Monday, December 31, 2007

The Law According to BushCo

Slate lists some Legal Fictions. It must have been a struggle to parse them to only 10 *laughing*. Some of my favorites:
10. The NSA's eavesdropping was limited in scope.

Not at all. Recent revelations suggest the program was launched earlier than we'd been led to believe, scooped up more information than we were led to believe, and was not at all narrowly tailored, as we'd been led to believe. Surprised? Me neither.


8. The vice president's office is not a part of the executive branch.


4. Nine U.S. attorneys were fired by nobody, but for good reason.

Of course, the great legal story of 2007 was the unprecedented firing of nine U.S. attorneys who either declined to prosecute Democrats or were too successful in prosecuting Republicans.


1. The United States does not torture.
I wonder which ones made the cutting room floor. It had to be one of their toughest edits ever.


H/T Zeitlin. And GiGi, check out his Juno review.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Its about the Commas-2nd Amendment

Interesting grammatical dissection of the 2nd Amendment in a Freedman NYT OpEd:
This will be the first time in nearly 70 years that the court has considered the Second Amendment. The outcome of the case is difficult to handicap, mainly because so little is known about the justices’ views on the lethal device at the center of the controversy: the comma. That’s right, the “small crooked point,” as Richard Mulcaster described this punctuation upstart in 1582. The official version of the Second Amendment has three of the little blighters:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
The decision uses the 2nd comma to plead its case:
he second comma (the one after “state”) as proof that the Second Amendment does not merely protect the “collective” right of states to maintain their militias, but endows each citizen with an “individual” right to carry a gun, regardless of membership in the local militia.
Interesting read.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Morning

The boys are still sleeping. As teenagers, no big Christmas Morning anticipation anymore.

Yeah, I miss the excitement that little kids bring to a day like today, but certainly not enough to relive the time that is in between those moments *laughing*

There is a few things under the tree for us to open this morning, and a wad of cash for them to spend later. The rest of the day will be spent relaxing and grazing.

After breakfast, the pasture will be spread out over the dining room table and everyone is on their own. No cooking for me, today. There is enough food in the house right now to survive a blizzard

Wishing you and yours the very best this Holiday season.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Lights Please . . .

From 'A Charlie Brown Christmas':
"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 tidings of great joy, which shall be to all my 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, and good will toward men."

"That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

- Linus Van Pelt
Enjoy the spirit of the Holidays! Things are different with a house full of teenagers, but they have been doing a pretty good job of occupying themselves as the city slowly shuts down.

Be safe in the New Year, there is much work to be done!


The above photo is of the "Grotto of the Nativity in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem — where it is believed Jesus was born." obtained via the Wiki

Friday, December 21, 2007

Now There is Only Two

In a Veterans Day thread at Shot in the Dark, frequent Commenter AngryClown stated:
Armistice Day. Hug a WWI vet.

Very, very gently.
Word comes out of Ohio today that one of the last remaining WW I vets has passed:
J. Russell Coffey died yesterday at the age of 109. He had been living in a nursing home. There's no word on the cause of death.

The Veterans Affairs Department says Coffey was the last World War I vet in Ohio. Coffey enlisted in the Army in October 1918 while a student at Ohio State University.

It was a month before the Allied powers and Germany signed a cease-fire agreement and Coffey did not see action overseas. He did play semipro baseball and earned a doctorate in education from New York University.
According to the article, that leaves only two known WW I veterans left.


Holidays Fast Approaching

The rant will have to wait. Even after getting up at 5 bells I still wasn't able to catch up on those things that need to be done. Work is bonkers as we begin to secure things for the Holiday Break. Remember, only half of this break is paid, the other half is forced unpaid time off. So don't think us educators have it all that easy.

We are actually having a slightly shorter break this year, coming back on the Wednesday after the New Year begins. That means we won't be going to school till mid June, ending the year on June 5 instead. I'll gladly trade a few days in the middle of Winter and have them back in the Summer.

Maybe more at Lunch time.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

They've been Working on the Railroad Treptow

Last week, in Treptow -v- Beard, I mentioned the impending indictments in the June 2007 road rage case:
But for now, we'll have to wait and see why both men will be going before a judge next week. One can only suspect they will be answering charges, and what those charges are, will be sealed until then.
Treptow went first, yesterday, and is facing three felony counts:
1. Drive by shooting. MS 609.66 subd 1e(b) -- felony, up to ten years.

2. Reckless discharge in municipality sub 1a(3) -- ditto, up to two years.

3. Terrorist threats. 609.713 sub (1) -- ditto.
I am ready for a rant, but will hold off until Beard faces the music today. Until then, you will find excellent interpretations from Mitch, Joel, and NorthernMuckraker

What can you do until then, all three point it out, but I'll share Mitch's plea:
Martin Treptow isn’t loaded - not even close. And this case could embarrass the hell out of the Robbinsdale PD and, given its behavior for the past six months, Anoka as well. My two cents: Anoka County is throwing the book at Treptow, dredging up the worst possible assortment of felonies (and absurd ones, at that), to try to induce him to take a plea bargain rather than spend his family’s entire future defending himself against the combined weight of every law enforcement agency in the Metro.
A defense fund has been set up. It would make a nice Holiday gesture:

Martin and Rebecca Treptow
Anoka Hennepin Credit Union,
3505 Northdale Blvd. N.W.
Coon Rapids, MN 55448


A Touch of Class: Part Deaux

Another honor for Taylor, the other day:
it was agreed they should pick Washington's Sean Taylor posthumously as the NFC's starting free safety. The Vikings weren't the only ones thinking that way since Taylor, who died a day after being shot in his home in Miami on Nov. 26, was named the starter on Tuesday.

"It was the right thing to do, and not only because of the tragedy," Vikings backup quarterback Kelly Holcomb said. "The guy was a good football player who was leading the league in interceptions [five] before he passed away. This is just one more chance to honor his memory."

Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said, "It meant a lot to everybody around here" that so many opposing coaches and players helped Taylor earn his second Pro Bowl selection. Players and coaches can't vote for members of their own team.
I hear the Redskins already have a play the NFC All Pro's could use their first time on Defense. I think it is a no brainer that they run it run more time. We'll find out in February.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hillary's Problem

Cillizza of WaPo's The Fix points out something that we all need to recognize:
Asked to say whatever first came to mind when Clinton's name was mentioned, the group offered a fascinating panoply of descriptions. "Can't be trusted," said one. "I just got a glimpse that she's got an evil side to her," said another. A third offered a backhanded compliment of sorts: "Very good at saying what she thinks we want to hear."

Others were more positive in their remarks -- if not effusive. "Work ethic," said one; "I think she's really focused," said another.

The comments signal a larger theme when it comes to voters' views in Iowa and nationally about Clinton. She is widely respected but not widely liked. Time and again in last week's focus group, the voters said they had few doubts about Clinton's ability to do the job of president; they also expressed a frustration with the essential unknowability of Clinton as a person.
Did you catch that, "Can't be trusted", "she's got an evil side to her". And who was saying this:
As always when a group of Democrats are gathered, the conversation was dominated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and revealed the problems and potential Clinton has in Iowa and beyond.
Yeap, those were Iowa Democrats talking. Now, can you imagine what the Republicans will do to her!

There's more over there so read the whole thing!


Monday, December 17, 2007

Iowa Prognositcation

The games begin in about two weeks, and everything happens very quick after that. I don't know if people really realize how quickly this first phase is going to be over. I am convinced this won't be healthy for either party. Whomever is peaking will have the edge, and that won't necessarily mean the best candidate for the general.

As mentioned below in the comments, here is my take on what I believe to be the most likely scenario.

Edwards must win Iowa to survive, and I just don't see it.

Obama has made significant gains with Hillary a close second. Edwards a distant third and Gov Bill hovering around double digits for some time. Once Edwards recognizes his time has come and gone, his supporters will have to decide a new direction. I am not sure where they will go, but I suspect that there is NOT many Edwards supporters that have Hillary as their #2.

This race will start getting more interesting once Edwards sucks it up and takes a bow then we will start seeing how much truth there is to the anti Hillary surge. I know in Iowa she isn't in many peoples #2 slot.

Before Super Duper Tuesday in February, Edwards will be gone, along with probably Biden and/or Dodd. Obama and Clinton will battle it out for the top spot while Richardson quietly gains the support of the underlings. There is a reason those folks weren't supporting Obama or Clinton to begin with. We'll know on Feb 6th who the nominee is, and the GOP will be gunning from them all the way through the general.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Bulking Up

The report's out, and it seems many are talking about it:
Now, Roger Clemens joins Barry Bonds in baseball's version of hell. It's a slow burn that lasts a lifetime, then, after death, lingers as long as the game is played and tongues can wag. In baseball, a man's triumphs and his sins are immortal. The pursuit of one often leads to the other. And those misdeeds are seldom as dark as their endless punishment.

Shoeless Joe Jackson, an illiterate outfielder who hit like a demon in the 1919 World Series, but neglected to blow the whistle on his crooked teammates, died with his good name as black as their Sox. Pete Rose, who bet on his team, but never against it, finally confessed. It could be good for his soul, and buys him dinner at my house any night, but may never get him into Cooperstown. Now, they have company: two giants of our time, just as humbled, though no less tarnished.
Yesterday's finger pointing actually frustrated me. Don't get me wrong, these individuals cheated. They participated in an environment that coerced others to make poor decisions to remain competitive. I will not condone their actions, but where is MLB's and the Players' Association's consequences? How long have they turned their head to look the other way, knowing some of this was going on.

Boswell continues:
Mitchell's opus was intended as many things. It was, of course, a severe front-to-back slam at the union for its 20 years of intransigence on drug testing. The charge is absolutely correct. Still, how self-serving can Commissioner Bud Selig be? He appoints Mitchell, closely affiliated with management in general and specifically with the Red Sox, to spend 21 months finding out who's guilty when he already knows that Don Fehr will get handcuffed in the last chapter.

And, of course, owners, mid-level baseball employees and even Selig get taken to ritual task. Oh, everybody should have acted faster, been smarter, seen the signs. But, gosh, how were we to know? Just because our players showed up for spring training like they'd spent the winter inhaling helium. Just because scouts in their reports and general managers discussing trades evaluated how much weight to give the "juice" factor.

Finally, naturally, because Congress knows a vote-grabber in an election year, the report serves as baseball's proactive shield against further embarrassing visits to Capitol Hill. I'm shocked, shocked, to discover that both Mitchell and Selig -- who, just two hours later, endorsed every recommendation in the report -- are passionately in favor of tougher "best-practices" drug testing. What a stunner. Why, right off the bat, Bud said there would be no more 24-hour warnings to clubs that a random drug test would be held the next day. You mean there were warnings for "random" tests? And MLB could have changed it unilaterally, but it took the Mitchell report before they did it? What impressive self-motivation.
And what happens:
a punch in the nose to the union, a slap in the face to MLB, a predictable recitation of the usual (already revealed) steroid suspects and a T-bone steak to placate congressional watchdogs
The commentary focuses on "The Rocket's" decent, but I am more concerned about the bigger picture, and the culpability of the Players group and MLB itself. Seems like they are getting a free pass, while everyone else becomes obsessed with our "heroes" of the diamond. This entire event wouldn't have happened without a catalyst, and I point to the Player's Union and MLB for being the oxygen that kept this fire going for far too long.

But that's just me!


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Welcome to Our World, Violet Jane

8.6 lbs. and 21.3 inches

Congratulations to the new parents! Let the roller coaster ride begin!


Deja Two, Bush Bonks SCHIP

The President shows his true colors once again by turning his back on children:
For the second time in three months, President Bush yesterday vetoed legislation that would have expanded the State Children's Health Insurance program by $35 billion over five years and would have boosted its enrollment to about 10 million children.
This is after Bush's major issue was negotiated:
Democrats and some Republicans had argued that the second version addressed Bush's major concern by capping eligibility at 300 percent of the federal poverty line -- slightly more than $60,000 for a family of four.
And even more concessions:
tightening restrictions on illegal immigrants receiving SCHIP benefits . . . and preventing adults from receiving benefits.
But the Presidents wants more, and he is not letting the needs of the children take precedent over his greed.

The irony, of course, is the five year 35 billion dollars is only half of what the President is begging for to extend his war in Iraq. Come to think of it, it is December, and the President told us he would have Iraqi security turned over to the Iraqis by now, following the success of the Surge. How is that working out for ya?

This is becoming 'their' war, not our war and the children in America are starting to suffer because of it. When is the President going to honor his commitment he made to us?


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Treptow -v- Beard

I spoke briefly about the Coon Rapids road rage shooting last Summer. In what can be described most accurately as slow motion justice, a Grand Jury was finally convened and handed out probable indictments to both individuals, yesterday:
The results of the two-day grand jury proceedings will remain sealed until each man appears in court next week, Anoka County prosecutor Paul Young said. That both the officer and the civilian have been summoned suggests the grand jury found evidence supporting charges against each, the attorney for the civilian said.
The short version of the case:
The investigation stems from a June 7 rolling dispute on a Coon Rapids side street. In one vehicle was Landen Beard, an undercover Robbinsdale police officer; in the other were Martin and Rebecca Treptow and their two children.

Martin Treptow, a former security guard who is licensed to carry a handgun, shot Beard in the leg. Both he and his wife have said Beard never identified himself as a law enforcement officer and that he pulled a handgun first and pointed it at Rebecca Treptow's face.

Beard, who has never spoken publicly about the incident, was interviewed by investigators and released the same day.

Treptow was arrested and booked but released the next day without being charged.
Both Mitch and Joel have been all over this case. What the articles fails to mention, is what happened following Treptow's release:
As a variety of Second Amendment bloggers reported last summer, Treptow was released from jail almost immediately (by the standards of these cases), and not charged with anything; the Anoka County Sheriff didn’t even bother to revoke Treptow’s carry permit, which is normally pro forma in these sorts of incidents.
What I have found, is that decisions and statements made closest to the incident tend to be the most accurate and pure. A lot of spinning is going on to try to protect a defend Beard. There is, in fact, some unsubstantiated speculation out there, that if it becomes public, could change this case significantly.

On the surface it seems that Treptow did everything correct, while responding to a road raging Beard. I wonder where this case would be if Beard hadn't turned out to be a cop. It also seems like law enforcement, and the media are reluctant to recognize that the MPPA works. I don't think I'll ever 'carry' but the bad guys don't know that and will have to think twice before they engage people in public, or at least in public places that aren't 'Gun Free Zones'*

But for now, we'll have to wait and see why both men will be going before a judge next week. One can only suspect they will be answering charges, and what those charges are, will be sealed until then.


*There is a cartoon posted at the link above, the text reads;

Why do mass shootings happen in "Gun Free Zones"?

Same reason they DON'T happen at firing ranges.

Some common sense to go with your morning cup of coffee.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

One Miiiiiiiillion Cases!

Ollie brings us the milestone via the New Ulm Journal:
Schmaltz’s Alt, which is named after Ted Marti’s father, Warren “Schmaltz” Marti, is the Schell’s craft brew that will have the honor of being in the Millionth Case. It is the only beer Schell’s makes that is named after one of its former presidents.

Ted Marti said “Schmaltz” led the company though some of its toughest times in the late 1960s, when many family-owned breweries were going out of business and facing competition from ‘the big guys.’
/Homer voice/ Mmmmmmmm Beeeeeeer /Homer voice/


Power Baby Cometh?

At 41 weeks and 2 days our good friend REW at Power Liberal will be spending most of the day in Labor and Delivery. I wish her and father to be, SMartie, all the best as they enter parenthood.

My only advice is to remember one thing. No matter how cute and adorable the young Buddha is, they still turn into teenagers *laughing*


Monday, December 10, 2007

Viking's Don't Suck

Excerpt from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback:
i. Adrian Peterson rushed 14 times for three yards at San Francisco, and the Vikes won by 20 points. Yes, the tide is turning for the Vikes all right.

j. I'm no ratings maven, but I'll bet a dime that a Dallas-New England or Green Bay-New England Super Bowl would draw the biggest audience in American television history.

k. Why do I think the Vikings might have something to say about that?
I've been burned too many times and far too often. I'll take these one week at a time and enjoy the moment for what it is.

Next week, Monday Night Football against the Bears

Friday, December 07, 2007

Day of Infamy

Flags will be flying at half staff throughout the nation in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. Take a moment to recognize the valor of our brave fighting soldiers on that monumental day, along with those that continue today defending our freedoms from the evil amongst us.

Although their numbers are dwindling, the survivors of the attack continue to speak out:
Civilian survivors who recall the attack include Hawaii's two U.S. senators, who were 17 at the time.

Sen. Daniel Inouye, now 83, said he served as a first aid volunteer, helping treat civilians who were wounded in his Honolulu neighborhood. In 1943, he joined a celebrated Japanese American unit and was highly decorated for combat valor.

Japanese planes did not bomb residential neighborhoods, but misfired U.S. antiaircraft shells fell on homes and businesses.

"One shell fell into the dining room and this old Japanese lady was having her breakfast. When I got there, she was slumped over in her food," Inouye said in an interview. "Shrapnel went through her head and killed her. She didn't know what hit her."

Inouye said about half a dozen shopkeepers were killed when their stores were hit.
So let's be sure to acknowledge the innocent loss of life, while we realize how the American spirit drove civilians to step up during this time of tragedy.


Where's my Reward!

The GOP is notorious for enforcing personal responsibility. They believe welfare is a lifestyle choice, and children without health insurance is a consequence they brought on themselves. Sad, really, when you think about it. I've ridden the roller coaster of life. I found myself with a young family and struggling to make ends meet. Thankfully there were programs to prevent me from falling down to the bottom. Our kids never knew the situation. They always had a roof, and food, and fun. That is what was important. Now I am relatively successful, and don't need 'assistance'. But as an inner city middle school educator, I see many children, and families, who still do. Sure there are a few, oh so few, that try to game the system, but for the most part, these folks want nothing more than to be on their own, and not rely on others for help. I get it cause I've been there before, and I see it now.

When the President vetoed the latest SCHIP proposal I was just confused. Kids don't choose their lifestyle anymore than they chose their parents. But the President sought to punish them anyway, for fear a few families who may not really need the assistance might slip through the cracks. Shame on them, so shame on everyone else. It made me wonder where the President's priorities really are. Yesterday we found out.

I'm in a great place in my life, and a few years ago I took advantage of the refi bubble like many people did. But I was not foolish enough to give up that which I worked so hard to attain. I went into the refi with specific goals; lower my rate, take out a few extra bucks to consolidate some lingering old debt, retain at least 50% equity in my home. I succeeded with a 4 3/8 15 year fixed. The lingering debt is gone and right now I have over 60% equity in my home. I did it right. I didn't max out my equity for some fun money, or to live beyond my means. I also knew that the appreciation bubble would burst pretty soon as well, so any appraisal would be a peak, not a valley, during this time. Fortunately, my neighborhood is one of the few still holding their own pretty well.

So while kids go without health insurance, bridges falling down, and programs that help folks get back on their feet are being targeted for cuts, what does this President do? He proposes a bail out to those who should have known better. I am not alone in my frustration:
The agreement has sparked bitterness and anger among those who either sat out the housing boom or endured friends' snickers when they stuck with a traditional mortgage and a smaller house. To some who watched prices rise out of their reach or who moved to cheaper cities, the agreement looks like a penalty for those who didn't gamble.

"What about those of us who played by the rules? Can we get six months of free gasoline? Isn't there something for the rest of us?" asked Tim MacKinnon. After watching a friend use his home as an "ATM" for years, MacKinnon left Washington for New Jersey, where the $25,000 he had socked away went further.
I don't have a problem helping out those who find themselves in dire straight due to a boom followed by a bust. Our economy would be very vulnerable if we didn't have some level of security built in. My issue is with the priorities of this administration, and their inability to recognize who actually needs help first, and refusing to spend the time and effort in those areas.

But thats just me!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

December DL at Groveland Tap Tonight

Drinking Liberally returns to Groveland Tap this evening.

Domestic schedule permitting, I plan on making an appearance, you should too!


Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Taking Orders

via Cagle:
Interesting how the Bush taking orders from Cheney slide is conspicuously missing.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Its All About Me

Local heady legal rag, The St. Paul Legal Ledger, has been bopping around the blogosphere doing candid bios. This week was my turn. The website is subscription only, but GreenTeaMN was able to get a hold of the copy:
The St. Paul blogger known as Flash who writes the Centrisity blog is admittedly left of the political center.

He identifies himself as a Democrat; he's supporting New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. And Schiebel's liberal stance runs in the family: his mother, Jean, served as one of 10 U.S. Electoral College "electors" in Minnesota for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for the 2004 election.

But Schiebel, 47, often takes heat from fellow liberals in the blogosphere on a host of issues ranging from Minnesota's smoking ban to welfare policy to the war in Iraq.
After discussing my break with the liberal wing of the DFL on the War on terror, they sneak in a comment Charley made regarding the level of civility here at Centrisity:
"I celebrate that our disagreement has been polite and respectful, with none of the name-calling and dismissiveness that has often been typical of these discussions,"
Even a hat tip from Mitch:
"He gets flak from both sides. I think he might be one of the last of the Kennedy Democrats out there," Berg says, referring to the foreign policy of former President John F. Kennedy.
I might have changed a few things, but over all the article was done well and gives you a pretty good picture of who I am and why I keep poking my head out there in the new media.

Bop on over to Green Tea and read the whole thing.


Monday, December 03, 2007

A Touch of Class . . .

. . . to a fallen teammate:
the Washington Redskins' defensive players held close a secret unknown to even Coach Joe Gibbs. It was a formation, devised the day before by Gregg Williams, the team's assistant head coach-defense. Its title a jumble of code save for the one word Williams placed in the middle: "Taylor." They would use it the first time they were on the field.

Drawn on paper, the play called for 10 living Redskins to fill their normal spots, with their dead teammate's name and his No. 21 marked in the 11th. As Williams handed it out Saturday night, he said that even though just 10 players would be on the field, the one missing would still be by their side.

"He was going to ride with us one more time," Williams said.
Video Here!

Taylor's funeral is today.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Evel Knievel has passed at 69!

CNN reports:
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Evel Knievel, the hard-living motorcycle daredevil whose exploits made him an international icon in the 1970s, died Friday. He was 69.

Knievel's death was confirmed by his granddaughter, Krysten Knievel. He had been in failing health for years, suffering from diabetes and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable condition that scarred his lungs.
Cause of death, per the family, is liver failure. Evel had received a liver transplant in '99 while fighting off Hepatitis C, most likely contracted through his many hospital visits during his career as a daredevil.

I remember Evel well, as a kid. We jumped our bikes pretending to be the master. I remember hovering around an old AM radio at a neighbor's house listening to his failed attempt to jump Snake River Canyon.

How he survived his many thrills and spills is beyond me. Especially the crash and burn during his attempt to jump the fountains at Ceasar's Palace.
More YouTube here.

In the end, it was his chosen daredevil lifestyle that caught up to him.


Snow's a Comin'

A Public service announcement:

-- Winterized your vehicle
** ** Extra Blankets in the trunk
** ** Jumper Cables
** ** Gloves
** ** Emergency Cell Phone (we actually keep an old disconnect cell phone and charger in the glove box. It isn't good for anything but 911, but that just may be the only time we need it.
** ** Other good suggestions from the MN Safety Council

-- Have you pulled out your shovels?

-- Gassed up your snow blower?

-- Cleared out the garage to get you vehicles off the street for the snow emergency?

-- Stocked up the pantry?

-- Gone to the Liquor store?

-- Visited blockbuster to spruce up the videos options?

. . . . anything else I missed?

Usually when they spook us with snow, especially the first one, it is nothing more than a puff. But you can never be too careful.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Henry Hyde Gone at 83

via the ChiTrib:
Former U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde, who led the impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton and also sponsored a high-profile anti-abortion amendment, died today.

The news was confirmed by the office of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Hyde, 83, had triple-bypass heart surgery in July and had been in failing health.
I am not one to judge, that is left to history, and the creator. I will continue to honor and respect those that choose public service, irregardless of whether I support their personal missions.

May he rest in peace.


One Word . . .

. . . to describe the GOP YouTube Debate:


I tuned into the second half of the debate last night. I really wanted to see the candidates in action, candid, and on their game. What I got was a bunch of hate. Hate towards gays and lesbians, hate towards minorities, just pure raw hate.

Now I see 'hate' from the candidates on the Left as well, but it is against each other. I don't even know if I would go as far as calling it hate as in their case it is probably to harsh a word. They at least seem to have a high level of respect for their constituency. That was not at all as evident with the GOP last night. They are clearly playing to their base and are willing to throw those that are not in sync with their ideology under the bus. This was so evident when the Brigadier General, who came out only after he retired from the service, asked about gays in the military.

Whomever is elected will be a partisan. But I would hope and expect them to be every one's President, and at least empathize with their opposition. Huckabee attempted to bring some civility back when asked about potential endorsement from the Log Cabin Republicans:
"I need all the support I can get - Americans are looking for someone who doesn't agree with them on everything but has convictions and can explain them."
My ideology is on a slow march to the Right, but the purist mentality of the GOP makes folks like myself feel unwelcome. Current extreme conservatives like Pawlenty and Sen. Coleman are being labeled RINOS and are not even conservative enough to be embraced by their own party.

What I have found with the Left, and the DFL specifically, is that I feel welcome, even though me ideology is much further to the Right than the average party goer. However, my views are respect, and there is a place for me within their big tent. That is not the case with the Right, and I hope someday they recognize that.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Peace at Last?

It begins with Grip 'n Grin:
Israeli and Palestinian leaders pledged yesterday in Annapolis to begin negotiations next month for a possible peace agreement, but their speeches before representatives of 40 countries -- including Arab nations with no diplomatic ties with Israel -- laid bare the deep grievances between them and the tough compromises that will be necessary to forge a lasting deal.
Of course, the Bush admin has been down this road before:
A previous peace initiative inaugurated by Bush in 2003, known as the "road map," quickly ended in failure. Under the deal reached yesterday, the two sides agreed once again to begin implementing the road map, a three-phase performance-based plan, and, as in 2003, the United States agreed to monitor it. Israel, for instance, must end the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, while Palestinian security forces must target militant groups that attack Israelis.
To be fair, the Oslo Peace process stumbled with Jerusalem being a deal breaker. Any President that chooses to tackle this volatile issue should be praised. But at a time where our international credibility is in question, one wonders how those on the outside looking in are perceiving this country's motivations. I believe they are genuine, however, time will tell if this is the case.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Change for your Dollar

Mike Peters has always been one of my favorites, even beofre Mother Goose and Grimm. But he still kicks out editorial toons and the other day was one of his best. Enjoy:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Trent Lott, Opportunist?

Trent Lott will announce later today his decision to resign from the Senate. His term isn't up until 2012. Why would he choose to make that decision now, rather than fill his term? Some speculate:
While the exactly reason Lott is stepping down before he finishes his term is unknown, the general speculation is that a quick departure immunizes Lott against tougher restrictions in a new lobbying law that takes effect at the end of the year. That law would require Senators to wait two-years before entering the lucrative world of lobbying Congress.
I guess someones commitment to their constituency takes a back seat to political opportunism. If true, of course.


Global Incident Map

Here is an interesting site. The Global Incident Map displays, in real time, current activities like terrorist acts, suspicious activities, and other items. Zoom in for details and click on the locations for specifics.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Bipartisan Support

As is usually the case, the MN GOP is on an island, alone:
In June, Ritchie convened a meeting of all the state's parties to talk about precinct caucuses, recruiting election judges and encouraging robust elections.

"I found him to be very supportive of nonpartisan stuff. I just feel like he's done a very good job of reaching out to all the parties," said Craig Swaggert, head of the Independence Party of Minnesota.
As I've said before, this has nothing to do with Ritchie, or some list. It is about the November 2008 election, and the GOP posturing that goes with it:
the Republican attack has more to do with discrediting Ritchie as a way to take back the office than in anything Ritchie may have proposed or done wrong.

"You've heard the expression, it matters less who votes than who counts the votes? That seems to be the Bush/Cheney strategy in winning elections. It worked for them in Florida in 2000; it worked for them in Ohio in 2004, and they are trying to make it work in Minnesota," Melendez said.
We're on to ya this time.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

No, I did not participate in this annual commercialization of a religious holiday ritual. I'd rather stay home and watch Prep Football all day. I love the nine man game!

Anywho, back to the couch.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007

I have much to be thankful for. A wonderful family, both immediate and extended. The lovely Mrs. Flash and I will be sitting down around 1:ish with our three boys to enjoy another holiday meal together. I have a friend in transition who will also be here. No one should be alone on this day. I hear rumors that Cpl. Peterson, my marine, may be in the state for the Christmas holiday. What a present that would be. I continue to be thankful for his service, safety, and security.

My brother and sister are both doing well, and my parents continue to enjoy good health and safe travels. We will all be together on Saturday for an extended Thanksgiving celebration.

I am thankful for Centrisity, and the outlet it provides me to keep my political sanity and the world as a whole in perspective. Things seem to be a little calmer here than other places on the Net, I like that. It keeps me in check and makes me think. I am not here to push a meme, or seek out a specific victory. I am here to learn, and grow ideologically. If that takes me Left or Right, so be it. I think that's what makes this place unique.

Those that have been around know of my Mayflower ancestry, descended from both Francis Eaton and Samuel Fuller. My GGGG Grandfather is named Fuller Eaton, named after his Grandparents, themselves 4th generation pilgrims. That's what makes this day even more special for us.

One key piece of history obtained from the Pilgrims, was the Mayflower Compact. This earliest of documents, acknowledging the need for governance and civility could even be called the foundation of our own constitution. The text of this rudimentary document follows:
In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith and Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the First Colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France and Ireland the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini 1620.
What is the primary purpose of governance, "for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience." That's what it is all about, isn't. I truly believe that regardless of ones ideological perspective, that everyone is sincere in their desire to work towards what they feel is best, for the good of the 'colony'. Our differences emerge when we try to agree on how to get there.

From a seat on the Mayflower, to a vote in the electoral college. I have much to be thankful for.

Enjoy your day.

Pilgrim Flash

UPDATE: Mission Accomplished. Dinner hit the table right at halftime and boy was it yummy. Now I need a nap *grin*

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Our significant improvement in the Secretary of State's office made a tumble. I am disappointed in his handling of this event. I believe I could have offered better advice instead of the route he took.

The MNGOP is calling for his resignation. I will support that call, for the specific reason given:
"exploiting his office for partisan political purposes."
The resignation should begin immediately after two other high profile politicians resign for the same offense; President George W Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

I will allow the Right to place the goal posts wherever they want, but I will not allow them to move them for their own benefit. I don't care what standard is used to determine fitness for office, only that the standard is applied consistently to all, regardless of party. So, MN GOP, be careful what you wish for, you may get it!


Snowball Rolling

Another disgruntled former Bush staffer, or the truth finally being heard:
McClellan recounts the 2003 news conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according to a brief excerpt released Tuesday. "I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's chief of staff and the president himself.
The Right will whine, but when you think of what they put Clinton through during his 2nd term, they were the ones who set the rules. With the exception of the threat of the nuclear option in the Senate, the Right took advantage of every other opportunity they had to wreak havoc on the process, without consideration for the needs of their constituencies. I am not a fan of constant and frivolous investigation to score political points through negative politics. But in this case we may have some very serious manipulation reaching to the highest levels of government. A far cry from a stained dress between consenting adults.

I think it is time we get McClellan under oath, and see where that takes us. the Right will complain, because they seem to be allergic to the truth.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Now, its not about the fight, but about the money:
MOSUL, Iraq -- Abu Nawall, a captured al-Qaeda in Iraq leader, said he didn't join the Sunni insurgent group here to kill Americans or to form a Muslim caliphate. He signed up for the cash.

"I was out of work and needed the money," said Abu Nawall, the nom de guerre of an unemployed metal worker who was paid as much as $1,300 a month as an insurgent. He spoke in a phone interview from an Iraqi military base where he is being detained. "How else could I support my family?"

U.S. military commanders say that insurgents across the country are increasingly motivated more by money than ideology and that a growing number of insurgent cells, struggling to pay recruits, are turning to gangster-style racketeering operations.
With 10 days to go on the self imposed benchmark by the President, he still has his hands full. How can he turn over Iraqi security to the Iraqis if they are continuing to sell out.

We need a new leader who is serious about winning this war, and I don't think we can wait 14 month to get it. But at this rate, the stagnation will continue and we will have to redefine victory just to save face.

This mess continues to be mismanaged, and the few of us left supporting this war is becoming fewer yet.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Blogiversary; It's been Five Years

I've never celebrated an anniversary here, mainly because I didn't know which date to use. I didn't really start posting regularly until February 2004, but the beginning is a bit before that, followed by a few scattered or intermittent posts. However the beginning is still the beginning, and on November 19, 2002, the first screed on Centrisity was posted:
As the events of election 2002 slowly become memories, or the fodder for conversation over liquid courage, the ideology of the Democratic philosophy come to bare. What will it take to return our nation to normalcy? These pages will help us get there. Enjoy the ride
Much has transpired in those five years. Many new friends have been made, and I believe I have evolved personally and ideologically. As we enter the the next Presidential run, I am hoping the experience I have acquired over the years will add to the banter that is the Blogopshere.


UPDATE: The Wayback Machine still has an early incarnation of Centrisity from March '04.

Dangerous City Update

Bleeding off my post in 2005, we have an update of the Dangerous city list.
Last year's crime leader, St. Louis, fell to No. 2. Another Michigan city, Flint, ranked third, followed by Oakland Calif.; Camden, N.J.; Birmingham, Ala.; North Charleston, S.C.; Memphis, Tenn.; Richmond, Calif.; and Cleveland.

The study ranked Mission Viejo, Calif., as the safest U.S. city, followed by Clarkstown, N.Y.; Brick Township, N.J.; Amherst, N.Y.; and Sugar Land, Texas.
Much to the chagrin of Metro Republicans, Minneapolis is not on the list.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Puppies WIN!!

I've been neglecting our rebuilding Puppy Dogs. After five attempts this season, they were still searching for their first 'W'. The 6th was a charm, and victory was theirs against the lowly Sacramento Kings.

There is no KG, or other stars, but someone will break through eventually, and last night it was McCants:
On Wednesday night, Rashad McCants burst through it, allowing the Wolves to end their season-opening, five-game losing streak by scoring a career-high 33 points in a 108-103 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Target Center.
I pick on the Vikings and hype on the Wild but tend to leave the puppies alone. So for all your Lumber Puppy needs, visit Canis Hoopus, a local Timberwolves blog with great insight and current information. Stop-n-Pop isn't so sure about McCants:
Rashad McCants has the potential to be problematic. Al Jefferson is the man, is the man, is the man; McCants needs to realize he’s the 2nd option (for now) and that 1 on 5 drives into the lane do not make for optimal possessions. He and Jefferson could be a decent inside/outside threat if Shad would learn to kick it back in every now and then, and, if he decides to dribble, he should drive at Jefferson’s defender rather than running to the middle of the lane, jumping in the air, and going for the highlight reel. Shad could have a long career if he learns the proper balance between slashing and jacking up the 3 AFTER he runs the ball through Jefferson.
Canis Hoopus, the one Stop-n-Pop for all your Timberwolves information



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Expedition Failed

So the three GOP Congressfolks wanted to expedite the funding of the 35W bridge to the point they even authored a bill to bypass the normal process.
GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann, Jim Ramstad and John Kline introduced the legislation as a stand-alone bill in an effort to expedite the bridge funding, which has been bogged down in a broader budget fight between Congressional Democrats and the White House.

"The funds promised to Minnesota in the wake of this tragedy have not been delivered," said Bachmann. "It's time for Congress to act so that the city of Minneapolis can be made whole again."
Well guess what, the very bill that was 'bogged down' came up for a vote. Congress acted as demanded by the trio. So of course these impatient politicians voted 'aye' without a flinch to be sure. Lets take a look. Ramstad, Check; Bachmann . . . . Huh . . . Kline . . . Whaaaaat

So Ramstad remains committed and steadfast to his principle but Kline and Bachmann show what most of us knew all along. It wasn't about what was best for Minnesotans, it was nothing more than a political pawn. I like what Candidate Sarvi said in his press release following Kline's vote:
“I’m in shock. John Kline has been grandstanding on this issue for the past month – and now, when he actually has the opportunity to deliver the funds authorized to Minnesota in the wake of the bridge tragedy, he votes against the bill. He chose a smoke-and-mirrors attempt at convincing his constituents he’s willing to invest in the infrastructure they count on every day over actually doing anything about it. This was a horrible vote for the people of Minnesota. An unthinkable vote.”
I feel pretty much the same way, except the "I'm in shock" part. This has become pretty typical politics for the far Right.


Veto Hardball

Another battle looms on the big hill, and this one will be a lot different then the training mission last week. Majority leader Reid is sending up trial balloons with a hint at hard ball:
A budget dispute erupted into a full-scale battle Tuesday as President Bush vetoed the Democrats' top-priority domestic spending bill and the party's Senate leader threatened to withhold war funding if the president does not agree to pull out of Iraq.
Reid and the Left can play numbers games and win. We have already discussed the inconsistencies in the President's fiscal priorities, but I'm not so sure playing hardball with troop finding and strategic planning is the way they need to go. The needed step, for both sides, is to agree on priorities:
The exchange encapsulated a broader confrontation over national priorities, a battle both sides appear eager to wage heading into an election year. As Bush demands full funding for the war, he signaled that Tuesday's action will be the first of a cascade of vetoes killing other spending bills, casting himself as a deficit hawk blocking a tax-and-spend Congress. Democrats are seeking to paint Bush as a reckless leader who spent the nation deep into debt through failed war policies while ignoring schools, medical research and other vital areas.
So this is about the battle for the White House, and the need for the Right to identify an heir apparent. Almost like a little more smoke and mirrors. It is also clear that the President is playing chess with the American people, instead of properly representing them. See, the problem is he claims "a $606 billion bill to fund education, health and labor programs" is "too expensive' yet had no problem signing off on almost as much ($459 billion annual Defense Department spending bill) for the Pentagon. Maybe this IS a the battle the Left wants to fight now, rather than wait for the election cycle to kick in.

This lame duck President needs to start negotiating in good faith, or we will have a return to the gaming of 1995, involving a testosterone battle between President Clinton and a Republican congress, leading to a government shutdown. The Political savvy Clinton came out of that battle stronger, but President Bush is no Bill Clinton.


New Kids on the Block

When Minnesota Monitor launched it was one of the first online political news magazine with a blogger feel to it. It has become one of the premier sites in Minnesota, and one that set the standard for things to come.

With the multitude of buyouts by the new management at the Strib, two new sites have launched recently with a similar MinnMon feel to them. Out of the box they have successfully stirred the local blogosphere and are worth becoming daily visits.

MinnPost brings us familiar Strib faces like Joe Kimball and Doug Growe, along with TV personalities like Roxanne Battle. Growe recently discussed the DFL's current fiscal struggles heading into next year's election cycle. Quality content like that is certainly a sign of good things to come.

The Daily Mole most recently made a hit with a op-ed which pressured a local MNGOP operative to distance himself from another local Right Wing blog.

The new wave in new media is here to stay. There will be winners and loser like in any free market system. But while they are out there, you can be sure those that pay attention will be privy to information that the old dead tree media (or fish wrap factories; Copyright Dan Cole) don't seem to have time for.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Dropout Deficit

John Fitzgerald, at MN2020, breaks down the cost factor of dropouts, and the options before us to keep them in school:
The bottom-line difference for the public purse between high school graduates and dropouts is stark. Over a working life of 45 years, each dropout costs taxpayers an extra $252,000 – paying $167,000 less in taxes and costing $48,900 more in health care, $31,800 more in the justice system and $4,100 more in state assistance programs.
What can we do:
he authors looked at programs and strategies that reduce the number of dropouts. Using only programs with known costs and results, they found:

* Increasing teacher salaries by 10 percent raises high school graduation rates 5 percent. The cost for each additional graduate is $56,850. The benefit-cost ratio is 4.01.

* Reducing class size in elementary schools increases high school graduation by 11 percent for all students and 18 percent for low-income students. The cost for each additional graduate is $116,720 across the board, but only $71,330 for low-income students. The overall benefit-cost ratio is 1.96, but 3.21 for low-income students.

* First Things First, a program that emphasizes small learning communities, long-term teacher student relationships, mentoring and a rigorous curriculum, increases graduation rates by 16 percent. The cost for each new graduate is $33,680, the benefit-cost ratio 6.72.

* Talent Development targets the transition between 9th and 10th grades and has increased graduation rates by 8 percent. It includes small learning communities, help sessions and advanced curricula. The cost for each additional graduate is $34,850, the benefit-cost ratio 6.56.

* Check and Connect is a program to assess and mentor at-risk students. It increases the graduation rate by 17 percent. The cost for each additional graduate is $47,930, the benefit-cost ratio 4.77.
There is value in Public education. Dr. No's butchering of the reality show how out of touch he, and the Right, really are:
Among the ideas he discussed, was high school class sizes of 100, 200 or more. It would make them similar to college and would remove special needs students from the regular school system.

"There are hundreds, thousands of children in our public schools today that we are babysitting, we are warehousing them," said Krinkie.

Krinkie would move high need children to special schools.

"Let's not forget the purpose of the K through 12 system: to benefit the majority of the children in terms of their educational progress," Krinkie said.
And lets not forget the purpose of the Tax Payers League, to gut societies coffers until dropout rates increase, bridges fall, and property taxes skyrocket. Wait, isn't that what is happening now.


Fecke's Power Rankings

Jeff Fecke, of the BotML, updated his power rankings following a brief hiatus (I hope everything is OK) Slightly different twist this go around, but still thoughtful and objective analysis.

From the Left, and coming it at #1:

1. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) (LR: 2)

helmsley.jpgI’ve tried really hard to keep Hillary out of the top spot, but what can I say? She’s far and away the one to beat on the left. Yes, all the old caveats about Clinton still apply, from her too-cozy relationship with all the bad actors in our nation’s government to her inability to stand up for things like basic Constitutional rights. And it’s not over ’til Iowa casts its votes (see Dean, Howard). But she’s the presumptive favorite right now for both the Democratic endorsement and the presidency itself.

. . . and the Right:

1. Fmr. Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Maschigatah) (LR: 2)

joseph_smith_southpark.jpgWhy Romney? Well, why not? Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like he has an actual chance of getting the nomination, but near as I can tell, nobody else does either. Probably the biggest beneficiary of the Fred Thompson Implosion (more on that in a sec), but really, who the hell knows anymore? Certainly, in any ordinary year, a candidate who once boasted about being to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights issues would have no shot at getting the Republican nomination. But I guess all that “flip-flopper” stuff from 2004 was really a term of endearment for John Kerry.

Read them all, this was just teasers.


Sunday, November 11, 2007


In Honor of Veterans' Day

Several years ago I posted a list of my ancestors who served in various conflicts in the history of America. Now I add one more, My son, The Marine!

Seth Trowbridge 4G Grampa), Revolutionary War

Ansel Eaton (GG Uncle), Civil War

GrandPa Otto WWI and WW II

Bob Dummer (Uncle), WWII

Uncle Stan Dummer Navy WWII

Uncle Lamoyne Dummer Navy WWII, Army, Viet Nam

Uncle Emery Vane Dummer Navy WWII

Uncle Jim Eaton Navy WWII

my Father, Robert Schiebel, Korea (USS Healy DD672, USS English DD696, USS Shenandoah)

My Nephew, Dustin Lee Imholte

and My Son, the Marine!

I'll leave you with something I wrote back in November '05, when I acknowledged the passing of the last known surviving allied veteran of the Christmas Truce:
Remember, we don't have to wait for one day a year to honor the men and women who serve, and have served our country! We should do it every opportunity we can find!
So thank a veteran today, and thank them every chance you get!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Insert Favorite Band: Top Five

Amongst many of Wog's interests was his love of the Kinks. I was not aware of this portion of his life until after his passing, so I was trolling through the Kinks mailing list looking for some of his writings. I stumbled across the following that could be applied to anyone favorite band:
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999
From: Paul Kuettel
Subject: Top Five

Hi All!

Have been agonizing over this Top Five business. Considered what others have said, pulled out some albums that have gone unheard for awhile, made notes, started lists and crumpled them up, took alot of Tylenol.

It finally dawned on me. My Favorite Five Kinks albums are whatever five I have most recently heard :-)))

Flyoverland, MN
That's kind of where I am at with Rush

Cheers, Wog!


Friday, November 09, 2007

Bye, Wog!

Today, family and friends will say goodbye to Paul 'Wog' Kuettel in a mass of Christian Burial.

Mitch and I went to pay our respects last night. He does a nice job of putting you there:
The room was crammed with people - which, itself, is a great memorial to a guy who just plain knew a lot of people. Paul was active in his community of Cretin/Derham Hall alums, in the Ramsey County GOP, the MOB, and…well, life in general. He knew everyone, and everyone liked him, whether they agreed with him or not.

Don’t believe me? Flash tripped onto a photo on one of the display boards - Paul was standing with a couple of guys who looked dimly familiar. “That’s Bill Luther”, Flash said, pointing to the guy on the right. “But who’s that…”
It was a younger Rod Grams, whom I may have been able to figure out, but just didn't come to me right way. That same picture was enlarged and at the front of the chapel as well. It must have been one of his favorites.

Paul had a way with words, both written and spoken. I met him through the Blogosphere about 4 years ago and it always seemed that whenever there was a blogger gathering or an Issues Forum MeetUp I would be at his table, trading stories. He was a Rightie, pure and pure. But he had a nack for debate. The kind of guy who you would talk to all night, and then find yourself agreeing with him more and more. It wasn't until you left, and got halfway to the car you would stop in mid step and go . . . HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!!!

He had that skill.

Wog's battle with Liver disease, and his wait on the transplant list is well documented on his blog, one that will now go deafly silent. Mitch shares some important links at the end of his screed. I won't post them here, you need to read his take, and you'll find them at the end.

Cheers, Wog!


Bush Veto Override: Snow Ball Rolling?

It's finally happened:
A year after Democrats won control of Capitol Hill, Congress delivered its clearest victory yet over President Bush yesterday, resoundingly overturning his veto of a $23 billion water resources measure -- the first veto override of Bush's presidency.

The 79 to 14 vote in the Senate was followed last night by final passage of a huge, $151 billion health, education and labor spending bill. House and Senate negotiators also reached agreement on a transportation and housing bill that increases spending on highway repair in the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse and boosts foreclosure assistance in the midst of a housing crisis.
Is this the beginning of a trend, as incumbent Republicans recognize their affiliation with the President this time around may be more of a hindrance than a help.

The new majority has been accused of not challenging the status quo enough, but with this latest override and an agreement on transportation funding, that should change. Now they will be able to negotiate from strength Iraqi war funding:
the House unveiled a four-month, $50 billion Iraq war-funding bill that would give the president 60 days to present a plan to complete U.S. troop withdrawals by Dec. 15, 2008. The measure would limit the troops' mission to counterterrorism and the training of Iraqi forces and would extend a torture ban to the CIA.
Election year or not, the Left is calling the Right out, as a good Majority part should.

The President may be a lame duck, but there is a swarm of Republican Legislators who would like to be re-hired by their constituencies again. As the session progresses, we will see where their true loyalties lie.

Game on!


Thursday, November 08, 2007

I Got Nothin'

Today is a crazy Thursday, with a normal work day, extended into the evening with Conferences till 8:00 and a trip to the Funeral Home in between to say good bye to Wog.

I got tons going on both in my life and in my head. The stuff in my head will have to wait till later, maybe even tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mayor Bananaman!

In more important election news, King Banaian becomes the NEW mayor of the MOB. As one of the furthest left of the predominantly Right leaning organization, I couldn't be happier.

What does being the Mayor of the MOB mean. No one really knows, but they do get to put a fancy logo in their side bar.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

St. Paul Election Results 2007

via the SoS
St. Paul School Board

18609 19.78 ANNE CARROLL
16828 17.89 KAZOUA KONG-THAO
13258 14.09 TOM CONLON
13126 13.95 KEITH HARDY
11683 12.42 KEVIN RIACH
08969 09.53 DAVID PETERSON
00511 00.54 WRITE-IN**

2633 57.50 MELVIN CARTER
0014 00.31 WRITE-IN**

2733 53.02 DAVE THUNE
2399 46.54 BILL HOSKO
0023 00.45 WRITE-IN**

4369 86.29 PAT HARRIS
0055 01.09 WRITE-IN**

3115 80.93 RUSS STARK
0043 01.12 WRITE-IN**

2124 51.52 LEE HELGEN
1983 48.10 DAVID HAAS
0016 00.39 WRITE-IN**

2507 53.69 DAN BOSTROM
2142 45.88 PAKOU HANG
0020 00.43 WRITE-IN**

1737 71.25 KATHY LANTRY
0689 28.26 JANINE KELLEY
0012 00.49 WRITE-IN**

MNBlue has coverage of the Electon gathering at Arnellia's.

Election Day 2007

These off year elections tend to get low turnouts. However, it is these local races, both City council and school board, that can impact us most directly.

There is also a variety of School referendums out there. I tend to be a vote no guy, but recognize that our fiscally irresponsible state and national executives have created dire straits for many of our districts. I will not blanketly support all of the requests, nor will I condemn them. But I will ask that you research your own districts situation and vote accordingly. Look not so much at what the levy increases will bring, but what it will cost the students if it fails.

Get out there and vote.


Monday, November 05, 2007

Memoriam: Paul "Wog" Kuettel

I was tipped off be an E-Mail to the SPIF list, and then caught the posting at True North.

Paul "Wog" Kuettel has passed.

His final post was October 21, and he had a feeling he was close to the end:
MRI found a growing mass on the liver, so I got a CT which doesn't tell if it is cancerous. So off to the U of M I go next week for another MRI, bloodwork, and perhaps a biopsy. The way I feel really makes whether it is the big C a moot point.

Suffice it to say that nowadays I am very inactive, sleep a lot and my mind is consumed with worry that this is close to the end.

I'm not ready, but I guess I never will be.
This is a toughy. He had been feeling better last time I saw him, but that was late Summer. It's difficult to type, I may have more in the morning.

All my hopes to his friends and family!

Cheers, Wog!! You will be missed


The Obit for Tuesday's PiPress:
Paul Francis Kuettel
Kuettel, Paul Francis Age 51 of Falcon Heights Born May 9, 1956 in St. Paul, MN Paul showed great courage in his battle against liver disease, but died peacefully Sunday, November 4, lovingly surrounded by family and friends. Preceded in death by grandparents Charles and Cecelia Moosbrugger and Frank and Catherine Kuettel. Survived by wife Laura, sons Alex and Drew, daughter Catie, parents Frank and Nancy, siblings Janelle Fischler (Roseanne Tripi), David (Megan Kavanaugh) and Cindy (Mike) Leaf. Paul will be deeply missed by in-laws Floyd and Joanne Zdrojkowski; brother and sister-in-laws Jan and Dave Klapperich, Cathy and Steve Peterson, Marcia and Ken Rowe and 19 loving nieces, nephews and many friends. Paul graduated Salutatorian of Cretin High School class of 1974, Summa Cum Laude, College of St. Thomas class of 1977. Owner of AccessData and author of (a candid, humorous look at daily life). Paul was an active volunteer in the American Legion and the Lion's Club. Paul will be remembered for his intelligence, engaging conversation, endless curiosity, and rich sense of humor. Mass of Christian Burial 10:00 AM, Friday, November 9, at St. Agnes Catholic Church 548 Lafond Ave, St. Paul. Visitation 4:00-8:00 pm Thursday at Willwerscheid Funeral Home 1167 Grand Ave, St. Paul, 651-228-1006. Burial private. Charitable proceeds to a family fund.
GuestBook Here

MOB Mayor: The Runoff

Last minute electoral surges placed my endorsed candidate, King BananaMan, with a commanding lead over runner up Atomizer, Frater's resident lush. Unfortunately, the significant support received by King was NOT enough to garner a simple majority. So in these Republican type elections, they get a do over with a reduced slate. See, a plurality is good enough to pick Governors, Senators, and Presidents, but apparently not the MOB Mayor.

Polls will be open Monday - Wednesday.

Check the KAR sidebar.

Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote KING!


Economic Truth

Mitch tries to put lipstick on the pig:
Oh, woe is we:
Well, well, well … 166,000 new jobs. Twice the consensus view. Did somebody say Goldilocks? Did somebody say the greatest story never told?
Silly Larry. That’s what gatekeepers are for. If this news actually got out, Democrats’d have to work to get elected.
What Mitch forgets, and those of us that pay attention understand, is that over time, we are actually trending down, again. And at no time have we come close the growth experienced pre Bush II:At some point, when an economy is bottom out, it is obvious it will then climb somewhat. To tout these growths without recognizing the pathetic numbers that preceded them s disingenuous.

What is really silly, is his source then decides to change the rules:
Outside the struggling financial and consumer discretionary sectors, the economy is firing on all cylinders. Economy-wide profits are up a smoldering 15 percent in the third quarter when you remove these two laggards.
Great, if we take away two key determining factors in the formula, everything else looks rosy. Funny, changing the rules again to make things look better than they are.

I won't argue that raising taxes would make things better, but continuing to borrow billions for the war while our dollar spirals downward can't be making things better either. Its one thing to be a fiscal Conservative, and a whole 'nother matter to be fiscally responsible. Those terms are not interchangeable.


MORE: Professor King has more insight on the state of the economy, all but admitting he would irritate his fellow NARNiacs:
-- the consensus of forecasters (according to Bloomberg this AM) was for 80,000 jobs rather than the 166,000 reported. Believe me, most of us who look at this stuff for a living were surprised. Investors Business Daily opines, meanwhile, that all of the negative press has created cognitive dissonance in voters and consumers.

Some of us -- and at risk of annoying my fellow NARNians Ed and John, I am in this camp -- remain unimpressed by this number, the GDP report from Wednesday, or much else. I could make this a long post, but it's late and I'm in need of dinner and an evening walk with Littlest.
Read his whole take. King has a way of laying it out so anyone can understand it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hey, Vikings didn't Suck

It was actually enjoyable watching the 2nd half of the game today. Good to be able to watch someone else stink up the joint for once.

I don't expect us to win out, which is basically what is necessary for us to make the playoffs. But I do hope we can stay in games so that they are at least entertaining.

I don't know which QBs willl be on the free agent market next year, but I hope we are ranking them as we speak. It is really the only need we have that can't be cured via the draft.


A Year To Go!

November 4, 2008, Presidential Election day. This campaign season started earlier then anyone could imagine.

On the Presidential side, we have Sen Hillary in the driver's seat, with Guiliani the consensus front runner for the GOP. If these were our nominees, and the election were held today, I don't think I would have a big problem pulling the lever for the Former Big Apple mayor. But I don't think the Right is that smart. They won't recognize him as the most electable option they have in an election that will be defined by change. Rudy doesn't pass the ideological purity test. No, they'll end up with a Romney, or a surprise move by Huckabee. Even Fred Thompson hasn't been able to get any traction since his Post Announcement bubble burst. Dick Morris echoes my thoughts:
On the Republican side, a Romney victory in Iowa would virtually guarantee a win in New Hampshire. The two states, in media terms, are practically one. Two-thirds of New Hampshire lives in the southern part of the state that watches Boston television every night. Since Romney served as governor in Massachusetts, he will probably win New Hampshire anyway. A win in Iowa would make it a fait accompli.

Two victories would make Romney the front-runner for the Republican nomination. Coupled with a Giuliani stumble in Iowa, it could totally change the dynamic of the Republican primary. Here’s what might happen:

· Rudy could come to be seen as too antagonistic to the Christian right, and moderates might once again turn to McCain as the less inflammatory option, sidetracking the former New York mayor.

· Huckabee, coming in a strong second, could take off and become the poor man’s Romney, taking advantage of his greater consistency on social issues, his Christian (read: non-Mormon) beliefs, and his support of the Fair Tax as an alternative to the IRS.

· Republicans would likely panic about the idea of a Mormon candidate and worry about his prospects, making Huckabee and either Rudy or McCain viable as alternatives.

· Thompson will be forced out, having lost his position as the socially conservative answer to Rudy.
Which brings us to the Senate race. At this point, none of the DFL candidates have been able to convince me that their seat in the Senate would be as, or more valuable, then the incumbent. With all his faults, Sen. Coleman has done a pretty good job of balancing the expectations of his constituency with his own ideology. Sen. Norm is no Mark Kennedy. Kennedy tried desperately to distance himself from the President, but his congressional voting record was too much to counter. Sen. Coleman has a much more moderate rating and can point to several opportunities he broke away from the party.

The DFL is offering us a Hollywood name with baggage, a rich attorney with somewhat less baggage, a grassroots longshot and a Peacenick. None of these candidates have really been successful explaining to me how they would be able to be better for the state than our current Senator. They are too busy sniping at each other about who was against the war first, and how much against the war they are now. That is obviously not an issue they will be able to win my vote on.

Norm has been labeled a RINO by the base, bucked the White House on SCHIP. Tracy shares:
Norm Coleman voted to raise the tax on my cigars to $3 after lying to me in a letter saying that those provisions had been removed. Can anyone blame me if I don't work too hard to get this asshole re-elected?
Anyone who Tracy is that pissed at, certainly deserves a look by me. And since the Candidates on the Left are too busy sniping at each other, if the election were to be held today, I'd plug my nose and pull the Norm lever. They have a year to prove to me otherwise.

I will now put on my flak jacket *laughing*


Friday, November 02, 2007

DL Debrief with the Mayor

I hadn't been to Groveland Tap before. A fantastic neighborhood bar and grill. One that I will be taking the Lovely Mrs. Flash to sometime soon.

The place was bustling, so I nudged my way to the back Rec area and greeted the throngs. Mayor Coleman was already there, and engaged in conversation. I saw a wave from Smartie out of the corner of my eye, and greeted him and his lovely bride, and mother to be REW. It wasn't long before I got a nod from Wege as he was passing me a taster of Todd's latest concoction, a rich malted beverage called Darkness. It definitely had a kick too it.

It was great to see Sara Grewing, again. She searched me out to visit while the Mayor was glad handing. Sara was Sen Klobuchar's State director during her campaign, and this past summer was named Mayor Coleman's Chief of Staff. I could clearly tell she was loving her new job. I then worked my way through a crowded back room. I estimate at least 30-40 attendees from what I could tell. I could see the regulars from 331 engaging with not so familiar faces. I had a couple SPIFers come up to me and offer thanks for posting the event to the announcement list. The more the merrier I say!

Sara was able to steer the Mayor my way for a brief visit. There wasn't much chance to get into specifics, so it was a brief social visit. I mentioned seeing him at my school, Washington Technology Magnet Middle School, where he was not only able to recall why he was there, but remembered names and specifics that I couldn't even recall. I don't think I could ever be successful in electoral politics as my memory for names never has been sharp. I taunted him about the recent speculation of Chief Finney's potential run for Mayor. With almost two year to go before that election, he is not really sure how much credence you can put into that supposition. I was also wearing my Richardson for President shirt, and although Mayor Coleman has a high level of respect for the Governor, he has chosen to support Sen Clinton at this time. Sometime, I would like to sit down with the Mayor for a more personal, candid, visit. But this type of event isn't really conducive to that.

My evening ended with a debate on the war in Iraq. It always amazes me how those on the Right call me a DFL operative:
DFL operative Flash from the blog "Centristy" (heh, heh that one never gets old)
while those on the Left claim I am buying into the RNC talking points, as happened last night at DL. It used to bother me, but being a moderate, I can't please anyone, and last night was certainly the case while discussing the must win war on terror.

All in all it was a great night of Drinking Liberally and with the turnout we experienced, they just might have to start a St. Paul Chapter. We'll see.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

DL and the Real Mayor

Drinking Liberally is venturing to the East side of the river. From 6:00 - 9:00 this evening, the Groveland Tap will be hosting a visit from St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. The Mayor will be there for the first hour to mingle with the attendees and answer questions or concerns. The debrief will continue till they kick us out.

I plan to make an appearance at least on the front end, and you should to.


MOB Mayor, and Endorsement

On the sidebar at KoolAid Report, is the polling booth. Your choice is simple, King BananaMan. No other candidate was able to come close to passing muster, once you look at their resumé. King is a professor at my alma mater, it's really that simple.

Vote early, vote often.