Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Two Party System at Work!

This caught my eye more for it's more broad acknowledgment of the tribulations of a two party system.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sooner Rather Then Later

While Cindy can't see the forest for the trees, there is talk on the Right of placing withdrawal on the table by year's end:
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) said this morning on CBS' Face the Nation that "unless something extraordinary happens," most members of Congress believe that troop withdrawal should be on the table in September.

"We have to be realistic," he said. "We have to know that we can't achieve everything we'd like to achieve. We have a limited number of men and women we can send to Iraq, and we can't overburden them."
The idea of the surge, was to not just make one final seep through Iraqi trouble spots, but to take advantage of the trained indigenous security force to hold the areas post sweep. There are signs that this is working, even before the full troops strength numbers are reached.
What tactics are working? "We got down at the people level and are staying," he said flatly. "Once the people know we are going to be around, then all kinds of things start to happen."

More intelligence, for example. Where once tactical units were "scraping" for intelligence information, they now have "information overload," the general said. "After our guys are in the neighborhood for four or five days, the people realize they're not going to just leave them like we did in the past. Then they begin to come in with so much information on the enemy that we can't process it fast enough."

In intelligence work - the key to fighting irregular wars - commanders love excess.

And the tribal leaders in Sunni al Anbar Province, the general reports, "have had enough." Not only are the al Qaeda fighters causing civil disruption by fomenting sectarian violence and killing civilians, but on a more prosaic but practical side, al Qaeda is bad for business. "All of the sheiks up there are businessmen," Petraeus said. "They are entrepreneurial and involved in scores of different businesses. The presence of the foreign fighters is hitting them hard in the pocketbook and they are tired of it."
There is an election next year, and although public sentiment is not behind this administration's war policy, there is reluctance by the mindful middle to blindly turn over the reigns of national security to the Democratic Party. If the Right can finally show some common sense, their dismal prospects of success at the 2008 ballot boxes may be recovering.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Message

Sen. Amy Klobuchar's Memorial Day message:
“Minnesota is a state where we wrap our arms around the people who serve and sacrifice for us – and we wrap our arms around their families, too.

“Every day, we have an obligation to honor our soldiers and their families by giving them the respect and appreciation they have earned – both those who came home and those who did not.

“Today is a special day of remembrance for all of us as Americans.

“We remember our brave soldiers. From the ridges of Gettysburg, to the beaches of Normandy, to the jungles of Vietnam, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the sands of Iraq, our men and women in uniform have served our nation with honor and courage.

“At his Second Inaugural, President Lincoln reminded the American people that, in war, we must strive ‘to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.’

“Today, on this Memorial Day, Americans are again called to bind up our nation’s wounds and to care for those who have borne the battle, as well as their families who have shouldered their own sacrifice.

“We must embrace this solemn obligation by honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and by honoring our returning soldiers and their families by giving them the care and help that they deserve.”
My personal remembrances were posted in May 2004, recognizing my ancestors contributions, and honoring those who never made it home.

Thank a Vet today, and honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to make our lives just a little bit better!


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Nasty Trojan loose in the building. Didn't get home from work till 9:00pm last night and back at it at 6:30am. Of course, the Macs in the building are unaffected. Best form of viral control is buy a Mac.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It's Official; Gov. Bill Is In!

Although a mere formality, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson made it official yesterday:
LOS ANGELES, May 21 -- New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson established another landmark in the 2008 campaign Monday, becoming the first Hispanic Democrat to seek the presidency of the United States.

Richardson, 59, the son of a Mexican mother and half-Mexican father, made his candidacy official at a crowded news conference in the same downtown Los Angeles hotel in which John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic nomination in 1960. Richardson emphasized his Hispanic heritage, his extensive diplomatic and political experience, and his depth of knowledge on issues, particularly foreign policy.
And he is sounding more presidential each day:
"This nation needs a leader with a proven track record and an ability to bring people together to tackle our problems here at home and abroad," Richardson said, speaking from a podium in a Millennium Biltmore Hotel ballroom packed with supporters. "I am that person -- not because I say so, but because of what I have done."
"What I have done", is something some of the other candidates can't say with the same conviction. Where the Governor may not have the unlimited financial chest, or popularity in the polls, he does have a presidential resumé that is the most solid of all candidates on both sides of the aisle. Once the electorate begins to realize that, we just may have another Gov. Bill coming out of nowhere to reside in the White House.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Two Peas

Mitch whines in a post entitled Faint Damnation:
Getting called “the worst president in history” by The Worst President In History?

When one resorts to a series of put downs, it does seem to crumble whatever arguments they had. Let's See how many we can count, Goofytooth, Phumphered and droned, actively connived, morally repugnant scumbag, incompetence and sheer horror.

I am not going to argue about presidential rankings, but there is one thing that is clear to me. With the failures of this presidency snowballing, PaPa Bush is looking pretty good right now, and President Carter will have someone to look down on.

I don't know who the worst President ever is, but I know who isn't on the list anymore, Carter and Bush I. How long President GW remains on the list is up to how history treats him. Then I can take Mitch's cue and call him a bunch of names. But I won't resort to that. Not my style.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Clone Boy

My youngest is 14 today. You saw a glimpse of him horsing around with his brother a couple days ago in this picture:

He's a little taller now, smarter, lippier, but always manages to put a smile on our face.

I'd be lying if I said I wish they would stop growing. I am all but counting the days to empty nest land. But seeing my 'baby' passing me on the growth chart is something I could have waited another year or two for.

Happy Birthday, Son!! Make me proud!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jumping the Gun

Reports on a gaming forum leaked an addition to the latest version of Halo, and a Cheneymania medal for Shotgun proficiency:
Calmers heads have since prevailed and the award was renamed ShotGun Mania and than Open Season. With any luck it will go full circle back to Cheney. *grin*


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Farewell, Falwell

via CNN:
The Rev. Jerry Falwell has died, a Liberty University executive said Tuesday. He was 73. Earlier today, Ron Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell's Liberty University, had said Falwell was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but said Falwell had "a history of heart challenges."
The Reverend always seemed to find himself immersed in some controversy, but I have to believe there is good in all people, and that he was only promoting that which he felt was best for his congregation and followers.


Happy Birthday, Marine!

My Son, Tom, is 21 today. Latest word is he started celebrating as soon as the clock struck midnight. I hope to talk to him later today, if he ever wakes up *laughing*

Tom is currently in Miramar training for his next mission. If I find out more details, I will share.

Proud Daddy Flash

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Tube

Following the lead of a variety of other organizations, both public and private sector, the Defense Departments blocks YouTube and MySpace:
DENVER -- Soldiers serving overseas will lose some of their online links to friends and loved ones back home under a Department of Defense policy that a high-ranking Army official said would take effect Monday.

The Defense Department will begin blocking access "worldwide" to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites on its computers and networks, according to a memo sent Friday by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander.

The policy is being implemented to protect information and reduce drag on the department's networks, according to Bell.

"This recreational traffic impacts our official DoD network and bandwidth ability, while posing a significant operational security challenge," the memo said.
This is a double edge sword. Where I understands the bandwidth issue, which is why St. Paul Schools has blocked YouTube specifically, I can appreciate the need or desire for soldiers overseas to use these sites to communicate with their friends and loved ones. As tours get automatically extended, you would think that these brave young men and women would be provided with appropriate options to stay in touch.
If the restrictions are intended to prevent soldiers from giving or receiving bad news, they could also prevent them from providing positive reports from the field, said Noah Shachtman, who runs a national security blog for Wired Magazine.

"This is as much an information war as it is bombs and bullets," he said. "And they are muzzling their best voices."
So what might look good on paper, may turn out to be stifling some of our better informational outlets.

Lets see what happens on this one.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers' Day

I fine Mothers day tribute at Green Tea MN. It is a portion of a Eulogy given at a Mother's funeral.
Today is the age of Angels.
All over the world there is becoming a magical
awakening to the fact, there really are angels

Those of you that knew Gladys were witness to that fact. I think of her as the littlest angel, the wittiest one, the busiest, the one who giggles the most, the one who is the most fun to be around. She was young at Heart.

(skipping personal things)

This Angel left us many gifts. She left her children and grandchildren the gift of a great sense of humor, a warm acceptance of all people no matter what color or creed.
She left all of us the gift of friendship. This earth angel, the littlest angel has only passed on and she is waiting for us. I believe she is saying:

"Live life to the fullest and you will find that the greatest gift is our relationship with others."
Have a great Mothers' Day. I'll be sneaking out to my Mom's later this afternoon. You all should too!


Friday, May 11, 2007

Fish Wrap Factory

The Cucking Stool was 'Spot' on in their analysis of the Grim Ridder. The pup commented on the recent employee purge at Fish Wrap Factory, West side of the river (© Dan Cole):
It is starting to look like the Grim Ridder not only wants to kill the body of the Star Tribune newspaper, he wants to steal its soul, too. Two experienced newspapermen identified as progressives—by the spittle-flecked boys at Powerline, anyway—will be leaving the paper. Both have long been on the head-hunting list of local conservative bloggers.
Spot is fun to read, so go check it out.

I am more concerned about losing 'Websearch', one of Randy Salas' must read offerings. At this rate, there won't be much left except the comics and box scores, and I can get them online.


Happy Birthday!

Today, Minnesota turns 149 and begins the year long Sesquicentennial celebration.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Longest Tour

The First Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division just may hold the longevity badge for deployment in Iraq:
A National Guard that includes more than 2,000 Minnesotans could become the longest-serving National Guard unit in the Iraq war.

The Commander of the First Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division says his troops could remain in Iraq until August 1. That would result in a 22-month tour for the unit.

The unit was due to come home in March.
I've been hawkish through this war against terror, but I am becoming more and more frustrated with how the war is being navigated, and how the troops are being worn thin. This has to call into question our readiness at home and abroad.

The President has said he will turn over security of Iraq to the Iraqi people in November. I plan on holding him to that and then I expect to see a redeployment plan. More and more war proponents are expecting to see a change soon. I am becoming one of those who may expect something sooner, rather than later.


Monday, May 07, 2007

How Low Can He Go!

via Newsweek:
It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir.33
And how does the President's low approvals effect the Republican nominee:
Obama beats the leading Republicans by larger margins than any other Democrat: besting Giuliani 50 to 43 percent, among registered voters; beating McCain 52 to 39 percent, and defeating Romney 58 percent to 29 percent.

Like Obama, Edwards defeats the Republicans by larger margins than Clinton does: the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee outdistances Giuliani by six points, McCain by 10 and Romney by 37, the largest lead in any of the head-to-head matchups. Meanwhile, Sen. Clinton wins 49 percent to 46 percent against Giuliani, well within the poll’s margin of error; 50 to 44 against McCain; and 57 to 35 against Romney.
It is just a moment in time, multiple months out from the General. But you have to be sweating it if your are anywhere to the Right of the spectrum.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Prom Night

My Senior on his Prom night. He gets a double Prom, tonight is his, tomorrow is hers.

Here is a snapshot of the fetching couple.


Expanding the SoroSphere

Another dot to connect. The Iowa Independent has launched. Yet another addition to the ever expanding SoroSphere, if you buy into that fiction. Personally, I think it is another great moment in independent journalism.


Perpetual Surge?!?

The President said in January, during his surge speech, that he would turn over the security of Iraq to the Iraqi people in November of this year. Why is it so difficult to acknowledge what should happen next?


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Godspeed, Wally!

Wally Schirra has passed:
He was the only astronaut who flew in three of the nation's pioneering space programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.

NASA selected Schirra as one of the first group of astronauts, along with Gordon Cooper, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom and Deke Slayton.

He flew on the fifth Project Mercury flight, orbiting the Earth six times on October 3, 1962, and was commander of the Gemini 6 flight, which launched December 15, 1965.

Schirra was commander of Apollo 7, the first manned flight of the Apollo spacecraft and the Saturn 1B rocket. He and crew mates Walter Cunningham and Donn Eisele successfully checked all the Apollo systems during the 11-day mission that launched October 11, 1968.
Scott Carpenter and John Glenn are the two surviving members of the original 7

From left to right, back row they are Alan Shepard, Virgil "Gus" Grissom and L. Gordon Cooper; front row, Walter Schirra, Donald "Deke" Slayton, John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.

Senate Class of 2008

The Fix douses The Hills thought that the RNC Senatorial committee is in trouble:
the history of the past two election cycles shows that the field of Senate candidates is usually not settled until late in the off-year, if not well into the actual election year.

At this time in the 2006 cycle, just three of Democrats' top-tier candidates -- Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) -- were declared candidates. Two others -- Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Jon Tester (Mont.) -- had declared by the end of May 2005. But other candidates who went on to win in '06, including Jim Webb (Va.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Claire McCaskill (Mo.), waited until late 2005 or even early 2006 before making clear that they would run.

Jump back an additional cycle to 2004, when Republicans had arguably their best recruiting class in decades. Three top-teir candidates had declared by May 2003 -- Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Richard Burr (N.C.) and Jim DeMint (S.C.). But Mel Martinez (Fla.) and John Thune (S.D.) didn't declare until January 2004, and Tom Coburn wasn't in the race until March 2004.
The point here is simply that it is WAY too early to even attempt to make any predictions. I believe both sides recognize that the Dems are in better shape. The GOP needs to take close inventory of their probable tactics going into the '08 election season, especially as it relates to their thin stable of Presidential hopefuls.
While the Left has two competent and qualified candidates at the top, two more knocking on their door, and a variety of third tier options, they are hedged pretty well. The Right can't say the same.

The fix does, however, go into some analysis of a few of the key races, state by state. Here is their take on Minnesota:
MINNESOTA: Comedian Al Franken and wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi are in the race to challenge incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). Franken has the name identification and fund raising prowess to make a serious run against Coleman, but there are concerns about how some of his past statements will play in Minnesota. Ciresi funded his own race in 2000 but lost the primary to another self-funder -- former Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.). Not a perfect situation but a good one for Democrats.
Unlike Kennedy, who really never had a chance, Coleman has been playing the moderate dance well enough to remain competitive. As much as those on the Left despise him, the Senator has done just enough to remain in relatively good favor with the MN Moderate electorate. This race is Coleman's to loose. However, that might be one of the very few brights spots for the National Republicans. As you look at the seats that are up, it still looks like the Dems are set for some more gains.



via the STRIB:
Why listen to music on an iPod when you can download notes or dictation into it, pretend you're listening to music and cheat on a final exam?
Actually, it is an interesting article pointing at the reality that is time. These students tend to spend more time and effort getting out of something then they would spend if they jsut did it the correct and honorable way.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Al-Masri's Dead?!?

via WaPo:
Tuesday, May 1, 2007; 7:10 AM

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi officials have received reports that the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq was killed by Sunni tribesmen, but the chief government spokesman said Tuesday the information has not been confirmed.

The statement by spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh followed a welter of reports from other Iraqi officials that Abu Ayyub al-Masri had been killed. Iraqi officials have released similar reports in the past, only to acknowledge later they were inaccurate.

U.S. officials said they could not confirm the reported death.
On one hand, they are probably a dozen of his type waiting in line to assume his role. But as we pick on each and everyone of these criminals, their talent pool is dwindling!