Monday, January 31, 2005

An Analytical Perspective

Mitch found this piece, so you don't have to:
# Population of Texas: 22,118,509
# Population of Iraq: 25,374,691
# Percentage of eligible voters in Texas who voted in the November 2004 election: 52.2
# Percentage of eligible voters in Iraq who voted in the January 2005 election (estimated): 60
# Highest percentage of voter turnout ever recorded in the U.S.: 65
# Estimated number of Iraqis living in the U.S. who are eligible to vote: 250,000
# Estimated number of Americans stationed in Iraq who were eligible to vote: 145,000
# Number of qualified political parties listed on the ballot in California: 7
# Number of qualified political parties listed on the ballot in Iraq: 111
# Number of international observers for the 2004 election in the U.S.: 92
# Number of international observers for the 2005 election in Iraq: 0
# Number of election observers Canada sent for the Ukraine elections: 500
The events of this weekend were beyond historic. The only item in real doubt is the turnout in the Sunni areas and whether they were boyotting or suppressed. Time will tell, but over all this is one of the first big steps, after so many baby ones . . . . and several backwards ones as well.


Friday, January 28, 2005

On the Verge of Democracy

The voting begins:
(CNN) -- As Iraqi expatriates in countries around the globe are voting Friday, insurgents continue to try to intimidate potential voters in Iraq.
This could be a messy weekend in Iraq. I pray and hope for nothing but the best for those on the verge of self rule, and the fighting men and woman of the armed forces determined and committed to making this weekend succeed.

The sooner we establish self rule, credible government, and security in the tumult known as Iraq, the sooner the brave and honorable forces of the USA can come home!


Busy Day

Funny how an off day can be busier then a normal work day. Educators in my class have an unpaid leave day today, so I am catching up on those things that one can only do during normal business hours.

** I just refinanced the car shaving 6 points off my loan, a year off the term and STILL lowered the payment. I knew the GMAC rate of 9.95% was high, but could hardly pass up the $1000 rebate for financing through them. However, the 3.95% at the Teacher Federal Credit Union was a no brainer. So I paid a few extra bucks interest for a couple months to get the rebate, and now have rolled my loan to the CU.

** I'll be making a few call to Corps Directors across the country to touch base with them regarding the DCA-Central division.

** I'll be running preliminary numbers through TaxAct to see what my 2004 tax burden was.

** Rehearsal this weekend in St. Peter. Another weekend with the oldest competing Drum Corps in the world.

Have a GREAT weekend, I'll be back Sunday!


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Winter Wonderland!

As we hit the peak of our Winter season the city of St. Paul is gearing up for the annual Winter Carnival. "The Coolest Celebration on Earth" will be held from January 28th through February 26th. Cabin fever will subside as citizens of the city, along with residents across Minnesota and Wisconsin will enjoy the various activites planned.

However, the most popular of all activities has already begun. The search for the medallion began in earnest just a few days ago, and today's clue was the 5th of several hints that will be offered to treasure seekers in hopes of capturing the $10,000 prize. To give you an idea of what they have to work with, here are those first 5 clues:
Clue #1 -- January 23
The old curmudgeon was in high dudgeon
When a critter ran off with the loot
But this year to be credible, we've made it inedible
And stuck it in a park � so scoot!

Clue #2 -- January 24
Snow we have missed much, this not very white Christmas
But the ice has come to stay
The water's quite frozen at this park we have chosen
Along its paths you may while time away

Clue #3 -- January 25
Be safe and we pledge, neither cliff nor water's edge
Figures in your hunting pursuit
What's that you hear? Please, have no fear
It was there before we moved in

Clue #4 -- January 26
The siren calls, the giant falls
'Tween field generals the poet sings
That down beyond the once blue pond
Is treasure fit for kings

Clue #5 -- January 27, 2005
A branch, a lichen, a place made for hikin',
Is where a prize is earned.
Don't run, helter skelter, seek out solid shelter
With room and wood to burn
The PiPress discussion board is already full of Holmes wannabees looking for that tidbit of info that may lead them to the riches. But I have found it is more luck then anything else. Whomever is in the right place at the right time will be the victor, and it generally takes the last clue, which all but pinpoints the exact location, to find the treasure.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

You Mean Him!

Good Ole Swiftee states in my comments yesterday:
BTW, the (No New Taxes) pledge is unreasonable only insofar as the Governor's ability to control the legislature's spending.

And by "legislature" I include some Republican's who need to be reminded why they were allowed to take a seat on our behalf.
Maybe he was talking about this guy:
Sen. Bill Belanger of Bloomington, lead Republican on the Senate Tax Committee, said he doesn't see a way to balance the budget without raising additional revenues.

"This governor has painted himself into a corner and I can't help him," Belanger said. "He never should have taken that [no-tax] pledge. I've always felt you have to keep all your options open. Yes, this is a high-tax state, but what the governor seems to have forgotten is Minnesotans expect a high level of services. I don't think there's any appetite for the kind of cuts he may have to make.
from the STRIB


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Tim Tax A Plenty!

In the Governor's State of the State address he stated:
Keeping a lid on taxes is not just good for the taxpayer. It's a powerful way to force government to be more accountable, set priorities and spend smarter. Let me repeat that: more accountable, set priorities and spend smarter?that's what we need to be about.
and when his budget comes out today you will find:
Property taxes for schools would increase an estimated 23 percent next year under the budget that Gov. Tim Pawlenty is scheduled to recommend to legislators today.

In each of the two years after that, the portion of property taxes homeowners pay for schools would rise about 9 percent annually, the Education Department predicts.
What we have is Pawlenty basically rolling back all the work Ventura did on Education finance. It also shows how important it is that we elect someone who is fiscally responsible during the next Governor's race. It is obvious what we have here is a GOP shell game.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Another hat to wear

Be careful what you wish for. For context, DCA (Drum Corps Associates) is the international all-age drum corps association:
Central Division Coordinator
January 24, 2005
Kurt Schiebel of St. Paul, MN and a long time member of the Minnesota Brass, Inc. and currently Business Manager of MBI has been appointed coordinator of the DCA Central Division by DCA President, Gil Silva. Kurt was a prime motivator in the creation of DCA Central and brings many years of DCA management experience to the position.
Drum corps is my other life. Some people golf, some fish, others bowl, everyone has their 'other life'. Mine is drum corps. This year, I will be marching with the Govenaires, to follow my father and grandfather who also marched with this fine organization. But now I also have a Region to run, in hopes of promoting the brand of DCA drum corps that those out East have become so accustomed to.

I think I'm up for the challenge.


Sunday, January 23, 2005

The King of Late Night Talk . . .

has passed.
(CNN) -- Johnny Carson, host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" for nearly 30 years, died Sunday of emphysema.

"He passed away this morning," Carson's nephew, Jeffrey Sotzing, told CNN.

The long-time smoker was 79 and had announced in 2002 that he was suffering from the disease.

Carson hosted the late-night talk show from October 1, 1962, to May 22, 1992, taking over from Jack Paar and handing off to Jay Leno.

He wasn't the first, and won't be the last, but he set the standard for late night TV. As a youngster, I didn't 'get' most of his jokes until I was a little older. But nothing was better then his trademark soft shoe dance on those few occasions his monologue was bombing.

R.I.P Mr Carson!


MOB MOB MOBing along

Great turnout for the Minnesota Organization of Blogs gathering. I was the only admitted Left leaner in the crowd, although Mitch mentioned that there may have been another.

Highlights for me:

**Running into my Cousin Kyle who happens to work across the street at West Photo. GREAT seeing him again.

**Seeing Cathy and Jo actually follow through on their pajama attire.

**Watching The Doctor, King Banaian, and Matt discussing the Public funding of education.

**Sharing with the King about our mutual acquaintance, the late Crumpton Farrell

**Engaging with The Doctor and Purplestater regarding the 5 Ws and the H in the Middle East

Best line of the Night:
I bet, with all the people in this room, we could take over a small country . . . . or France!
GREAT time!! You could tell we have done this a couple times before, as the shop talk was a little more prevalent then in the past. But that was just fine with me. I learned a lot. The next best thing to reading, is listening.

Oh . . and GiGi . . . Swiftie sends his love . . sincerely *smile*

I'll be updating this post as others share their insights. There were a few cameras out as well, so I suspect we will see those candid moments of embarrassment displayed soon enough!


UPDATE: A live blogging of the event.

The Bogus Gold report.

Cathy has posted her experience, complete with a picture of the pajama clad.

A view from Cake Eater Land.

and finally Mitch's version of the evening!

Friday, January 21, 2005

A Dentyne smile?

For all the heat Botox John took during the election cycle, I wonder how many on the Right will taunt a local politician for his make-over.

Link to original photos. My first dabble in animation. The compression did some wierd things to the color.

via MNGOPWatch

Air America Grows

This article explains the growth of Air America from it's premature death last Spring.
After a hype-filled launch in March, stoked by the passion of the presidential-election campaign, the network ran out of money within six weeks and was kicked off the air in Los Angeles and Chicago, leaving it with just a New York station and two smaller markets. Critics predicted the company wouldn't recover, especially after the election ended and interest in politics faded.
But tight funds and a slow start would not be enough to hinder the determination of those committed to getting the truth out onto the airwaves. In fact, we may be able to thank the Right.
In fact, President Bush's victory might be the best thing that could have happened to the network. Just as Rush Limbaugh and other conservative radio voices flourished during eight years of President Clinton, Air America's hosts now have an inviting target for the rest of the term.

"What happened on Nov. 2 may have been bad for America but it sure was good for Air America," says Rob Glaser, chairman of Air America.

Since the election, Air America hosts have had plenty of fodder. The network has called the move to privatize Social Security "risk-based Social Security" and poked fun at the peccadilloes of Bernard Kerik during his ill-fated nomination for homeland-security chief.
Air America is here to stay. A steady influx of cash and the contract extensions of Al Franken and Randi Rhodes solidifies the talent. And the ratings . . . well . . .
Definitive ratings for most of Air America's markets won't be released until later in the month. But local market research and anecdotal evidence indicate that the network is gaining traction. On the Internet, Air America is the fourth most popular radio station, with almost 200,000 weekly Web listeners, according to Webcast Metrics. (The top rated online radio station is Digitally Imported, which offers "electronic dance music.")

In New York, Ms. Rhodes is tied with conservative Sean Hannity for the talk-show host that listeners spent the most time with each week in the fall season, according to Arbitron. Ms. Rhodes points out that she reached that level after just a few months of national exposure, and without the television show and book Mr. Hannity has to boost his public profile.
I had told Mitch the day after the election "The bad news is, your guy won, the good news is, we have four more years of material"

via TalkLeft

Thursday, January 20, 2005

28 Years ago . . . .

Today is inauguration day. Over 48% of the country will not be doing back flips or backslapping today. Their guy lost. The inaugural event may be likened to the Super Bowl. If your team is in the big game, you are tuned in closely to enjoy the event and relish in the spoils of the victor. If you are on the outside looking in, you may have a keen interest in the festivities, but probably won't be glued to the TV, hanging on every word throughout the day.

I have a somewhat different perspective. I've been there. I have been in DC during an inaugural week and was engulfed in the moment of leadership transition. My experience was similar to what the Lakeville Marching Band is experiencing, and I am sure they are having a blast.

Soon after Jimmy Carter's victory in 1976, an all out lobbying effort ensured by various musical organization seeking to be selected by the governor to represent the State in the inaugural parade. As a member of the Anoka High School marching band, we felt our chances were pretty good. Three time Minnesota State Fair champs, 3 time Tri State champions, and coming off our Victory over Buffalo Grove IL for the Manisphere title in Winnipeg Canada during the Summer of 1976. These laurels did not go unnoticed, and we were the pick.

The trip was fantastic, aside from the 24+ hour bus ride. Our schedule was tight and structured, but still included many of the important venues that DC has to offer. Here is a picture of a 16 year old Flash, presenting the city to the viewer.

The morning of the parade was an early one. Security was pretty tight even back then. All the busses carrying the various musical groups had a specific route to take, and were required to be in their parade order. What a logistical nightmare for the organizer, but as a participant, I was none the wiser. We were going to be playing for the President, and there wasn't much that was going to hinder us from completing that mission. Here is a shot of those busses lined up:

The parade went off without a hitch. It was chilly. We had a 'special' valve oil mixture, including a few drops of antifreeze to prevent our horns from locking up. The parade moved at a quick clip, almost to the point we were running. We didn't have any time to play during the parade route itself, but of course, performed the Minnesota Rouser, along with Johnny Comes Marching Home for the dignitaries in the box. I tried straining my eyes to see the new President and Vice President, but the rules were the same then as they are now. No stopping, no looking, no nothing directed at the President's box.

We left the next day, with our heads full of memories, and an honor not many have experienced. I even managed to get a little sleep on the way home:

So I honor and respect President Bush and his supporters today. Enjoy the moment before you roll up the sleeves. Just because I honor his victory doesn't mean I will roll over and play dead. It is the job of the winner, to carry out their platform, and the duty of the opposition, to keep you all in check!


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Blogger Bash

The Minnesota Organization of Blogs (MOB) will be meeting at Keegan's Irish Pub this weekend. Festivities begin at 5:ish and will extend into the evening.

Mitch posts and end time of 9:00, but I don't think they would kick us out if we were still there.

Come join the fun, and put blogs to names to faces!

HEY GIGI! Swiftee will probably be there *laughing*


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Is Springer Telegraphing?

Jerry Springer begins liberal radio show

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) -- Jerry Springer's new radio talk show doesn't have guests who get in fist fights or blurt foul language.

Springer promised to provide unabashed liberal views to counter the positions of President Bush in the first airing Monday of his radio show in Cincinnati, where he once served as mayor.
I'm not sure this is the guy the Left wants presenting their message, but if it makes the Right a little on edge, maybe it won't be all that bad.
"This is a guy who peddles smut for a living," said Jason Mauk, a spokesman for the state GOP.
Ahhhhh, a healthy engagment of public discourse.


Keep Your Eyes Open

And your ears in tune

It's all part of the same game plan!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I Have a Dream

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Complete text, with audio.


Friday, January 14, 2005

Powerline -vs- Coleman

. . . -vs- TCF -vs- New Patriot

My blogging limitations prevented me from touching on the latest chest thumping between the Left and Right sides of the blogosphere. Here is the short version.

Powerline 'n Co have been blasting Coleman, who in turn blasted back. TCF, whom a writer for Powerline is a VP decided to pull all their ads from the Strib because of Coleman's insinuation that his readers should consider pulling their accounts from TCF. The Left side of Blogistan is promoting an all out boycott of TCF, while the Right side is defending the actions of TCF as simply good business.

Where am I at on this. People can pick where they want to bank using whatever criteria they choose. And if TCF wants to pull their ads out of the primary print media of the Twin Cities, that's their call, and I respect it.

I pulled my money out of TCF Long Long ago. Their scrappy customer service and frustrating impersonal business practices got the better of me long before Powerline and Coleman had anything to say. The majority of my banking is done through the Teacher Federal Credit Union, with a couple accounts at Wells Fargo for bills and such.

Here is a more thorough Left (or here) side , Right side take.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

MCPPA Appeal Begins

Regardless of how bad Mitch has felt this week, you can bet he has at least one eye on this:
Court to hear appeal today
Both sides of conceal-and-carry law ready for a fight
The Personal Protection Act has been in effect for about 6 months, and I haven't heard of many, if any problems with licensed and certified permit holders going all Tombstone on anyone. In fact, it was just the other day I thought we may have our first mainstream outing of a gun owner's improper use of his weapon. But upon further review, the guy who pulled the gun was an off duty cop, and he would have had a weapon regardless of the PPA.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Centrifugal Force

I caught a post on Centerfeud yesterday, titled Finding the Center (if there indeed is one).Purplestater touches on a post from Frederick, at Thought at the Meridian. Specifically:
The fascistoid squabbling going on amongst leftist groups is not only annoying, but deeply disturbing. And I can't see that that's going to change in the foreseeable future. Neither can I see any evidence of a decent Left evolving, only decent Leftists.
Purplestater's comment:
Like Frederick, I too am dismayed at the tendency of so many on the Left to give a pass to the depredations of totalitarian regimes or terrorist groups, or even sympathize with them to an extent, because they oppose US policy aims. The Left seems much more concerned with fighting faux fascism than confronting real fascism, in part because that would put them on the same page as their ideological enemies.
I couldn't agree more. If the left insists on attack, instead of promoting good policy change, they will become nothing more then an asterisk.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Compare and Contrast

I thought this was the most creative item of the day. I am sure those on the Right will be too lathered up to appreciate it, so this is for the rest of you!

From the diaries:

CBS News's The U.S. governments's reporting of a fiercely disputed story on President Bush's National Guard service claim on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction contained "considerable and fundamental deficiencies," an independent panel said yesterday, prompting the network administration to oust three top executives Pentagon officials and Mary Mapes, Dan Rather's producer on the September piece Dick Cheney, George Bush's producer on the 2003 war.

The investigators faulted Rather Bush, who has already announced plans to step down as anchor President in March 2009, for being overenthusiastic in pursuit of the story war and overzealous in defending it after serious questions surfaced about whether the 30-year-old memos questionable intelligence he was citing were bogus. CBS Bush rushed the story on the air at the height of the presidential 2002 mid-term campaign despite having "failed miserably" to authenticate the documents information and made false and misleading statements in defending the story afterward, said the panel led by former attorney general Dick Thornburgh and former Associated Press chief executive Louis Boccardi.

"There's no question it's a black eye for CBS Bush," network President Leslie Moonves the American public, who hired the panel, said in an interview. "But in the steps we're taking, we've tried to move quickly. It's a blow, but it's not fatal. . . . We're getting rid of the people we think were to blame. Ninety-nine percent of the stories wars we do start are accurate and solid."

The 224-page report, which blames the network government's rush on a "myopic zeal" to be first with the Bush patriotic story saga, amounts to a stunning repudiation of the news intelligence gathering process of CBS News the US government and the midweek spinoff election of one of its crown jewels, "60 Minutes." the Presidency. It also tarnishes the reputation of Rather Bush, its anchor president since 1981 2001, who would have faced considerable pressure to step down had he not already agreed to relinquish the anchor chair bamboozled the news media, although he plans to continue as a correspondent President for "60 Minutes." 4 Years. Rather Bush, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, has apologized for his role in the story alleging that Bush received favorable treatment in the Texas Air National Guard  questionable information from the CIA.

Monday, January 10, 2005

You're FIRED!

The investigation into the Rathergate Memo story has been released (PDF), costing the jobs of 4 members of the Wednesday 60 minutes team.
The network fired Mary Mapes, producer of the report; Josh Howard, executive producer of ``60 Minutes Wednesday'' and his top deputy Mary Murphy; and senior vice president Betsy West.
Rather was spared, since he is stepping down anyway. It will be interesting to see how much time is spent on this evening's news telecast to report their investigation.

in addressing the Memos, specifically:
Although the panel said it couldn't prove conclusively the documents were forged, it said CBS News failed to authenticate them and falsely claimed an expert had done so when all he had done was authenticate one signature.
I am sure Powerline will have a detailed response, but nothing is up yet. (Here is Powerline's take)


UPDATE: The Captain fires the first volley from the Right

Linguistic Lair

The American Dialect Society Has named it's Words of the Year. Some favorites:
Word of the Year:
red state, blue state, purple state: together, a representation of the American political map.

Most Useful: phish: to acquire passwords or other private information (of an individual, an account, a web site, etc.) via a digital ruse.

Most Creative: pajamahadeen: bloggers who challenge and fact-check traditional media.
Other favorites nominated:
Other nominees for word of the year were:

flip-flopper, a politician who changes political stances;

meet-up, a local special interest meeting organized though a national Web site;

mash-up, a blend of two songs or albums into a single cohesive musical work; and

wardrobe malfunction, an unanticipated exposure of bodily parts.
Some other that didn't make the short list:
"lawn mullet," which describes a lawn that is neatly mowed in the front but unmowed in the back. (they obviously have driven by my house in the Summer)

"Hillbilly armor," describing U.S. troops scavenging for material to protect their vehicles, and "nerdvana", a term for collaborative geekiness, also were nominated in that category, but lost to pajamahadeen: bloggers who challenge and fact-check traditional media.
Just some Monday morning humor.


Queenies Won!

The Queens pulled off a surprising 'W' this weekend. I was walking around work on Friday saying Vikes by 13, but that was more to keep myself interested in the game. I honestly didn't think it was going to actually happen that way.

I am not the one to gloat, this team is not that good, but we live to play another day, and I'll leave the gloating to Jeff:

Holy cow, Green Bay, you didn't just get beat in the playoffs--you got beat by the Minnesota Vikings. An 8-8 team. A team that was 2-20 over their last 22 outdoor games. A team that was something like 0-939 in meaningful games in the Mike Tice era. A team that had Randy F--ing Moss on it, a player that continues to match his talent only with leaden stupidity.

It's like getting beat by a Pop Warner team that features Robert Downey, Jr. at quarterback.
The Eagles have been my 'other' team all year, but I'll be pulling for Purple at Noon on Sunday.



UPDATE: (via ProMN) Sisyphus has posted the Top 11 ways to console a despondent Packer fan!

Hillary -vs- Newt

Boy, what a race that would be.
The former House speaker who led Republicans to power a decade ago said he soon will visit Iowa and New Hampshire to promote his book, try to influence public policy and keep his political options alive.

"Anything seems possible," including a White House race, Gingrich told The Associated Press.
Fortunately, he does state later in the article that
"I don't think it's very likely."


Sunday, January 09, 2005

Getting it Done

Here is an excerpt from the Princeton Union Eagle. They interviewed some locals regarding their involvement in the Tsunami Relief efforts. Jake Ulm is the son of an old neighbor friend of mine when I was growing up in Brooklyn Center:
Jake Ulm

Ulm, 23, is a U.S. Navy aviation technician, petty officer second class, who is part of a crew on a P-3C Orion Navy surveillance aircraft. He was already deployed to the Middle East and Japan and was on call the day the tsunami hit.

Shortly after the disaster Ulm and his crew were dispatched to Thailand to do initial assessments of the tsunami damage. After a couple days of that, the crew headed off to assess the damage at Sri Lanka and India.

"We have done four missions over Sri Lanka so far and the damage is unbelievable," Ulm said. "Our missions are usually about 11 hours in the air but they end up being almost 18-hour days."

"Many houses are reduced to nothing but pieces of scattered wood. There is also major flooding as far as a mile inland."

"Since we have been flying over Sri Lanka, people are gradually starting to come out and trying to piece together what they have lost. For the most part, we are just going up there to try and figure out just how much damage was done, paying close attention to bridges and major roadways."

"This was the first humanitarian mission that I have done in my five years in the Navy but these missions mean a lot to us just because we are helping a lot of people. This is definitely an experience that I will hold on to for the rest of my life."

Ulm explained that his position on the crew is in-flight technician/ordnance man and he is part of Patrol Squadron 4 based at Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii. His five- year duty contract ends in May.
They are doing amazing work over there, so don't forget to support World Relief Day.


Friday, January 07, 2005

Reminder, World Relief Day

My first post of the year pointed you to Captain Ed's World Relief Day declaration. Many of us don't know when to give, to whom to give, or how much to give. The Captain has answered all three of those questions.

Give now, Give to World Vision, and it is recommended you consider donating one days take home pay, but give within your means and help spread the word!

Thanks Ed for stepping up!


Scandal Plagued

One of the local Talk Radio shows (I surf around the dial, either 'CCO, The Patriot, Straight Talk or KSTP) was pointing out last night the realities of what may be in store for our most recent Two Term office holder

Richard Nixon (1968, 1972) Watergate took hold soon after the inauguration and totally derailed the administration to the point of resignation.

Ronald Reagan (1980, 1984) Iran Contragate has continued to put a dent in Reagan's legacy, much to the chagrin of the Right who hold him up as the greatest gift to America

William Cinton (1992, 1996) There may have been some stumbles in his first term, but the whole Ken Starr Special Prosecution laid the stage for the Impeachment process.

Now we have Two Termer George, who brings in some baggage from his first presidential term into his second. The Gonzalez hearings may only be a taste of what is in store for the President as he attempts to establish Karl Rove's his own legacy, in hopes that he will not fall victim to the Two Term curse.


Thursday, January 06, 2005


I hope I didn't hose anything. I needed a change. A little easier on the eyes, and I don't look like Spitbull anymore *laughing*

Let me know if something is screwed up!

All for one and Wi Fi for All

Shot in the Dark is touching on the City Wide Wi Fi proposal being discussed at the St. Paul City Council

Mitch points us to a quote that continues to make it difficult for people like me to defend the actions of wide eyed government activities:
"We don't know what the end result will be, . . . " Council Member Dave Thune
When I first read about the idea, I asked myself; "Self, do we have an Internet access problem in St. Paul that needs to be resolved through public intervention. Is the market not supporting the demand?"

The answer to both questions was NO! Which leads me to the next question. Did the St. Paul City Council bother asking themselves those two questions?

Belated Anniversary

The first of two rovers on Mars, Spirit, celebrated their one year anniversary on the Red planet Tuesday. Not bad for a vehicle that was designed for a 3 months stint. Are we sure this was a government project. Plans are to continue using both bots as long as power allows and communication hold

Follow the adventures of both Spirit and Opportunity at my sidebar Red Rover Red Rover link. Some fantastic panoramas and animations of the Red Planet are there.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Smoking Ban

On the plate for this session is a State Wide Smoking Ban. For the record, I am against government meddling in the personal choices of individuals. If you don't want to go to a smoke filled bar, then don't go. But don't force a business owner to risk his livelihood over it.

Craig Westover does a nice job of laying this one out.
If Mr. Moffitt has read my columns, then he would know that I oppose smoking bans on the basis of private property rights, on the basis of the right of contract between employee and employer, on the principle of limited government and on a criteria-based approach to public health. If those rights and principles are “indefensible,” then we’re in more trouble than Mr. Moffitt realizes.
Later on, Craig points us to this site which chronicles the battle going on in Grand Forks. It is a warning from a bar owner in New York, a current victim of their recently enacted ban
I own a bar in Manhattan. I've lost nearly half my business to New York's smoking ban. The economy, the blackout, the tragedy of Sept. 11 (which was mere blocks away from my bar), none of these things kept us down for long. We're a popular place. We've been around for seven years (which is ancient in this fickle business). I had every intention of being around for at least seven more.

Now, I and my managers have not been paid for three months. We've gone without so that we could pay the bills. I've had to let go a third of my staff. And there's no explanation other than the smoking ban.
The reason some bars and restaurants are smoke filled, is because there are smokers in them. Ban smokers, you are banning their customers. Sure they may still stop by, but not for as long, and certainly not as often. If it is the goal of the 2005 legislature to systemically destroy an industry in this state, then go ahead and pass the ban. But at least be honest about why you are doing it.

NO, I'm Not Making This Up!

From CNN:
JONESBORO, Georgia (AP) -- On his first day on the job, the new sheriff called 27 employees into his office, stripped them of their badges, fired them, and had rooftop snipers stand guard as they were escorted out the door.

The move Monday by Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill provoked an angry reaction and prompted a judge to order him to rehire the employees.

"It appears ... that employees of the Sheriff were terminated without cause" and in violation of the county's civil service rules, Judge Stephen Boswell wrote in granting a 30-day restraining order.

Hill, 39, defended the firings and said the new sheriff has the right to shake up the department in whatever way he feels necessary. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he fired the employees to "maintain the integrity of the department."
This is a made for TV Movie. New black sheriff, in what used to be a rural white run Shop. The County borders the jurisdiction where we had a losing sheriff candidate shoot and kill the winner just before he was to take office. Talk about tension.

Read the article, it is stranger then fiction!


UPDATE: The Captain has his take on this awkward event. Hosting problems on his end prevented me from catching his post earlier.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Let's Play Nice This Year

Former Republican Governor Arne Carlson's advice to the 2005 Legislature (from the STRIB):
"There has to be a real lowering of the sharp rhetoric, especially on the Republican side. The campaign's over. Let's get something done and not use this session as a building block for the next campaign."
Here's to a productive 2005 session. It can't be any worse then the mismanaged mess of last year!


Monday, January 03, 2005

Swiftee, Help Me with This Math Question

Pair 'o Dice posted a few days ago on education and accountability. I think it was more of an anti Dr. Harvey rant. Maybe Tom had a New Year's resolution to be kindler and gentler, and had to get some stuff off his chest before the New Year kicked in.

Anyway, what caught my eye was some figures he was throwing out at the end of the post:
For the five year period 2000-2004, 8th graders have been averaging a 45% passing rate which isn’t anything to shout about,
I'm not sure where you are going with this. First of all, to have half of the 8th graders pass a 12th grade graduation test seems acceptable to me. And second, if 80+% of 8th graders were passing this exam, you would be all over the credibility of the instrument.

but they completely tank by the 12th grade . . only 22% seniors passed the math portion this year.

For you readers from Crocus Hill, that means that 78% will have to make the test up before they can graduate.
How can 78% have to make up the test, when 45% already passed it in 8th grade?!?

I'm not sure this is what the numbers are saying. Once you pass the test, you are done. I am sure the 22% passing is based on the number taking the test that particular year. The 45%, of the people that passed the test in 8th grade, no longer have to attempt the exam, they have achieved the requirement. The later you get into the process, the more challenging students you have left to complete the test.

I know 10th graders who are LD, and have not passed the exam. I don't suspect they will, but it won't be because of a flawed school, lack of parental support, and lack of trying. Their brains are simply wired different.

Hopefully Swiftee will stop by and clarify his figures for me. It must be that new George Bush Simple Math. It seems to work well on the budget.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Tsunami Relief

Here's a great idea:
At Captain's Quarters, we're declaring January 12th World Relief Day. I ask that CQ readers donate their take-home pay for January 12th to the tsunami relief effort at World Vision. Obviously, we cannot hope to match the funds raised by governments -- but we can show what a handful of determined private individuals can do to help. If you can't afford to donate all of your take-home pay for that day, please donate what you can.
There are several issues that cross party lines. This is certainly one of them!