no audience. Instead, Willie soberly informed viewers, "This is the last day. We are closing the Agency here at old WCCO Television." He then introduced Clancy for the last time.

Clancy and Company"It has been a real pleasure and a privilege to have been a part of many of the routines in many homes around the Twin Cities, and Minnesota and Wisconsin, for lo, these past many years," Clancy declared. "We've had a lot of laughs over the years, we've had some ups, we've had some downs - and it isn't over yet, because I know I'll be looking for you on other programs here on Channel 4. I'd like to close with an Irish blessing that I think Clancy would enjoy:

"Wishing you always Walls for the wind And a roof for the rain And tea beside the fire. Laughter to cheer you And those you love near you And all that your heart might desire. May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back May the rains fall soft upon your fields And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of his hand."

Clancy and CompanyAs he recited the verse, the camera slowly moved in until at the finish Clancy's face filled the screen. He gazed steadily into the lens, forced a sad little smile, and said simply, "Good-bye."
I toured the studios back in the mid 70's. Maybe I'll dig out some of those pics over this weekend and post them.

Bye Clancy, you will be missed.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Guessing Game!

Guess what Mitch is talking about here. No cheating now:
Can Take No More

A group of ideologue activists, using borderline-fraudulent information, drive government leadership into an unpopular action that, months later, has been an unmitigated disaster.

But far from admitting their mistakes, the dogmatists - still lying about their information - press onward, demanding the government pour more treasure into the insanity - and wreck more lives in the process.
My guess was wrong, but seemed FAR more accurate.

If you give up, you can check here:


Monday, November 14, 2005

Down we go again!

Someone (I can't find where I saw it first) pointed us to this post by Powerline, trying to gussy up the pig that is Bush's approval ratings. Today CNN posts the latest results.
Beset with an unpopular war and an American public increasingly less trusting, President Bush faces the lowest approval rating of his presidency, according to a national poll released Monday.

Bush also received his all-time worst marks in three other categories in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The categories were terrorism, Bush's trustworthiness and whether the Iraq war was worthwhile.

Bush's 37 percent overall approval rating was two percentage points below his ranking in an October survey. Both polls had a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
The Powerline folks, of course, are resting their laurels on the Rasmussen tracking poll, a Three day moving average. This poll tends to be 5-7 points higher then other polls, but it isn't the raw number itself, as much as it is the movement of those numbers. What did Powerline say in their screed:
Rasmussen shows President Bush climbing from his low point in October, to a current approval rating of 46%. That's his best this month, and, as Rasmussen says, it might be statistical noise. If it's for real, it's good news; 46% isn't great, but it's well out of the sub-40% danger territory. But, in any event, the upward trend since last month is good news for Republicans.
And what does Rasmussen answer with today:
Forty-three percent (43%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-five percent (55%) of Americans Disapprove of the President's performance.
The 46% number held over the weekend and then dove three points. What that probably means, considering this is a rolling average, is that either Saturday's, or more likely Sunday's numbers took a nose dive.

This two term President and his administration needs to come to grips with a very disenfranchised and skeptical public. Even their own numbers (Rasmussen is admittedly Right leaning) are in the dumps. All we are asking for is honesty instead of arrogance. Is that too much to expect.


UPDATE: Today's Rasmussen holds at 43% with a dissaproval upticking to 56%
Tuesday November 15, 2005--Forty-three percent (43%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty-six percent (56%) of Americans Disapprove of the President's performance.

The Gloves are off!

Here we go!
In a two-decades old document, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito voiced his support of the Reagan administration's fight to show "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."
I'm not sure either side wants to alter the status quo, it would restrict one sides' ability to effectively fire up their base.

Expect an escalation in filibuster talk. Chatter that I will sit back and observe, but not participate in at this point. I will wait to hear from the nominee himself before I enter the fray to deeply.


Friday, November 11, 2005

THANK YOU . . . .

. . . . to all the men and women of our courageous fighting forces.

We honor you today for your commitment and determination to rid this world of evil, and protect our freedoms. Without you, we would not be able to enjoy the fantastic opportunities that exist. There have been many in my family who have served this country, but I especially want to thank my son, the Marine.

Thank a Vet today!


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kid Vote

I've been swamped today, preparing for conferences tomorrow, but I wanted to share the Kid Vote results from my Middle School.

The Right loves to lambast their perception of a 'Left of Wellstone' curriculum and staff in the St. Paul Schools. Even I can't do anything to set these Righties straight in this regard. But maybe the Kid Vote results will help them think past their prejudices.

During the course of the mayoral election, classes throughout the building would come down and review both candidates websites, looking for policy and issue statements to determine whom they would 'vote' for on election day. Most of the students took this seriously, and made well educated decisions.

What were the results? Well, not surprisingly, Chris Coleman won the Kid Vote. But what was surprising was the margin. Keeping in mind the actual vote was 69% to 31% in Coleman's favor, the Kid Vote margin was very slim. Only 21 votes. Now wouldn't you think if the SPPS staff was pushing some sort of 'Bright Green' / 'Left of Wellstone' agenda that these students would have been brainwashed to the point where Kelly would have only gotten 21 votes total, rather then darn near winning the thing!

I'm just saying!


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mayor-elect Coleman

It's official:
St. Paul voters punished Mayor Randy Kelly on Tuesday for standing with President Bush a year ago, denying the Democrat a second term in Minnesota's capital city.

Former City Council member Chris Coleman, also a Democrat, routed Kelly by a more than 2-to-1 margin in unofficial returns with most precincts reporting. Ahead of the election, independent polls showed voters were primed to fire Kelly, and most cited his 2004 endorsement of the Republican president as the reason.

Updated Returns

St. Paul mayor
St. Paul school board

Minneapolis mayor
Minneapolis City Council
Minneapolis Board of Estimate and Taxation
Minneapolis Library Board
Minneapolis Park Board

Suburban city races
Suburban school boards
Suburban school referendums


Without Comment (Click to enlarge):


Races to Watch

This off year election has more significance then usual. With the second term of President Bush proving to be more of a hindrance then a help to GOP candidates, the voters will now decide how much of a lame duck this current administration really is.

Governor's races in Virginia (Red State) and New Jersey (Blue State) may be our best gauge as to the accuracy of the sentiment toward the President, along with initiatives on the Ballot in California.

A blood bath of sort, pitting diehard conservative Jerry Kilgore against sitting Democratic Lt. Governor Tim Kaine. Current polling gives the Lt. Governor a slight 5% lead, backing off from the 9 point lead the precious poll showed. Virginia may be the best bell weather as Bush directly campaigned for Kilgore in the final days. The democrats welcomed the visit:
At a campaign event for Kaine, the Democratic incumbent, Gov. Mark R. Warner, welcomed the president's arrival. Bush, even in reliably Republican Virginia, suffers job-approval ratings of around 40 percent.
The Blue state offers up US Sen. Jon Corzine and the GOP endorsed candidate Doug Forester. That polling also has the Blue Senator leading 50% to 44% in a poll concluding yesterday. The respective candidates had a slightly different approach to who to bring in for the final blitz:
In New Jersey, U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine campaigned with fellow Democrat U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg while Republican candidate Doug Forrester enlisted New York Gov. George Pataki for a frantic final day of campaigning.
There are also several mayoral races on the docket. Among them; New York, Detroit Kilpatrick-i 44% 0 Hendrix 51%), Houston, Boston, San Diego (Sanders-R 52% - Frye-D 47%), Atlanta, and of course St. Paul.

In California, traditional Republican initiatives are on the ballot in this bright Blue state, including:
Schwarzenegger's initiatives would cap state spending and give him more power to cut budgets, rein in public employee unions, and take away legislators' power to redistrict.
Proposition explanations and polling data:
Prop 73 -- Proposition 73 requires that physicians notify the parent of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. If the special election were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, would you vote Yes on Proposition 73? Or would you vote No?

Yes 51 (55)
No 47 (44)

Prop 74 -- Proposition 74 extends the probationary period for new teachers from 2 years to 5 years, and makes it easier to dismiss teachers with unsatisfactory performance evaluations. If the special election were today, would you vote Yes on Proposition 74? Or would you vote No?

Yes 48 (49)
No 51 (50)

Prop 75 -- Proposition 75 prohibits public employee unions from using union dues for political purposes without the written consent of union members. If the special election were today, would you vote Yes on Proposition 75? Or would you vote no?

Yes 45 (50)
No 54 (49)

Prop 76 -- Proposition 76 limits growth in state spending so that it does not exceed recent growth in state revenues. The Governor would be granted new authority to reduce state spending, [including school funding,] during certain fiscal situations. If the special election were today, would you vote Yes on Proposition 76? Or would you vote no?

Yes 39 (49)
No 59 (49)

Prop 77 -- Proposition 77 changes the way California draws boundaries for Congressional and legislative districts. District boundaries would be drawn by a panel of retired judges and approved by voters in a statewide election. If the special election were today, would you vote Yes on 77? Or would you vote no?

Yes 41 (42)
No 56 (56)
So there is more then enough excitement this evening to keep us night owls engaged. If I run across other interesting match-ups, I'll be sure to share.


Election Day!

My concern is not so much whom you vote for, it is that you VOTE!! These off year elections are sometimes decided by just a handful of votes. If there was ever a time where YOUR VOTE COUNTS, it is today.

Get off your butts, tuck away that keyboard, and get down to your polling place.

I'm on my way!


Saturday, November 05, 2005

Janecek on Kersten on Wellstone

This woke me up faster than a second cup of coffee:
Shame on Katherine Kersten. The Wellstone service was not a "miscalculation."

Not only does she get her interpretation wrong, she also cheaply fans partisan flames that some of us -- both Republicans and Democrats -- have worked very hard to try to extinguish since the 2002 election.
Be sure you read the whole thing. The further Left you are, the more surprised you will be!

Thank you Sarah for stepping out of the political fray and up to the plate!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Sen, Coleman Votes to Strip Disabled of Insurance

See how stupid that sounds. The Senator kept his promise and voted against the budget bill today. An honorable choice considering his pledge, but a safe bet knowing the bill was going to pass anyway. But now the Left can turn the tables if they choose. They can take a page from the Rovian/Smear Boater handbook and start picking nits.

What else did Coleman vote against?:
--Doctors would get an $11 billion reprieve next year from a scheduled 4.3 percent cut in their Medicare payments.

--Dairy farmers won a $1 billion extension of milk income payments.

--College students would get more than $8 billion in new grants.

--More disabled children would retain Medicaid health coverage.
Will the Dems get the courage to run an add saying "Norm Coleman denies $8 billion to college students!" Unreasonable, obtuse, and ridiculous, but still fair game under the precedent set in the past.


Deer's Governor-Hunting Opener

Some things ya simply can't make up. Via the STRIB:
A big buck smashed in a window at the back of the State Capitol near the governor's office Thursday morning, then charged past a very startled Gov. Tim Pawlenty just as he was entering the building.

The episode coincided with the run-up to the Governor's Deer Opener, an event that Pawlenty launched three years ago and which he has turned into a rather big deal.

"Another five feet...if it wasn't out of season, we could have had the opener right here," Pawlenty laughed as he told the story at a press conference announcing judicial appointments. "If that's any indication, the deer hunting is going to go well this year."

Deja Vu and ANWR, too

As Smilin' Norm tries to wiggle his way out of his self induced pickle, I had to dig out this old post of mine from last March:
Remember all those slimy Kerry ads attacking him for being against the troops, and flip flopping. Most of them came from budget bills. Can Norm risk sticking to principle and vote against drilling, before voting for it. Or will he vote against the budget bill if it includes the ANWR leasing revenues, and face the same furor others do when they vote against the troops, and other budgetary provisions which will be gladly cherry picked by the Left for future campaign ads.
I have no sympathy for the Senator. In fact, I find it kind of amusing that the lead Senator of the Flip Flop brigade during last years' presidential race is backed into a corner like this!


My Endorsement for Mayor of St. Paul

When it came down to it, it was about philosophy.

This has been the most difficult electoral decision I have had to make in a long time. Many have said it is a slam-dunk, due to decisions Kelly made leading up to last year's presidential election, but that wasn't enough for me. It is important that I vote FOR someone, not against another.

I actively sought out information; met Chris Coleman at a meet and greet, and either watched or personally attended three debates. The more I watched both these gentlemen, the clearer my choice became. It wasn't about who supported who when. It was about philosophy, and how these two candidates were going to move this city forward, in a time of fiscal uncertainty.

One candidate thinks he can do this alone. The other wants to include everyone at the table, and have everyone participate in the process, that man is Chris Coleman, and he has earned my vote for mayor of St. Paul.


I've known Randy Kelly since the late 70's. At the time, I was interning at the State Office Building and Kelly was a young State Rep from the East side. Mayor Kelly has changed over the last 30 years, and his political ideology has been running Right over the last four. He claims he has kept his promise to not raise taxes but has increased fees and assessments by over 20%. Come on, a duck's a duck.

Don't think I don't realize that Coleman will raise resources to move this city forward, but at least he is being honest about how he is going to do it. He isn't wrapping his revenue needs in a political package with buzzwords that have been screened be focus groups. Chris Coleman needs 8 million dollars to hire 100 police officers. If he can't get the money through a restoration of Local Government Aid, he will add it to the Levy over the next few years causing an increase of 12.5 percent. Regardless of where you stand on taxes, you have to appreciate a man who will honestly discuss specifics about his plan, and not hide behind words.


Although the Mayor has repeatedly brought up that St. Paul received the 'Academy Award' for parks, beating out all other cities in the entire country, that isn’t enough for me. Anyone can write a fancy application, lobby the appropriate people, and show off the jewels of the city, but that doesn't make all the park and rec areas perfect. My oldest son spends more time at Langford Rec Center, than he does at the two parks closest to our house. The closer ones aren't open, or have limited/awkward gym schedules. This scenario has evolved over the last 4 years. My youngest two boys come home saying ‘there is nothing to do, no where to go' because without a draw to the public areas, kids are sitting at home, sometimes unsupervised, trying to find something to do.

Chris Coleman plans on changing that. He will take down the No Loitering sings at the Rec Centers. He supports a 'Second Shift' program for kids to have somewhere to go after school. These structured environments will keep these idle and curious hands occupied in a controlled setting instead of spiraling independently towards mischief. Randy Kelly has failed miserably in that area, at least from my perspective, within the Hamline/Midway neighborhood.


The final issue that I focused on was light rail. I am a strong supporter of the University Light Rail proposal. Mayor Kelly has dropped the ball on this project. As much as I love the Ayd Mill road access, he failed to give Light Rail the same attention. In 4 years I have seen NO progress in establishing what I believe will be a crucial link in our transit network. Now we are facing fiscal restraints that could further delay this project. Chris Coleman is committed to bringing community leaders, both neighborhood and business representatives, to the table to expedite this process. Kelly had his chance, it is time for new blood in the negotiations, and to have someone who is truly supportive of the project, not lip service from an individual who’s political ideology is not consistent with the success of the venture.

So I am voting FOR Chris Coleman next Tuesday, because I feel it is necessary to move St. Paul into the future, and I don’t believe Kelly, given his political ideological transition will have the resources to do it.

Oh, and Kelly supported Bush!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It was a dark and stormy night . . . .

Jeff from BotML is expanding his writing prowess by participating in National Novel Writing Month. Participants have the month of November to write a 50,000 word novel. For the mathematically challenged, that is about 1700 words a day.

Follow his progress at The Valkyrie's Tale's Blog.


What are they afraid of?

Why is the Right so adamantly opposed to an investigation of Pre War intelligence? Why are they being cry babies about Sen. Reid's insistence that an investigation take place?

If this administration has nothing to hide, nothing to be afraid of, and nothing to worry about, then they should demand this investigation take place. They should embrace the desire of the American people for wanting to know, and get ready to flaunt their exoneration in the very noses of the Left, right about the time of mid terms next year.

But the caterwauling that is going on right now makes this pro war supporter think that maybe I was duped, maybe there was a manipulation of the data. Maybe there was a concerted effort to fool enough Americans into thinking that SoDamn was a direct threat to American's at home?

If the Right would have simply said to the Left, OK, go for it, but you'll be cutting your own throat? I would have simply shook my head at the desperation of the Left, but now I shake my head at the Right, wondering, "What are they afraid of?"

But that's just me!


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mayoral Debate, TONIGHT!

This evening the mayoral candidates, Kelly and Coleman, come to my 'hood. A 7:00 debate at the Sundin Music Hall at Hamline University. I have made arrangments to attend, as I have a few more questions/concerns regarding my decision in this race. Hopefully, I can tie up those loose ends this evening and offer an endorsement by the end of the week.

Mitch!!, want to join me?


UPDATEMitch is in, with a possible debrief in the Drinking Moderately garage afterwards. Time permitting of course.

UPDATE II Mitch stood me up, something about not feeling well. If I were a Righty I wouldn't be feeling very well either. Broken Nails has an excellent synopsis of the evening, here!

Is It yours!

In the Have You Heard? column, we find this lucky tidbit:
Minnesota is holding $258 million in unclaimed property for about 1 million people. Check to see it you're one of the lucky ones.
Be sure to check out 'Missing Money' to see if you have an unknown nest egg waiting out there. Be sure to forward me a 10% finders fee if you find your name on the list. Ok, just kidding . . . kind of!


Monday, October 31, 2005

Good News, Bad News

Recent polling in the Twin Cities' Mayoral show a spilt decision for incumbency:

Good news
for Rybak, who was sputtering after a surge by McLaughlin during the Summer:
According to the University of Minnesota poll, 44 percent of likely voters said they would vote for Rybak while 35 percent would vote for McLaughlin. The two DFLers face off in the Nov. 8 election.
and Bad News for Kelly, with the results of the latest number crunching confirming the dismal news (61 - 28) from last week:
A survey conducted by the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs found that 61 percent of likely voters said they supported Coleman, a former St. Paul City Council member, while 26 percent said they would vote for Kelly. About 13 percent are undecided. Kelly and Coleman are both DFLers who will meet in the nonpartisan election on Nov. 8.
If these number hold, it will make for a yawner come next Tuesday.



At the half way point of the NFL Season. It is clear I have met my match for point spread prognostication. Although neither of us had a very good outing this weekend (both going 1-2), I am willing to call this match-up based on the unwritten 12 Pack rule. With a nice round number of 12, I can find various malted beverages that are packaged in a nice dozen (I know, 11 isn't 12, but if LF has any heart at all, we'll crack open that baby and share a beverage in his honor). A fifteen pack would limit Foot's selection to a small variety that may not adequately allow him to enjoy the spoils that victory brings.

My hat is off to Freddie the "Foot' and I encourage him to pick on someone his own size for the remainder of the season. Seems King has been taunting him all year anyway. Maybe it is time he put him money where is Foot is.

Game, Set and Match to the Learned one. I call for a rematch next season. Of course, we have hoops season just around the corner. I have had better luck in that environ, anyway.


Snip, Snip, Here, Snip, Snip, There

More 'useless' programs on the chopping block. I guess all the pork has been trimmed already:
House Republicans voted to cut student loan subsidies, child support enforcement and aid to firms hurt by unfair trade practices as various committees scrambled to piece together $50 billion in budget cuts.

More politically difficult votes -- to cut Medicaid, food stamps and farm subsidies -- were on tap Thursday as more panels weigh in on the bill.
With the midterms campaigns slowly gearing up, I guess the Right needs to do the painful work sooner, rather then later in hops the electorate will forget. Either that, or they realize that their days are numbered and they better get the butcher knife out while they still have control.


It's Scalito!

Samuel Alito has been tapped to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Alito replaces Miers name being offered to the senate as her nomination was scuttled by the once loyal Right Wing Fringe.
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. has been a strong conservative jurist on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, a court with a reputation for being among the nation's most liberal.

He is to be nominated today to the Supreme Court, according to news reports.

Dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite," a play not only on his name but his opinions, Alito, 55, brings a hefty legal resume that belies his age. He has served on the federal appeals court for 15 years since President George H.W. Bush nominated him in 1990.
Let the games begin.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Footblogging #7 (NFL #8)

OK, I had this nice post all ready to go. I said wonderful things about the Foot and King and was prepared to except defeat. Then it was all lost in the click of the Blogger Publish button.

I don't have time to rebuild it at this point, but may make everything all fancy looking later. But in the interest of timeliness, here is my call for the weekend.

1. Arizona @ Dallas (-9).

Cowboys fail to cover, take Arizona

2. Miami @ New Orleans (-2).

Miami huge in a much needed breakout game for them

3. Jacksonville (-2.5) @ St. Louis.

Jags cover, and then some.

Oh, and one more thing, FOOT!! What kind of beer do you like?


Friday, October 28, 2005

Scooter out, Addington In

The indictment of Scooter Libby, today, begins the shake up of the White House staff. David Atkinson is slated to replace Libby as Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff.
If Libby is indicted, Cheney counsel David Addington will replace him as chief of staff, sources close to the Cheney's office say. Addington is another longtime Cheney aide who worked for him at the Pentagon.
Although Rove dodged an indictment today, he is still under investigation as it is clear Fitzgerald wants to be thorough in preparing a strong prosecution case. Former RNC Chairman Ed 'Dizzy' Gillespie is marked to replace Rove once the indictment comes down.
A source familiar with Bush's worst-case plans said he would likely tap ex-GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie to replace Rove if he is indicted.

Also under consideration is bringing back former White House political director Ken Mehlman. He is the GOP chairman and is considered to be valuable to the Republicans for the upcoming midterm congressional elections.
The blind leading the blind. At what point do you think this President would recognize it is time for a fresh start to salvage his second term

Doc dump should be available here.


Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was indicted today by a grand jury on one count of obstruction of justice, two counts of making false statements and two counts of perjury in the CIA leak probe. A news release from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald says Libby allegedly lied "about how and when in 2003 he learned and subsequently disclosed to reporters then-classified information concerning the employment of Valerie Wilson by the Central Intelligence Agency."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

St. Paul Mayoral Poll Released

Results (emphasis mine):
Former City Council Member Chris Coleman's nearly 2-to-1 primary election lead over St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly appears to be widening significantly, according to a poll conducted this week for the Pioneer Press.

Coleman now leads Kelly 61 percent to 28 percent, according to a telephone survey of 400 registered St. Paul voters who say they plan to cast a ballot on Nov. 8. The poll, conducted Tuesday and Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, has a margin of error of 5 percent.
Although I am undecided, which is movement away from Kelly whom I voted for in the primary, I am not yet sold on Coleman yet. However, it looks like that there isn't much hope for the DINO, as he will have to come up with a miracle finish to close that +30% gap.


Back to the Drawing Board

Miers Out:

The fringe wins, and the President is even more of a lame duck then he was already. I guess all that talk about the President having the right to pick whoever he wants, every nominee deserves a fair hearing and an up or down vote, doesn't mean anything unless it is the person you personally want.

As usual, Jeff says it better than I ever could:
What this does do, in the end, is destroy the ability of the right to paint the Democrats as partisan should the next nominee be filibustered. While the spin from the right will be that Miers was scuttled due to Democratic opposition, nobody is going to buy it. It was the right that prevented Miers from getting her "up or down" vote. That makes it harder for them to complain the next time the left takes similar action.
Two Term George has been so marginalized over the last several weeks I am not sure how much power or control he has anymore. It's going to be a long three years for him.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Outing of an Anonymous Blogger

MNGOPWatch is now reporting that the purported identity of MDE has caught the eye of a "major national political publication".

If MDE's identity is confirmed, I believe it will only go towards his ultimate goal of "fostering a truthful discussion on Minnesota Democrats." Debating political ideology anonymously, in the US, has it's roots during the birth of this nation. But once you leave the confines of ideology, and enter the realm of personal attacks, the line has been crossed. Now, keep in mind this is only my personal view, the courts have recently ruled otherwise.

Regardless, MDE may now have to join us all in taking credit AND responsibility for every post.


Three Years Ago Today

I man, his wife and daughter, along with three staffers and the two pilots passed away three years ago today.

The man may have left us on this earth, but his dream lives on.

Thanks, Paul, for making this world a better place!


Monday, October 24, 2005

An Inspiration to us all!

An Icon passes:
Rosa Parks, whose act of civil disobedience in 1955 inspired the modern civil rights movement, died Monday in Detroit, Michigan. She was 92.


In March, I shared my frustration regarding the anonymity of MDE, specifically related to his cybersquatting on potential DFL campaigns' domain names. MNGOPWatch is reporting, and MDE confirms, he relinquished those names.
Minnesota Democrats Exposed is dedicated to truthful discussion on the activities, statements, and tactics of Minnesota Democrats. I realized that if I kept the website domain names, I was preventing and not fostering a truthful discussion on Minnesota Democrats.

My decision to voluntarily relinquish ownership of the domains should not be misunderstood as a repudiation of this tactic.

But if I had the chance to do it over, I would not have purchased the domains.
I have a new found respect for MDE. I still feel it is over the line to participate in personal attack, rather then the discussion of political ideology, anonymously. But if Mr. MDE was willing to make this move in the interest of 'truthful discussion' I will give him the benefit of the doubt.


In the Beginning . . .

The website is ready, and indictment speculation is running wild. Even the President is in a tizzy as what could be the worst week of his presidency begins.

But the new game is town is how did it all begin, and who was the one who was the catalyst in the early stages of the conspiracy. An interesting name has surfaced, and it is one you will all be familiar with, John Bolton:
A little bird told another little bird who told me:

"As the Valerie Plame case comes to a head and indictments handed out, the underlying question should be where did this effort to undermine Plame/Wilson begin? Who is patient zero in this viral spread of retaliation? A theory brought to me by a trusted source inside the government is below. Curious to hear thoughts and reactions as the more I read it, the more it sounds believable.

"One name being vastly overlooked as it pertains to Plame is that of John Bolton. And when I think of it even more, this has a lot of Bolton's prints on it.
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing, just throwing it out there. Speculation is healthy and it keeps the mind fresh!


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Footblogging Week 6 Complete

It's been a busy weekend for me and I am awfully tired. With a 5:00AM Red eye flight, I am going to have to take a quick nap here so I can be relatively fresh for the hour drive to Buffalo. The bonus for me is I will be home by 10:00AM and able to witness the Toilet Bowl at Noon. I guess it is the Packers, so maybe if the newsies can make it more then 5 minutes without mentioning Das Booty, we will be able to concentrate on the game itself. But I still have two more games to lock in before kick off tomorrow, so here goes:

2. San Francisco at Washington (-12.5).

I simply can not expect any NFL club to cover a 12.5 spread. I just can't. Unless of course it is the Colts playing the Queenies. And as horrid and San Fran may be, they are still not the Queens.Take Frisco and the points

3. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-1).

This may as well be a pick'em game. Conventional wisdom should convince me that the Steelers are a cinch, but they are pretty banged up. I am not sure if even a gimpy Sophomore Quarterback will be able to hold of the team that is no longer bungling. I was going to just flip a coin on this one, but I have to believe the Bengals are for real.So take Cincy in a close one, but not closer then one

So that's it. Foot's are here. I'm taking a nap now.


UPDATE I officially suck worse then the Vikings. After correctly giving the Chiefs the nod on Friday (But so did Foot), I swing and miss on the other two. The Vikes . . . .it wasn't pretty, but any win over the Packers is a good win!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Footblogging Week 6 - Partial

I'm off to the airport, but with Wilma approaching, one of the games this weekend has been moved to this evening, so here is my take on that tilt. The rest will come later in the weekend.

1) Kansas City at Miami (-2). I'll go with the early spread that had KC the favorite. Chiefs over the Fishies

More later if I have Net Access. Should arrive in hotel by dinner time.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Hatch Letter

I received the Hatch letter today.

Many other sites have been reporting the confirmation of Hatch's announcement on October 24. Below is a quick scan of the letter and the accompanying bumper sticker.

Game on!


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

National Geographic: Inside 9/11

The DVD "National Geographic: Inside 9/11" was released today. I have had both parts sitting on my TIVO for some time. I must say, this is the definitive 9/11 documentary.

Crammed into under 4 hours of video time is a step by step look at the events leading up to that horrific day (Episode 1: War on America)
"War on America" opens with the dramatic 1993 World Trade Center bombing and tracks terrorist activities aimed at U.S. targets throughout the 1990s leading up to the horrific morning of September 11, 2001. With each successful attack, terrorist networks become more emboldened. The organization and the legend of Osama bin Laden grow.

Meet Osama bin Laden as a young Saudi businessman who arrives in Afghanistan to raise funds to help those hurt by the war. Follow this wealthy and privileged son of a self-made billionaire as he rises through the ranks of Islamic terrorist society and remakes himself into a mujahedeen warrior. Hear how bin Laden is schooled in the teachings of radical Palestinian leader Dr. Abdullah Yusuf Azzam as Azzam calls for violent jihad, or holy war, against all enemies of the Islamic state, including the United States, most Western nations and Israel. The extreme hatred for those outside the Islamic faith becomes the cornerstone of al Qaeda's ideology from the mid 1990s until today and is the basis of bin Laden's power.
and a detailed look at the unfolding of the attacks themselves (Episode 2: Zero Hour).
It is a beautiful morning. Nathan Goldwasser is starting his usual day at work in the North Tower of the World Trade Center, as are Ed Nichols and Stanley Praimnath in the South Tower. Sheila Moody arrives at her office at the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, the 19 terrorists are boarding planes in Boston, Newark and Dulles, Virginia. They monitor the flight crews, waiting for the right moment to execute their evil plan.

At 8:14 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 is hijacked. Relive the last precious moments as flight attendants call their supervisors on the ground to report the murders of fellow crew members. Listen as they describe the scene on board.
If you haven't seen it yet, you simply must. Check your cable listings or TVGuide, or better yet, buy the DVD for your archives. That is what I plan on doing.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Clinton gets hammered for wag the dog missile attacks and lackadaisical efforts following the USS Cole attack. Bush is cornered regarding his failure to acknowledge the signals coming his way regarding terrorist activities leading up to the attacks.

This documentary is the most objective take on the myriad of events surrounding that infamous moment in history. Both those on the Left and Right should be sure they digest this film in its entirety.

Now go watch it . . . . NOW!


L'Affaire Plame

A short work week for me, and then I fly out to Rochester, NY for Fall Drum Corps meetings. But the PlameGate Grand jury is getting close, and Fecke at BotML is your source for the latest. He points us to Talking Points Memo with these tidbits:

There's mention of this involving Cheney again; Fitzgerald's office made a point of noting that when an announcement is made on indictments, it will be made in Washington (where the Grand Jury is empaneled) and not in Chicago (where Fitzgerald is based); There are a series of names mentioned as interviewees, including Mary Matalin, Catherine Martin, and Jennifer Millerwise.

Jeff also mentions Wonkette, who thinks Wednesday will be the big day.

So while I finish up my work week, and prepare for my flight, you now have the links necessary to watch the Bush admin implode.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Time to Remember

The following E-Mail has been circulated throughout the Drum Corps and Marching Arts community. I felt it important to share these kind and thoughtful words to those of you who may not be aware of the positive things that are being done in the Public School extra curricular environment. The author is Pat Seidling, current corps director of the Phantom Regiment drum and bugle corps. Although Pat and I have had differences regarding the future of the drum corps activity, we share in the grief of losing individuals who play such a selfless role in nurturing the young people who participate in our activity. Hopefully you will have a new understanding of the great loss the Chippewa Falls' community is feeling this day:
This past Saturday night the Wisconsin State Marching Band Championships were held in Whitewater. Though not near as serious of a competition as we see in states like Indiana, and certainly few if any bands are as sophisticated as are in Texas, it is nonetheless an enthusiastic event, with over 30 bands in 4 classes competing.

Chippewa Falls High School from north-west Wisconsin has proudly sent their band to compete at this event and has done so since the early 1980's. They always do well and place near the top of the largest class. This year they took 3rd, and no doubt the kids had a ball. After the show the band loaded their buses and headed back up interstate 94 west and towards home, 4 charter coaches in all.

With only 30 miles to go, at about 2 am this Sunday, the lead bus came over the top of a hill only to meet a jack-knifed semi head on. With no time to react, and really no where to go anyway, since the semi blocked both lanes, the bus hit the semi.

Band director Doug Greenhalg, his wife Therese, his 11-year old granddaughter Morgan and student teacher Brandon Atherton were all seated in the front row of the bus. They, along with the driver Paul Rasmus, were killed.

About 30 students were hurt, as many as six med-evac helicopters flew the injured to hospitals in Eau Claire, St. Paul and other places. I can only imagine the horror of that night for those kids.

This tragedy is not about me in any way, shape or form. But it hits home in that Doug, his family and Brandon were doing what we all love to do: teach kids, create music and travel. That they died is so tragic; that they died while doing what I know they loved to do is bitterly ironic.

I was born in Chippewa Falls, my Dad went to that school. I grew up in the town next door (Eau Claire). I first met Doug Greenhalg 22 years ago when he was hired at that school. We remained friends ever since. He was a good man.

He was a drum corps guy too, marched in the Wausau Story and taught at my home-town corps (Sundowners) off an on over the years, and for a few years he judged extensively in the DCM circuit. Red-beard, leather jacket and always easy-going and friendly. Maybe some of you Midwesterners reading this recall him?

The story of the Chippewa Falls (us locals call it "Chi-Hi") band is a story in itself: 25 years ago this small town of 20,000 people had little to point to with pride. In fact, a national news story proclaimed that it had one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates. The other schools in the area boasted great sports, or jazz bands, or theater. Someone in that district realized no school in the area was doing marching band seriously, so they thought they could perhaps claim that as their point of pride. They hired Doug (because of his drum corps experience), gave him a very nice budget to work with and off he ran. Doug has been the man at Chi-Hi ever since, and there is no question he not only created a good band, but he gave an entire community a special gift.

Thank God none of the students were killed. We all know that is our deepest fear, each and every time we load those buses and hit the road. These kids don't come here to get hurt.

That the students lost their teacher in such a tragic and instant way is profoundly sad. The assistant band director Brian Collicott, (an alumni of Guardsmen and Madison Scouts), was injured and airlifted away. As I type this he is alive. I know Brian from my days with Madison. A wonderful man: hilarious, extremely talented and a fine teacher. He needs to live.

I haven't seen Doug nor Brian for a few years. I hope that the last time I spoke to either it was in kindness and joy, because they are truly good people.

Tonight I am reminded of how important our work as teachers are - and how all of us who teach or work to provide this experience, be it band, corps, drum line or guard - are truly blessed. In this cold manner of electronic communication, I hope you can sense my deepest appreciation for all you do, and for being my friend. I am so thankful to get to live this life with you. I wish I had taken the time to say so to Doug.

Be safe my friends, Pat
UPDATE: Band parent Tom Arneberg has built this webpage to provide updates on the status of those injurred and other news articles.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tragedy on 94

At least 5 are dead, including some students, in a Bus/Semi crash on I-94 this AM:
A bus carrying high school students home from a band competition collided with a semi truck early today, killing five passengers, the Wisconsin State Patrol said.

About 30 people were transported to area hospitals after the crash, which took place shortly after 2 a.m. on Interstate Hwy. 94 west of Osseo, patrol spokesman Brent Pickard said. The students from Chippewa Falls High School were returning from a competition at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, some 200 miles to the southeast of Chippewa Falls. Osseo is approximately 115 miles east of Minneapolis.
Some pics here.

I've been on many coach busses in my travels with the drum corps I have performed in. I have marched on the exact same field in Whitewater where these students were returning from. I have broke down, stalled, delayed, and have witnessed mishaps on the bus requiring trips to emergency rooms. But never have I been a part of a bus convoy that was involved in an accident. I can only imagine the horror and hurt that unfolded during this tragedy.

My heart and prayers go out to the members, family and friends of the Chippewa Falls High School community.


UPDATE: I received the following in an E-Mail this AM.
I am personally worried about the two band directors . . . Doug Greenhaugh is also a band director that has been involved heavily in the drum corps community as a member, instructor and even judge.
And this unfortunate news a short time ago.
Among the dead were band director Douglas Greenhalgh, 48, known throughout Wisconsin for his work on motorcycle safety; his wife, Therese, 51, and their 11-year-old granddaughter Morgan, students and friends said. Also killed was the bus driver, Paul Rasmus, 78, and a 24-year-old man who wasn't identified.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Footblogging #5

Last week I continued my dismal performance. Although it is basketball that is a game of runs, not necessarily football pickens, I know my due will come. This week I have solicited the assistance of my oldest son, a Junior at Highland Park Senior High, and also a member of their varsity football team. He has chosen the monicker MasterMind, and will guide me through the tilts selected by King. I had absolutely no problem with siding with him on all three choices, even though he went with the dogs in every match-up. Here's why:

1. at (-3)
Sunday, 3:15 p.m. on CBS

MasterMind: Jets by 7 mainly because of their veteran Quarterback. And since Buffalo doesn't have a very good defense, Martin will rumble all over them.
Hard to argue with his point of view. TesticleVerde had all but retired from football until the Jets begged for his return, but this 41 year old Stallion (as Curtis Martin called him) has several good games in him. This weekend will be one of them.Take the Jets over the favored Bills.

2. (-2) at
Sunday, 3:15 p.m. on CBS

MasterMind: Oakland will win by 2. I only have 2 words why, Randy Moss! He'll have 2 TDs to aid in the victory.
Good ole Randy doesn't look like much of a Bad Boy now, does he. The Chargers have been turning some heads this year, and this was the only pick that I reconsidered. But my track record hasn't been all that good as of late, and it is hard to bet against Randy Mawesome.Take The Raaaaaiiders at home, over the favored Bolts

3. at (-3)
Sunday, NOON on FOX

MasterMind: Vikings by 3 since Culpepper will be rested because of the bye and ChiTown has no defense at all.
Well Chicago is ranked 3rd in defense, so I am assuming the MasterMind means they won't have any defense at all this weekend. I've steered clear of the SS. Minnows three Hour Cruise story this week, mostly due to my disdain for the media's desire to capitalize on immoral escapades of public figures. Now the Queenies need to do something desperately to distract the media from pounding out this story, and the best way to do that would be to run roughshod on another football club. The Bears are prime targets. If the Pillagers can't make it past the Bears, look for them to have more then just legal troubles in Hennepin County. Heads will certainly begin to roll.
UPDATE: Vikings SUCK!.
How about Tice just resigns and Ziggy inserts Foge in the interim.

Foot's picks are here, I haven't even looked at them yet. Maybe tomorrow.

OK, I peeked. Looks like I'll fall deeper into the chasm I have created, or take back some ground. Once again, the Foot and I are on opposite ends of all three choices.