Thursday, March 31, 2005

Pope John Paul II near the end

CNN is reporting that John Paul II has been given the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church. He is experiencing a high fever as the result of a urinary tract infection.


Man Bites Dog

Some have pointed out that the splintering of the Right over recent issues (think Shiavo, Social Security, etc.) is not necessarily a sign of collapse. The perseverance of the Right is a perfect example of the strength of the Small Tent party. Their ability to rally a larger base then the Left will ever have, has as much to do with their success, as it does their lack of dissension within the ranks. That is why the Left takes some joy in seeing their opponents scurry for cover when they either inadvertently, or reluctantly take on unpopular issues.

Howard Kurtz had an excellent article the other day, sharing his take on the recent internal struggles of the GOP.
The image of a unified governing party is cracking fast.

These are normal strains, of course, for a political coalition that controls all the levers of government in Washington. When the Democrats ran the show, they were split on just about everything (health care, welfare, Clinton's conduct, you name it). But it's at odds with the image of a well-oiled Republican machine with the discipline to carry out the president's every wish. That now seems so first-term.
See, it is not uncommon for the big tent Left to have squabbles. It is amazing they are ever able to rally around a cause or a candidate with all the different factions fighting for power. When they bicker, it is a 'Dog Bites Man' story. When the Right withers, it is 'Man Bites Dog"

Kurtz itemizes some of the skirmishes within the ranks of the Right:
The budget? Some of the party's economic conservatives say federal spending is out of control and that Congress might even have to think about (gasp) limiting the Bush tax cuts.

Social Security? Not all Republicans are climbing on the Bush bandwagon for private accounts, which they view as political dynamite. Some, like Lindsey Graham, want to raise the $90,000 cap on wages subject to SS taxation, which Denny Hastert and other party leaders have rejected as a tax increase.

Immigration? While Bush promised Vicente Fox he would push a program aimed at allowing guest workers, some Republicans want to crack down on border control and asylum seekers instead.

Terri Schiavo? Some libertarian Republicans don't like the idea of the party shedding its traditional opposition to federal control and judicial activism to pluck the case out of the Florida courts, let alone writing a bill aimed at just one person. It was GOP Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut who said, "This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy."
The Column then centers on the debate over Jeff Jarvis' statements,
But the overdose of overdoing it that we're seeing on TV these last few weeks may just be the catalyst that causes a backlash, that reminds us that we are a secular nation of churchgoers and that we value separation of church and state over either church or state: That is our mainstream.
and the comments from several National Bloggers:

Hugh Hewitt
"While full of entertaining fury, Jeff's logic is compromised on a number of points. Like those who see a crack-up among the conservatives, Jeff's essay is an exercise in wish-fulfillment.
and Andrew Sullivan:
"Beneath all this is a struggle between conservatives who place their faith in the formalities of constitutionalism and those who place their literal faith in the God-revealed truths they believe are enshrined in the Declaration, truths that alone give meaning, in their eyes, to America as a political project."
Kurtz points out several other examples, from both sides. But the mere fact that all this scuttle is going on, is not so much the strategic placing of a liberal bias in the media. It is a story, a story that is news when a strong and structured organization struggles to keep their own people in line.

It's SOP in the DFL, *yawn* but fascinating to watch the Right wiggle.


Terri Passes

From CNN:
Terri Schiavo has died
Thursday, March 31, 2005 Posted: 10:07 AM EST (1507 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Terri Schiavo, the 41-year-old brain-damaged woman who became the centerpiece of a national right-to-die battle, died Thursday morning, nearly two weeks after doctors removed the feeding tube that had sustained her for more than a decade.
May she rest in peace!


Happy Birthday, Nick

Oh the Joys of parenthood! My middle son is 13 today. I enjoy birthdays at my home, but not sure how much I will enjoy having another teenager in the house (the oldest is 15, the youngest trailing behind at 11, a few months shy of 12)

However, I know my mother is as giddy as can be. Her dreams of me having three boys 'just like you' are slowly coming to fruition. And she reminds me constantly *laughing*

No matter, I love them more every day!

Happy Birthday Nick!

I've got something in the hopper for later. It's been a busy morning!


Wednesday, March 30, 2005

PC Repair

When nothing else works:

PC Repair Directions

and remember . . . If you can't fix it, it's a feature!


Anyone, anyone . . .

I don't usually do these quizzes, and the few I do, I am generally not brave enough to post the results. But this one caught me off guard:
You are Ferris Bueller (from Ferris Bueller's Day Off)! You're a smooth talker and a resourceful, quick thinker, and you play by your own rules. Fortunately, you use such things for fun and not to hurt anyone else. God only knows what would happen if you crossed paths with Lisa from Weird Science.
Which John Hughes Character Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
via Uncle Buck

Shame on you

Mitch has a post today entitled "Things I Like But Probably Shouldn't." I'll touch on his bookends.

Kelly Clarkson - Yes, I hate American Idol. And when on AI, she was like all the other AI winners - a cookie-cutter Celene Dion wannabe. And yet beyond the standard-issue laser voice with tungsten-clad pipes, she's come up with - take note of this, all you AI contenders - at least a few songs that don't suck.
I didn't get hooked on AI until season two, and followed the show from beginning to end. That first season I only caught the last few shows. Kelly came off as plastic, the wannabe that Mitch mentioned. But Kelly came out of the recording studio with some tunes that hit all the right nerves. Miss Independent was one of my favorite listens, and the more recent, ballady Breakaway displays her talents well. I hope that happens with this year's crop, by far the most talented crew of the four seasons. But after last nights fiasco, they can take some lessons from Kelly.

and Last:
Prairie Home Companion - Keillor is Keillor, but the show is funny, and the musical guests, from Richard Thompson to the Minnesota Orchestra, are often amazing.
Mitch . . said something positive . . . about Keillor . . Must . . . check . . . temperature . . . in Hell . . . must look out window . .

But Mitch redeems himself and shows how far out of touch he really is. He also posts his list of Things I Hate But I'm Supposed To Like Some of these I don't think he even tries. KFAN, BEST talk radio out there, and Sponge Bob, how can ya not like Sponge Bob!


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Sympathy Dining

During my AM perusal of the Strib, I happened to glance over CJ's column. She has a segment on 'Sympathy Dining'. A plea to those to return to the 'Penn Best Steak House' after a deadly gangland style shooting on March 4th. The restaurant is struggling since the event. Lunch hours are slow, dinner time slower. But some are stepping up to help this unfortunate business, nestled in the wrong place at the wrong time:
Caroline Lowe confirmed that she has eaten twice at Penn Best Steakhouse since the gruesome double murder. One of the Twin Cities' best TV reporters and a certified police officer to boot, Lowe is also a huge softy.

Shortly after the March 4 killings of Frank Haynes, 21, and Raliegh Robinson, 68, Lowe took her husband, Jack, to eat there when the family-owned restaurant reopened. She and Jack waited to eat steak until after the place was swarming with TV cameras and politicos showing support.

Last week, Lowe returned to dine again, this time in the company of photog David Chaney.

"Chaney and I had a nice lunch on Monday," she said. "But it's heartbreaking to see this place empty, and I think if enough people don't go, it's going to close. The restaurant has nothing to do with what happened. They just happened to be there when a gunman targeted one person at one table, and an innocent bystander, a 68-year-old grandfather, got hit in the crossfire. I wrote a little thing about a gangland shooting in a family restaurant in my blog."
Yeap, Caroline has a blog, and speaks of the shooting at this entry.

But the story continues, and it is a impassioned portrayal of business survival, with a dinner invite thrown in.

So if you are in the neighborhood, looking for a place to eat, stop by. As Caroline said
"Do you want to let thugs shut a restaurant down in an area that doesn't have that many choices?"
Don't let them win!


Monday, March 28, 2005

Day of Remembrance

From the Governor's Office:
Whereas: On Monday, March 21, 2005, the Red Lake Nation experienced what Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. said was "the darkest day in the history of our tribe" when nine individuals were shot and fatally wounded, another seven individuals were shot and injured, by a troubled teenager; and

Whereas: The people of the Red Lake Nation are strong people and the state of Minnesota joins this tight-knit community in mourning the senseless loss of family members, students, teachers, security guards, peace officers, and friends; and

Whereas: The hearts and prayers of all Minnesotans go out to the Red Lake Nation as they mourn the loss of Daryl Lussier, Michelle Sigana, Derrick Brun, Neva Rogers, Dewayne Lewis, Chase Lussier, Alicia Spike, Thurlene Stillday, and Chanelle Rosebear, and pray for the recovery of the other victims and ask all Minnesotans to help comfort the families and friends of the victims who are suffering unimaginable pain.

Now, Therefore, I, TIM PAWLENTY, Governor of Minnesota, do hereby proclaim that the State of Minnesota flag be flown at half-staff on state property and on school property across Minnesota from sunrise to sunset on Monday, March 28, 2005. Further, I ask that all Minnesotans observe a moment of silence and reflection at 2:00 p.m. that day in honor of:
Red Lake Day of Remembrance

Doug Moved

Bogus Gold has relocated his blogging home to some new digs. Be sure to adjust your bookmarks, and visit him frequently. Today he is in a ranting mode.

It is painful to watch Republicans scratch their head in wonderment when they figure everyone should be as successful as them, and if their not, it is all their fault!

Mitch has an interesting take that even has a level of objectivity to it:
Y'see, there's a great story here; the domestic abuse industry creates a lot of ex-felons in this state - it's a scandalously easy system to get sucked into. The familyl court system pretty much chews up low-skilled, low-income guys like Benettie and spits them out; the child support system takes what it wants and leaves, for men like Benettie, very little at the end of the day; there's an underclass of men in Minnesota that can never get dug out of poverty, no matter how hard they work (as, indeed, Benettie seems to). Assuming Benettie's ex-wife has a similar story, the welfare system is probably involved, and there's a system there that needs to have a light flipped on, working hand-in-glove with the child support system while actively encouraging dependence on it. There are four different systems that need exposing!
Once you're in the system, it is difficult to shake the bonds, regardless of how hard you try.



The Big Ten had a very respectable showing. It also allowed me to squeak by the Foot as the fighting Illini fought back from a 15 point deficit to humble the opposing Arizona squad in an overtime thriller. Three of the four games this weekend went past the standard time allotment. It was a beautiful weekend for hoops fans.

In other Sports news, the Lady Gopher Hockey squad added another National Title to their belt, while the man needed two overtime games to advance to the Frozen Four. Who says Minnesota isn't hockey country.

And finally, Bob Casey died. The only announcer the Twinkies have ever had. His booming voice will be missed, but not forgotten.


UPDATE: I feel compelled to remind everyone of this comment made by the King of Snark, LearnedFoot himself:
It's not important. However, it is a rare moment in history indeed when you see someone mathematically eliminated from winning the office pool before the second round even begins.
With that, my sister has informed my that she has won her office pool using the same board I have been following. Even before the Final Four games begin, she is entrenched in first place.

So the rumors of mathematical elimination were grossly exaggerated, unless, of course, ole LF was using President Bush's Simple Math, then anything can happen yet.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Basketblogging S16 to the F4

Sweet 16 games began last night. Although my Champion Jayhawks are out of it, my brackets still have points to earn.

With 6 of my Elite 8 picks still alive, I watched last evening to see how the first 3 would fare. I went 3 - 0, picking Louisville over the soft #1 Washington squad, Arizona squeaking by OK St., and the Illini over the out of gas UW-Milwaukee club. I needed that last one in the attempt to win the rubber game of the Basketblogging prognostication with LearnedFoot.

Over at Yahoo, my ranking continues to climb, up another 623 ticks. With over 130,000 brackets turned in, I am sitting at 669th. As for the one that matters, my sister's office pool, she is #2 of the 55 combatants. After last night, I suspect she will continue to remain competitive.

I love this game!!

I'm off work, today, so I'll be back in a bit once I work off some items on the 'honey do' list


Thursday, March 24, 2005

And now for something completely different

In honor of 'Spamalot', a Broadway version of the British hit, 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' Entertainment Weekly has listed their top 20 Favorite sketches.

The List:
1 The Spanish Inquisition
2 The Ministry of Silly Walks
3 Guy de Loimbard's Castle
4 Dead Parrot
5 The Funniest Joke in the World
6 Fish-Slapping Dance
7 The Lumberjack Song
8 Nudge Nudge (Say no more)
9 Eric the Half a Bee
10 Stoning
11 Crunchy Frog
12 Self-Defence (Think Banana disarmament)
13 Spam
14 Interesting People
15 Every Sperm Is Sacred
16 The Visitors
17 Mrs. Premise and Mrs. Conclusion Visit Sartre
18 The Restaurant Sketch
19 Kilimanjaro Expedition
20 Argument Clinic
My favorite didn't make the list. 'The Twit Olympics'.

UPDATE: The List link was changed at EW, so I have corrected it. It contains a blurb on each of the top 20.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Graph Garbage

As CNN continues to fade into obscurity, a graph posted yesterday looked like another attempt to appease the Right in CNN's attempt to dash to their side of the political spectrum. Media Matters has the skinny:
According to the poll, conducted March 18-20, when asked if they "agree[d] with the court's decision to have the feeding tube removed," 62 percent of Democratic respondents agreed, compared to 54 percent of Republicans, and 54 percent of Independents. But these results were displayed along a very narrow scale of 10 percentage points, and thus appeared to show a large gap between Democrats and Republicans/Independents:
So instead of starting the baseline at zero,, they choose to go with a 53 - 63 spread, leading one to believe on a cursory visual peek, that there is this large gap amongst respondents.

Fortunately, they recognized the error in their ways, and corrected the graphic once they were called on it.

Makes you wonder how they thought they were going to get away with it. Do they think we aren't paying attention. Judging by their recent ratings book, maybe nobody is!

(via Atrios)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

In case ya missed it.

I have been silent on the Schiavo case, letting those with vested interest and deep rooted opinions carry the torch.

I have been confused, however, by the march of the Right, who campaign on less government, less taxes, and personal responsibility, yet are determined to make sure they have their hands in everything. And then I stumbled on this Andrew Sullivan piece.:
CONSERVATISM COME UNDONE: So it is now the federal government's role to micro-manage baseball and to prevent a single Florida woman who is trapped in a living hell from dying with dignity. We're getting to the point when conservatism has become a political philosophy that believes that government - at the most distant level - has the right to intervene in almost anything to achieve the right solution. Today's conservatism is becoming yesterday's liberalism.
We have a lame duck president, and a majority in congress and senate that are all vying for the next level of power. The Right has gone from a keen, laser focused entity, to a hydra, grabbing on to several different issues all at the same time. Public polls on Social Security an Schiavo clearly show that the DC Majority is on the wrong side of the issue, so it will be interesting to see how many more irons they put in the fire, until one issue takes hold. And that will be their rally cry leading into the 2006 midterms. The questions is, how much damage will they do en route.


She's at it again!

REW's ever expanding glossary has a new addition today at the PowerLiberal. Her latest:
Straw-Manners - proper political debating etiquette.

e.g. "He seems to think a strawman agrument is any argument he disagrees with. He has poor strawmanners."
She has several terms in her sidebar under the heading "Liberal-Lingus" Check them out. This gal has talent.


Monday, March 21, 2005


I need to shake the cobwebs from the weekend. The last leg of my flight (from Philly) last night was long, having spent more time sitting on the tarmac then in the air. You can clearly feel the effects of NWA's local monopoly when other carries struggle to find gate access.

So while I tend to some other priorities today, you can check out a couple things I stumbled on while trolling last night:

Robert Fitzgerald?!?

Jeff starts up an alternative to the Kennedy Blog.

And my favorite, hockey exorcism over at Fraters.

Now back to the salt mines.


Saturday, March 19, 2005

Tie goes to the LOSER

Well, ahemm, ah . . . . I did grab the first of the three challenges in the "highly legal, er, basketball-game-predicting contest" but with my champion, Kansas, humiliating themselves in the first round, it is difficult to even follow the rest of the tourney.
I had a respectable 26 of 32 correct picks in the first round (My First round misses; Alabama, Pennsylvania, LSU, Minnesota (Homer), Kansas, Syracuse.), but again, it will be all for naught.

This afternoon, LearnedFoot's most brazen call, of UW-Milwaukee making the sweet 16, came to fruition. It will all come down to whether Illinois makes it to the Final Four. And the way the small number seeds have been dropping like flies, I may be better off just conceding now. But don't think for a second that will happen. It is the only thing I have worth looking forward to in the 'Dance' at this point.

Why did I say the tie goes to the loser. LF feels sorry for me.
Of course, even if I had won that bet, I'd be inclined to buy Flash a beer anyway.

He needs something to cry into.

If you haven't heard, or you're a myopic hockey hoser, Flash's pick to win it all, Kansas, was unceremoniously bounced from the tourney by a team whose name I forget.
So even though I am in the 95 percentile in the Yahoo 'Pickem Contest' (must be logged into Yahoo to view), and that I had underdogs like Utah and Texas Tech advancing to next weekend. The points in future rounds are slim pickens'

Yes I'm still in PA. I'll be flying home in the afternoon.


Friday, March 18, 2005

The Flash Has Landed

I am lounging in my more then adequate room at the beautiful Hampton Inn at the base of the Montage Mountain Ski Resort in Moosic PA (Scranton/Wilkes Barre).

Full wireless Internet access is available, so I will be keeping tabs on the NARN even tho I am far away from home.

Don't try anything foolish *laughing*


Thursday, March 17, 2005

Basketblogging (copyright LF)

The challenge has been accepted!

I'll fill in this post later, but the gist is here!

I have Spring Drum Corps meetings this weekend, and am flying out to Pennsylvania at the crack of dawn. Internet connectivity will be spotty at best! But you can bet I'll be tuned into the round ball!


UPDATE: Per the honorable LearnedFoot
Anyway, here are LearnedFoot's predictions:

UWM makes it to the Sweet Sixteen

George Washington over Georgia Tech (minus 5.5 points)

Illinois keeps with Big Ten tradition by underachieving its way out of the tournament before making it to the Final Four.

Flash says "yeah, right" on all three counts.

And hence the battle is joined.

I am thirsty already!

Kennedy Kerfuffle

It seems Mark Kennedy had a little stumble on KSTP radio yesterday. Enough that some of the local Righties are even a little miffed.

From Residual Force
I didn’t catch the whole exchange, but I heard the jist of it.

The question posed to Kennedy was what what were his thoughts on the release of the Dep. HLS’s study of possible terrorist attacks sights and there affect on America.

Kennedy’s answer was … BAD! And saying bad is an understatement. Ron and Mark were as stunned as I was, and they gave it to the Congressman. Rightly deserved!

Kennedy went into a “blame it on the media” response.

Not quite what Minnesotans want to hear from their next possible Senator.

And our friends at KoolAid Report weren't very pleased either:
Had I not know it was him, I would have thought it was the goofball he hopes to replace.

The GOP power in this state may very well regret coming out in support of Kennedy so early in the process.
with a telling statement from a commenter
I agree Dementee. I'm afraid its just the two of us that beleive that MK is a weak candidate,and I'm being kind...
Kennedy v The Machine does some soft peddling for Mark:
But I wouldn't make to much out of this or any other single event. Kennedy is going to get the chance to make his case in a way that supercedes the "soundbite" candidacies of recent years. To borrow a cliche, it's a marathon, not a sprint.
Overall, this is really a non event, but there is some joy in watching the Right beat up on one of their own for a change.


Template Trouble

I have received some comments that my Sidebar disappears to the bottom when using Internet Explorer. It views fine in FireFox. I have snooped around some forums to see if I could figure out where the problem is to no avail. If any of you coders out there can spot where my trouble is please let me know so I can correct it.

Also, Safari doesn't like to repeat my background color, so that is another bug that is annoying me.

Any help is appreciated. (anokaflash at gmail dot com)


UPDATE: Found it. Careful using the Bold and Italics buttons on the WYSIWYG editor of Blogger, IE doesn't like them! Sidebar should be back to normal now. Thanks to 'The Doctor' for flagging the problem, and to Swiftee for his advice on how to find the bug and correct it!

The Big Dance

Tourney time. Another opportunity to distract oneself from the rest of the world's happening. Like many others, I have a pick sheet which will help make some of the more obscure games more interesting. My Final Four:

Illinois beating Wake Forest
Kansas Beating Duke

Kansas over Illinois in the finals


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Mickey Walks!

Robert Blake has been found NOT GUILTY on Count 1, First Degree Murder, and Count 3, Solicitation to commit murder. The Jury was hung, 11 - 1 on Count 2, another Solicitation charge. One must think that the jury was leaning not guilty there.

UPDATE:The judge did ask the jury, and the 11-1 was for NOT GUILT.


MORE: The Moderate Voice shares their own insights.

Verdict Reached

From the JuryBlog
DAY NINE: March 16, 2005


A public information officer announces that the jury has reached a verdict on counts 1 and 3, but are hung on count 2, the charge in which Blake is accused of soliciting stuntman Ron Hambleton to commit murder. The verdict will be read at 2:30 p.m. PT.
That would be 4:30 to those of us in the Central Time Zone. CourtTV plans on airing the verdict live!



Peterson sentenced to death for wife's slaying
Woman's family explodes at husband, Peterson family

REDWOOD CITY, California (CNN) -- A California judge Wednesday sentenced Scott Peterson to die by lethal injection for killing his pregnant wife and her fetus, calling the deaths "cruel, uncaring, heartless and callous."

San Mateo Superior Court Judge Alfred Delucchi noted that Peterson's unborn child never had a chance to draw a breath.

Delucchi made the remarks as he denied an automatic motion to mitigate Peterson's sentence. The judge also denied a motion filed by defense attorney Mark Geragos seeking a new trial for Peterson.
and some added information
But his execution is a number of legal steps -- and more than likely a number of years -- away, and he is actually more likely to die of natural causes than be executed.

His death sentence carries a mandatory appeal, and his attorneys may file additional appeals, meaning the case could drag on for years.

In addition, despite the large number of inmates on death row, California has executed only 12 people since its death penalty was reinstated in 1978. The most recent execution in California, that of Donald Beardslee, was carried out in January after the inmate spent more than 20 years in prison.

It is what it is!

The Right is at it again, in their attempt to rewrite the dictionary. They are notorious for using warm and fuzzy names, that in effect do the opposite of what the title implies. Think No Child Left Behind or Clear Skies Act.

Well, here's the latest. We've heard of the threat by the Senate Majority to use the 'Nuclear' option to change the rules of the senate to all but remove the filibuster from the equation by having a simple majority vote on a rule change. Now, it seems, through their shills at FauxNews, they want to use a new, more appealing name:

The Constitutional Option.

That is almost as funny as Norm Coleman saying, when describing how he handles the naysayers on the Rights attempt to dismantle Social Security: "I countered it by being very clear that I supported personal accounts and opposed privatization."

Do they really think they can have it both way . . . after the snow job they got away with last November, I think they do!


UPDATE: Powerliberal is building her own glossary of terms. After 'Wingrut'When conservatives talk about the same topic over and over and over again) she now has identified the afflication that has come over Norm. He is a Conswervative (The act of playing both side of an issue so no one can report that you changed your mind.)

Extreme Makeover

My favorite local blog has taken on a Patriotic theme at the Blog of the Moderate Left. Stop by and check it out. He's looking for opinions!

There wasn't much out on the left side of the political spectrum when I started reading blogs, and then blogging myself. Most of the Right Wing was in full force, but not much out there to counter them. Jeff seemed to be their favorite punching bag. Now they have a few more of us to kick around.

Now go stop over and say hi!


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Will he flip, or flop!

The ANWR debate is firing up, and it has the makings of what a Flip Flop commercial is designed for. With the detailed tinkering of voting records, Coleman has himself in a pickle, and it is one of those few lose-lose situations that he has to face. See, in this battle, he is on the intelligent side of the debate.

Norm campaigned against ANWR drilling in his 2002 campaign. However, he did hedge himself, once in office, by considering limited drilling in exchange for energy provisions that would help Minnesota's economy. Now he states that is off the table:
"I don't see any reason why I would not vote again to eliminate the ANWR drilling provision from the budget,"
So it all seems cut and dry, correct. Ohhhh . . Not in the world of Capitol Hill politics.

The drilling provision is a portion of the Presidents budget, which assumes $5 Billion in revenues from ANWR leasing agreements. The budget will pass eventually, the questions is, will this provision be eliminated. That is where Norm's cover is.

The administration will probably allow Norm to vote to remove the provision, since there aren't enough votes to defeat it outright.
Even without Coleman's vote, the Senate's pro-drilling forces seem to have the edge with a 51-49 majority.
Which brings me to my initial supposition. How will Norm vote on the full budget.

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.

Norms in a bind, and it will be interesting to see what type of political maneuvering is done to save his vulnerable hide.

And to avoid confusion, I am talking about this ANWR, not this one.


Monday, March 14, 2005

Is she IN . . or out . . .

In a recent Interview with the Washington Times editorial board, Condoleza Rice stated:
Rice, who took office Jan. 26 after four years as President Bush's national security adviser, said that she "can't imagine" running to succeed her boss and that she is "not trying to be elected." But she said she knows people are talking about the possibility and she did not rule it out when pressed repeatedly.
So she all but said no, but refused to rule it out specifically.
Asked whether she would "do a Sherman," or give an unconditional denial, Rice replied, "Oh, that's not fair."
So while the pundits were probably scrambling to decipher the Rice code in an attempt to figure out what she really meant, the Sunday morning talking heads thought they would just ask her point blank:
She closed the door in appearances on Sunday talk shows, telling NBC's "Meet the Press," "I will not run for president of the United States."

"I won't run," she told ABC's "This Week." "I won't. How's that? Is that categorical enough?"
So Jeb Bush has denied he'll run, and Rice has now taken her name off the board. Who's next in the "I don't want the job" brigade. Funny how usually everyone is maneuvering for position at this point in the presidential Race, but the GOP front runners are treating it like a hot potato. It just seems like a bit out of character for these power hungry individuals.


Sunday, March 13, 2005

Delayed reaction

On Tuesday, I posted about this article from the Minnesota Daily on the attempt to delay the drinking age by 8 hours.

It wasn't until Saturday that the STRIB found it newsworthy and felt it was such late breaking news that they put it on the front page, above the fold.

The blogosphere had already moved along to other things. I just found it interesting.


Friday, March 11, 2005

Show me the money

There are 691 Billionaires in the world. The top 10:

(in billions)
46.5 Bill Gates, US (Microsoft)
44.0 Warren Buffet, US (Investor)
25.0 Lakshim Mittal, India (Indian Steel)
23.8 Carlos Slim Helu, Mexico (Telcom magnate)
23.7 Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, Saudi Arabia
23.0 Ingvar Kamprad, Sweden (Ikea)
21.0 Paul Allen, US (Microsoft)
18.5 Karl Albrecht, Germany (Supermarket)
18.4 Lawrence Ellison, US (Oracle)
18.3 S. Robson Walton, US (Wal*Mart)

Incidentally, spots 11-13 are all Waltons, including the richest women title being shared by Alice and Helen Walton with 18 Billions a piece. The Walton;s combined wealth is estimated at 90 Billion.

This includes:
. . 131 new billionaires coming from 27 countries, the United States claims 69 new faces. New York State has the highest number of resident billionaires with 34, while Moscow and San Francisco tie for second, each with 20.
amongst the 691:
According to the issue, due for release on Friday, Stewart has a net worth of $1 billion, thanks mostly to the value of stock in her company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Research) which more than doubled while she was in jail.
Other notables:
talkshow host Oprah Winfrey ($1.3 billion), real estate guru Donald Trump ($2.6 billion), casino mogul Stephen Wynn ($2.1 billion) and Dietrich Mateschitz, boss of energy drink Red Bull ($2 billion).
and finally, among the locals:

203. Richard Schulze, 64, $2.9 billion, Best Buy
272. Carl Pohlad, 89, $2.3 billion, banking
355. Glen Taylor, 63, $1.9 billion, printing
437. James Cargill, 80, $1.5 billion, inheritance
488. Barbara Carlson Gage, 63, and family, $1.4 billion, inheritance
488. Marilyn Carlson Nelson, 66, and family, $1.4 billion, inheritance
548. Stanley S. Hubbard, 71, $1.2 billion, broadcasting

The combined wealth of these 691 people equals 2.2 trillions dollars.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Rather roasted

It sounds like the Dan Rather roast went off without a hitch, last night. I have read a few briefs on the event. But it appears that Nick Coleman had a 'plant' sent to infiltrate the Right Wing masses and he gave his report on the show this Morning.

Listening to his version was reminiscent of my excursion into the bowels of the local Right Wing blogosphere, when I attended a debate party at the Hilton last October.

Several of the observations made regarded the price of the drinks (which didn't stop me last October), the poor quality of the food (come on, you're doing a Hotel buffet) and the reaction (or total lack thereof) during Rather's final broadcast.

Apparently, and to no surprise, no one was really paying any attention to Rather during his broadcast. But he did state how the crowd did perk up during a segment where Richard Nixon was on the screen. This at least told me that they were listening. But when the 'Fallen Heroes' segment came on, which is a daily tribute to a fallen soldier and a little background about who they were and how they died, there was minimal, if any, acknowledgment from this pro war, support our troops audience. Now this was just one persons impression of what the reaction was, but I would think that this particular audience would have at least been able to put aside their differences and respect this segment in a positive way, not brush it off while give Nixon more respectful treatment.

I wasn't there, and maybe I should consider the source (the partisan tilt), but I would think there would have been some sort of recognition. I don't know, maybe I expect more from those who claim to 'support the troops', but that's just me!


'Mickey' Update

Day five of deliberations begin later this morning. Up until yesterday, activities were uneventful. But yesterday, the jury asked for a readback of testimony relates to Blakes return to Vitello's to retrieve his personal handgun.
The jury has just requested a readback of Steve Restivo's testimony. Restivo is a co-owner of Vitello's, the restaurant where Blake and Bakley dined the night of the shooting. Restivo is also an actor who, incidentally, played "Count Vitello" in "The Princess Diaries."
The readback began after lunch, and later in the day, Lisa (The Jury Room blogger) had this to say
3:49 p.m.

I submit to you an unscientific experiment being conducted outside the courthouse. But first, a little background: Earlier, the jury heard a readback of testimony from a couple enjoying an after dinner cigarette around the time Blake says he ran back to retrieve his gun. The couple claimed not to have seen Blake return to Vitello's to retrieve his forgotten revolver in the two to three minutes they said they spent having their "lovely" smoke. Now, back to the experiment. Two Winston Light 80s ? the short ones, not the long 100s ? are lit. One, the control, is left to burn in a slight wind. The other, is consumed by a heavy smoker. The unsmoked cigarette burned for 10 minutes. The heavy smoker finished his in six. For Blake, an opportunity left unexploited.
Who knows what is going on in the mind of the jury, but I have a feeling we'll have a verdict before the weekend.

I'm still leaning acquittal, which is the kiss of death to any defendant when I say that.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Bye Dan

Rather leaves the desk tonight. The Right will rejoice and ceremoniously place Rather's head on their mantle next to their other claims of victory. Unfortunately, Dan isn't going anywhere, he'll continue to report, and will still be a key member of the 60 minutes team.

An article in the STRIB today talks about the influence of blogs, and how they have evolved over this past election cycle. The next step:
Radio host Hugh Hewitt recently announced on that he had reserved the Web address "" and proposed that bloggers from across the country agree to jointly post "a daily digest of commentary on the lapses in objectivity and the flights of lefty fancy that the paper daily indulges."

Star Tribune Editor Anders Gyllenhaal said it was clear from Hewitt's posting that he doesn't read the paper, but he said the editors welcome constructive criticism. "If someone can find a new way of enlightening readers, then my attitude is: the more the merrier," Gyllenhaal said.
and from the neighbor down the street
Mitch Berg, a Twin Cities-based blogger ( said the local allies of Hewitt, known as the Northern Alliance, have decided that there is already so much Star Tribune criticism being posted by local bloggers -- notably on -- that "there's no need to start a formal site to do this."
I wonder why he didn't mention the Fiskwa?

Read the whole article. It is interesting to see their take, and for us Bloggers and blog reader to witness who they are two steps to the side, and several steps behind, in understanding what impact we truly can have.

Oh, and hit this poll, so they know we are out here!


PS: As long as I am pushing Polls, be sure to drop by Fraters and vote in their tongue and cheek look at who should be the next President of the University of Colorado. Go here, and look for the poll in a yellow box on the right. Click on King Banaian, the much deserving Economist at my alma mater SCSU. We don't want him to get beat by Hewitt, do we?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Rotenberg running . . . for now

From the Minnesota Daily (via MDE)
University General Counsel Mark Rotenberg announced Monday that he is forming a Senate exploratory committee to further investigate the vacant seat in the 2006 U.S. Senate.

“Right now, I’m just exploring the race, and I have not made a final decision yet about being a candidate,” Rotenberg said.
This will be a short lived candidacy. The Bench has been updated.


Raising the drinking age proposed.

Mitch touched on this article the other day challenging the implied consent provision of the current DUI law. It's total disrespect for due process has always been a concern of mine. I thought 'What more could they possible come up with', and then I found this:
The traditional power hour most new 21-year-olds celebrate could soon come to an end.

A new bill (HF 1226) introduced in the Minnesota House last week would prohibit 21-year-olds from drinking at midnight on their birthdays. Individuals would have to wait until 8 a.m. instead.

The chief author of the bill, Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, said the purpose is to prevent deaths because of excessive drinking of alcohol by young adults.
I've always shook my head at the arbitrary nature society chooses to place chronology on certain events. At 18 society can hold you accountable to defend the country, observe laws, both civil and criminal, enter into contracts, and vote. But you have to wait till 21 to drink, and under this legislation, you'll have to wait another 8 hours more.



My Turn!

Today's Minnesota Blog of the Day at the City Pages' Babelogue is . . . yours truly.

Welcome new readers. Enjoy your visit.


Betty's Out!

While Patrick over at MNGOP Watch is handling the cannibalism on the Right, there were a couple announcements that slid under the radar. Mainly because they weren't all that surprising.

From the STRIB:
Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., said Monday that she will not run for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat in 2006 but that she will seek a fourth term to the U.S. House.

McCollum, who represents Minnesota's Fourth District, had been considering a Senate bid after Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton announced last month that he would not run for a second term next year.

"After much personal reflection I have decided to continue serving my Fourth District constituents and fighting for Minnesota families in Congress," she said in a statement.
and further into the article:
DFL Chair Mike Erlandson, who had been considering a candidacy, said Monday that he would not run. He said that with two young children and his duties as party chair through the end of his term in May, this was not the year to run.
While the GOP has crowned their candidate, with internal skirmishes getting as many headlines as their crowned king, the DFL is maneuvering slowly and respectfully, allowing the nomination process to do it's job. You don't hear Hatch, or Erlandson, Mondale's, or Humphrey's interfering in the process. There is a level of respect towards the electorate that the Left has, and the Right is sorely lacking.


Monday, March 07, 2005

Verdict Watch

The jury is deliberating the fate of "Mickey". CourtTV actually has a blog called 'The Jury Room' which is being updated periodically with the latest news. The most recent Post:
DAY TWO: March 7, 2005
2:26 p.m. PT

With a little investigative work, I find out the panel has selected Juror No. 5 as the foreperson. You heard it here first, folks. Juror No. 5 is a 66-year-old retired machinist, married with three children in their 30s. On his jury questionnaire, he said being "open-minded and attentive" was the most important attribute necessary for a juror serving in a criminal case.—Lisa Sweetingham
The 'Robert Blake Verdict Watch' link on my sidebar will take you to the blog as well. But I don't see this post getting pushed down too far before we have a decision.


Is it Spending or Funding

The ole Right Wing adage is, we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. The Governor continues to look for more creative financing mechanisms to fund his budget while attempting to remain inside the fine line of his No New Tax pledge. His latest gimmick is getting into the casino business:
"You could call it courageous, or you could call it reckless," said Sen. Sandy Pappas, the St. Paul DFLer who originally proposed the state-tribal casino partnership three years ago and will carry the legislation in the Senate. Under his plan, the state would get a $200 million upfront licensing fee from the tribes and an estimated $143 million a year in casino revenue after that.

"Pawlenty is taking a risk with his base in the hope of creating a major policy accomplishment for his governorship," said Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier. "I think that's a pretty savvy political calculation.

"Who's going to challenge him for the nomination? Is his base going to bolt? Where the heck would they go?"
I've always liked the idea of a Casino in the Metro. The Milwaukee Road (mini-update: I should have used this link for the Depot) proposal was a great idea, until it got lost in the Legislative shuffle and has now become an ice rink.

So, much to the chagrin of my Left leaning counterparts, I am fine with a casino, and sharing in the funds which leave the city everyday to surrounding venues. But I am concerned with the implication the Right is showing, that we indeed have a revenue problem, and if that is the case, ALL options should be on the table and not just pet projects that will allow someone to keep their faux pledge intact.


Friday, March 04, 2005

Spring has Sprung

"16 of Icehouse for Kurt" will be the magical phrase that will be the first step in dodging the Winter bullet and begin Spring in the Midway of St. Paul. I put in my order yesterday at my favorite bottle shop, Midway Liquor. I had patronized Big Top Liquor for many years, but I have found a home at the small, family run, quaint and personable shop on University Ave near Prior.

I pulled out my records to see how this year fits into the trends of the past, so here are the tapping dates since 2000.

2/25/2000, 3/22/2001, 2/14/2002, 3/14/2003, 2/28/2004, and

TODAY 3/04/2005

So if you think you may be in the Midway area this later afternoon or early evening, shoot me an E-Mail, and I'll give you directions.

I am feeling parched already!

Have a GREAT weekend! I know I will.


PS: I don't generally post on the weekend, but I do surf and read a lot. Feel free to use my Friday posts as sort of an open thread if something catches your eye out in the blogosphere.

What is the 'MOB'

The Minnesota Organization of Bloggers was born through the Northern Alliance, I'll give them that. But it has always been promoted this way:
I stress this; there is no political focus (or, if the July party is any indication, content of any sort) involved; this is completely ecumenical. There is no agenda, there will be no speeches (unless Elder starts mixing whiskey and beer again), no name tags, no BS of any sort. Just bloggers, and blog fans, united by the things that draw all people together: great company, a warm place on a chilly night, and lip-smacking good drinkin'.
There have been a few insertions of the MOB name in political posts, that one may question the true intent of the members. And then today I read this portion of Mitch's latest Nick bashing:
A show whose audience is probably mostly MOB members looking for stuff to fisk (and who will never give a nickel to any of his advertisers, to the extent that he has any).
I do not listen to Nick for stuff to fisk, and I will gladly seek out their sponsors to patronize. There is a clear implication here that the MOB may not be as ecumenical as portrayed. I am in an uncomfortable position here, as one of, if not the only left leaner in the Organization.

I hope MOB members refrain from presuming the behavior of others on the blogroll, or if that is too tough, then at least change the name to Minnesota Organization of Right Wing Bloggers and let current members re-evaluate their memberships. I am hoping the MOB will truly grow into an organization of all colors, Blue, Red and Purple. But if that is not the goal of the founders, then at least be honest with those of us who don't share in your political ideology.


UPDATE: Why blogs are better!! Mitch acknowledges my concern and has updated his post
Flash makes half a good point. In the original posting, I said Coleman's audience was "MOB members". I meant conservative MOB members, of course - the MOB is, in fact, ecumenical. I've changed the post accordingly
THAT is why blogs are better!! Everything happens in moments not days, and it isn't buried inside somewhere. Thanks Mitch!

On a side note, It is feeling like Spring time in the Midway. Look for an exciting announcement later this afternoon . . . .

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Closing Arguments

Closing arguments should conclude today in the Robert 'Mickey' Blake trial.

From Our Gang/Little Rascals star, to murdering quasi juvenile in Capote's 'In Cold Blood' to Police Detective Baretta, Blake has led a roller coaster life with ironic roles throughout.

Physical evidence is light, or even non existence. Circumstantial evidence is strong, but not compelling. When you consider the 'beyond a reasonable doubt' standard, I find it difficult to comprehend they can get a conviction in this case. But that is what I said about the Peterson trial.

Either way I suspect the verdict to be quickly delivered, and by the end of the weekend, we will have our answer.


Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Freaky Wednesday

I was somewhat caught off guard by the treatment of the latest state job reports by the two local rags. Seemed like the partisan tilt was on each other's foot.

The STRIB proudly proclaims a positive view and displays the story on their front page:
Job gain in 2004 surprise for state
But a January loss gives pause to those who worry that the economy still has far to go
Whilst the PiPress goes doom and gloom and buries it at the bottom of the front page of the Business section (PDF):
Minnesota lost 5,600 jobs in January, agency says
But revised figures for 2004 show stronger employment growth than first reported
I just found it amusing that the printed pages of the StarTribune, the scorn of the Right, takes the glass is half full approach to a very sensitive issue in our economy, while the pages they trumpet as their paper of choice forgets about any silver lining and hides the story in a Page C below the fold afterthought.

For those interested in which area of the job market is being effected:
The largest job losses were in professional and business services, down 3,900 jobs. Workers in these areas provide services to other businesses, such as computer professionals, architects, lawyers and engineers. Other workers in this group provide administrative support such as payroll services, temporary help and building maintenance services.

Private education and health services were down 3,300 jobs, driven by social assistance job losses. Manufacturing was down 1,700 jobs, as was construction.

Among the gainers: finance activities, up 2,300, and government, up 2,900 jobs. Despite the drop in jobs, the state's unemployment rate actually declined to 4.4 percent in January, compared with a revised 4.6 percent in December.
I am sure the Right will trumpet an improvement through their pro growth policies, until they realize the growth is in Government. How ironic.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hide and Go Seek

I opted not to post on the Cybersquatting discovered by one of my readers late last week. I didn't want to give any undue publicity to the tactic. However, since the Strib has now reported on it, it looks like the domain owner has got their wish, free publicity. (New Patriot has also posted on the subject)

In their post "My Exercise of Free Speech" the writer defends their right to anonymous free speech.
On a final note, the media is likely to criticize my blog for being published anonymously. I expect my fellow bloggers across the political spectrum will share my defense of our right to post "free speech" with as much or as little personal publicity as we choose.
I post under a handle, but it doesn't take much effort at all to find out who I really am.

So I will share in their defense of anonymous free speech. But I will also use my right of free speech as well. I find it cowardly to hide behind an anonymous nom de plume when you are attempting to thrust yourself into the political spotlight. I believe it effects your credibility. It should also make one leary that if you can't even be honest about who you are, how can you trust the information that is being disseminated. But that's just me!

Kurt (Flash) Schiebel