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!