Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

via Cagle:

What Joe Said

Really, this non story has more to do with the National election in '08 than anything else:
The larger issue here is what the Republican machine is trying to do to the Democratic official who happens to be in charge of vote-counting and voting standards in 2008 -- namely, destroy him and the office of the Secretary of State. The GOP's pre-2006 expectation of having this office in hand was likely a big part of their 2008 firewall strategy -- if Ohio goes blue but Minnesota goes red, their presidential candidate is still okay. For the paid political operatives and state representatives pushing this story, this is crass politics at its worst.
If the sitting SoS screwed up, I'll be right there in line with the Right to condemn his actions. But there as so many scenarios involved in this case, an honest individual with even a shred of integrity would wait till the truth shakes out. Which makes it understandable why the mouthpiece of the MN-GOP couldn't wait. I mean, he does have a job to do.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Construction Begins; On Time and On Track!

Despite the strawmen being built by ScaifeNet, 35-W bridge construction is on time and on track:
After weeks of demolition and survey work, construction of the new Interstate 35W bridge is expected to begin Thursday. And while cranes are already gathering at the site, you'll need to look down, not up, to see the first step: Workers will be drilling at least 100 feet as they start work on the underground supports.
While the Scaifers blame the Dems, it is actually the MN GOP that is using another tragedy to play politics. H.R. 3869, a bill authored by Bachmann, is designed to bypass the process and create some faux fiscal urgency. However, we know even the President isn't concerned about the money release:
The Bush administration has said it supports the I-35W bridge money, and has assured state officials that emergency reconstruction funds will be made available with or without action by Congress.
As is typical with the Right, there is no controversy here, everything is on track and on schedule. In 14 months a new bridge will span across the River, and it will happen because of the bi partisan support received at the time of the tragedy, not some Right Wing political maneuver to take advantage of the tragedy for political gain. Oberstar hit it on the head:
“unbelievable political posturing; it has no relationship to reality at all.”
But reality has never been a forté of the minions at ScaifeNet.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Halloween Poll:Its in the Mask

The ever reliable Halloween Mask poll is out:
Asked about costume choices, 37 percent in an Associated Press-Ipsos survey this month chose New York Sen. Clinton, the front-runner among Democratic presidential contenders. Fourteen percent selected former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who leads Republicans in national polls.
They Right is officially afraid:
While a predictable two-thirds of Republicans picked her, she also was the choice of 18 percent of Democrats. Among members of her own party, that made her second only to Giuliani as the scariest costume.
Why wait till November, the choice is clear!


We got one!

Home safe and sound. Saw many more birds than last year, but most of them were either hens or jumped way to early. We got one, and probably should have had a couple more.

Too bad we weren't deer hunting. Saw enough of them to fill the freezer a few times over.

Till next year, or maybe another sneak down south before the season is over.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Gone Hunting!

I'm off to Iowa for the Pheasant Opener. Maybe I'll get another one of these:
Have a great weekend, and don't be afraid to use this comment thread to point my other readers to interesting screeds you find in your travels through the blogosphere!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paul Wellstone; 1944 - 2002

It's been 5 years:Green Tea has the video up sharing Sen. Paul's life. Like minded Lefties, and open minded Righties respected him, especially those of us who didn't necessarily share his ideology.

He continues to be missed.


UPDATE: GiGi makes an excellent point:
We don't want to forget the others that were on that plane. Besides Paul and Sheila Wellstone, their daughter Marcia, and three campaign aides - Mary McEvoy, Tom Lapic, and Will McLaughlin.
Bright lights that went out that awful day.
Also, pilots Michael L. Guess and Richard Conry

Pulling the Load!

This morning's Sack, via Cagle:
See Simple Math.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The McCain 2nd Wind

How long before McCain regains front runner status? As Thompson and Giuliani fight for the beauty prize, McCain wallows in Romney land. But in head to heads against Sen. Clinton, he is the leader:
(McCain) loses to her by 3.3 points. Mr. Giuliani is very close — he would lose by 4 points, which is insignificant but enough for Mr. McCain to claim bragging rights. Mr. Romney would lose to Mrs. Clinton by 10.3 points. Fred Thompson would lose by 11.7 points.
The Right is going to have to make a choice pretty soon. Do they want to win, retain their edge on the security issue, and continue to keep the Left in check by controlling the White House. Or do they want to stick to some impossible ideological vision, thereby giving up on their chance to remain in the Oval Office. Mark McKinnon, a McCain strategist, thinks voters are just parked:
Republican voters are just temporarily “parked” and have not settled on a candidate. They left Mr. McCain after the immigration debate when they thought his candidacy was no longer viable, he said. They still like and respect him and as soon as they think he’s viable again _ “which they’re doing right now,” Mr. McKinnon said _ they’ll be back.
McCain was my preference until Gov. Richardson entered the race. I still cringe at the thought of a Hillary endorsement, and short of Gov. Bill being on the under card, I struggle with a scenario where I could support her. At this point a Giuliani or McCain endorsement would draw this left leaning moderate into their camp. But frankly, I don't think the Right wants to win. They have left such a mess, both fiscally and internationally, that they may prefer a Democratic Candidate to come in and fix it. Then they would have the best of both worlds, a balanced budget through the roll back of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, and the ability to flog the Dems by proclaiming to the American people "I told you so" for the next four years. Win-Win for them.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Valerie Plame, Fair Blame

The Outed agents speaks, and clarifies/confirms that which most of us knew already. Let's cut right to the reality:
The question remains: Was she behind her husband's trip to Niger? "Fair Game" gives a nuanced answer that is largely, but not entirely, in her favor.

She says that when the vice president's office asked the CIA about the uranium allegation, a "midlevel reports officer" suggested in a hallway conversation that the agency could send Joe Wilson to investigate. The suggestion made sense because Wilson had served as an ambassador in Africa, was the top Africa expert on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration and made a previous trip to Niger at the CIA's request in 1999. She and the midlevel officer brought the idea to their boss, who liked it and asked her to send an e-mail up the chain of command. "My husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity," she wrote.

Thus, by her own account, Valerie Wilson neither came up with the idea nor approved it. But she did participate in the process and flogged her husband's credentials. When Joe Wilson learned about her e-mail years later, she says, he was "too upset to listen" to her explanations.
What is so frustrating about cases like this, and other inconsistencies in the Rights' thought process, is how much further along we could be in the debate, if they would spend less time finagling the truth, and more time working together to seek it.

Can you just imagine the firestorm if the parties were reversed. If it were a Democratic Administration, frustrated with the behavior of a 'partisan' operative, that chose to jeopardize national security in favor of purely political retaliation. Field Day.

You know, the same party that supports Rush Limbaugh's claim of "phoney soldier's" to those who don't support the administration war view unconditionally. (Yes, I've read the complete transcript, and Rush's feeble attempt at spin after the fact. He's talking plural, multiple soldiers, and clearly referencing their ideology as a group, not an individual)

I want the truth, and wherever it may lead me. I won't manipulate it on the way, to reach a favored outcome. Maybe that is the difference between me, and those with an agenda.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

FUNdraiser: The UpTake

UPDATE and bump - - -

TODAY, Saturday, The UpTake is having a little shindig to raise some bucks. Starting at 3:00PM, at the DL haunt 331 Club, fun will be had by all in an attempt to assist in putting some ching in the coffers of this upstart Video Journalistic venture. There is a snippet of them in action, here. And don't be afraid to traverse their site for some of their other endeavours, like the Critical Mass excursion.

I am not sure what my schedule holds. I have been working on Algebra all day with my youngest boy. Maybe by tomorrow I will have him caught up. (update - Chapter 2 complete, so far so good)

So if you can make it, FANTASTIC, and if you can't, there is an online donation opportunity right HERE.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

MEA Weekend?

Well, MEA is long gone, it is actually the "Education Minnesota Professional Conference"

This year's keynoter is Author Mark Victor Hansen, the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy:
Mark Victor Hansen has been a professional speaker for over 30 years. In 1990 he teamed up with Jack Canfield to write “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” the first of dozens of inspirational titles in the Chicken Soup series.

His other books include “The One Minute Millionaire” others in the “Millionaire” series. Hansen continues a prolific speaking and writing career and has made many appearances in radio, television and print media.
I recall a few years ago meeting Bob Woodward at a similar event. Not sure if I'll be going down this year.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Vice President Gore, Out!

No shock, here:
Former US Vice-President Al Gore has ruled out again making a late entry into the 2008 presidential race.

In an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK, he said he would not make a fresh bid for the White House.
Never say never, certainly, but this is pretty definitive. Now maybe those fence sitters can examine the candidtes that are actually running, and choose the best person for the job.

If they are struggling, they can find some help here and here.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Carbon Man

via Cagle:

It's Been a Year . . .

. . . since Mike's passing!

I'll be stopping at Rock for a Growler this afternoon, The Doctor is picking up the cigars. We'll meet about 6:00 at the cemetery. I don't know, what else do you do!?

I miss 'em!


Monday, October 15, 2007

Al-Qaeda Crippled?

It is difficult fighting an enemy with no defined borders, no defined uniform, no defined strategy (other than death ti infidels). and most importantly, no fear of dieing for the cause. But the War on terror has bee a slow and progressive battle. Today we get this report from WaPo:
The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.
Encouraging, certainly, but we have beheaded this organization before only to have the hydra return stronger than ever. I am not alone in this thinking:
other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.

"I think it would be premature at this point," a senior intelligence official said of a victory declaration over AQI, as the group is known. Despite recent U.S. gains, he said, AQI retains "the ability for surprise and for catastrophic attacks." Earlier periods of optimism, such as immediately following the June 2006 death of AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air raid, not only proved unfounded but were followed by expanded operations by the militant organization.
The WaPo article is very good in laying on the realities here. Some good news, but also making it clear the historical resilience of this organization, and the myopic vision of their cause. It's not enough to make me think we aren't moving closer to victory, whatever victory may be in this war.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Open House:Highland Water Tower

On the list of National Historic places is the 79 year old Highland Water Tower:
The water tower is a Highland neighborhood landmark located at the intersection of Snelling Avenue and Ford Parkway. Admission is free and open to the public. Visitors are invited to climb the 151 -step staircase inside the tower to the observation deck. The deck offers stunning views of the Highland area, the Twin Cities, and the Mississippi River, providing an excellent opportunity for photographs and a fun family outing. The tower will reopen the second weekend in October for the annual fall colors viewing.

The tower, which was designed by Clarence Wigington, was completed in 1928. Wigington, a city of Saint Paul architect from 1915 to 1949 , also designed many other important structures in the area, including the Keller Golf Course Clubhouse (1929) , the Saint Paul Public Safety Building (1929–30) , and Como Park Pavilion (1934) . The construction of the Highland Water Tower includes facings of Kasota and Bedford stone and a riveted steel-plate tank with a capacity of 200,000 gallons. The 127 -foot tower is still used today to help supply water in the Highland area. A collection of several original Highland Tower blueprints, many of which bear Wigington’s signature, will be on display inside the tower.
The Doors to the tower were open today from 9:00am - 5:00 pm. But don't fret, tomorrow is you other Fall opportunity to view the colors from above. If you have never been to the top, it is well worth the hike for the view.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Vice President Al Gore; Nobelaureate

Congratulations, Mr. Vice President!
Vice President Al Gore Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, along with a United Nations panel that monitors climate change, for their work educating the world about global warming and advocating for political action to control it.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee characterized Gore as "the single individual who has done most" to convince world governments and leaders that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and poses a grave threat.
I am not totally sold on the panic that is the Climate crisis. However, I do believe there are thing we should do to make our world a cleaner and better place to live in. Gore has been integral in getting that point across.

It has been one heck of a year for Al. An Emmy, an Oscar, and now the Nobel. Quite the trifecta!


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Coffee with Sen. Amy

I was fortunate to be amongst a small group of individuals who had an opportunity to visit with Senator Klobuchar over a Dark Roast, at Dunn Brothers, Tuesday. The Senator took a moment to list some of her accomplishments in her early portion of her term:
* Minimum wage: first increase since the 80s.
* This freshman class pushed through ethics reform
* Finally passed the 9/11 Commission recommendations
* Education reform
* Mental health parity bill: it's taken 6 years to pass this.
* Hate crimes: it's taken 5 years to pass this.
* They passed a renewable energy bill, blocking a Republican filibuster that requires 50% of all vehicles be flex-fuel by 2015. She worked to get this passed.
* They've passed legislation to better take care of vets, better fund the VA.
* They reestablished a Truman Commission to provide accountability to the money being spent in Iraq. $1 out of ever six spent in Iraq has been lost.
* She's voted for the Feingold-Reid Amendment for real timelines in Iraq. Republicans blocked it with a threat of a filibuster.
* She voted for the Webb Amendment twice.

She didn't even mention the cell phone legislation, toy legislation and pool safety legislation which are all commendable efforts. She's also been really busy with all the disasters in MN. The bridge collapse and flooding has taken up a considerable amount of her time.
It is clear why the Senator is receiving the highest approvals since Wellstone's February 2002 rating. She is sincerely concerned about what she can do to help Minnesotans first.

The Senator also was aware of the backlash from those on the Left who felt scorned by her votes on FISA and Iraq. She was not at all afraid to address those concerns head on. You'll see in the video the prosecutor in her. Sen. Klobuchar was willing to go along with this brief, 6 month, extension due to the "15,000' univestigated tips. She stated "I don't defend that deal, I didn't negotiate that deal, and I think it should have been much better". She went on to explain some of the intricacies of the legislation which made it better for us to understand her take on the issue.

She continued; "I believe it was what we needed to do at the time. We take these votes that won't make everyone happy, but people have to understand my main focus here is to balance the need for getting the information and civil liberties. And I do think there is a much better way to do that."

She did make it clear that the permanent legislation WILL have to go through the Senate Judiciary committee, unlike the temporary extension. She also stated she will not vote for an additional extension, placing the pressure on Congress and the administration to get a permanent piece of legislation in place.

This does point out the need to balance Statesmanship, getting things down, with partisanship, remaining loyal to ones ideology. Joe at MNCampaign report shares:
She gave what one might call a balanced answer: it depends on the issue. She cited the energy standards bill passed earlier this year (which raised fuel efficiency standards for the first time in many years) as an example where compromise got things done -- she would have preferred higher fuel efficiency standards, but the bill represented an important move in the right direction.
There was only four of us there, and I thank Joe Bodell of MNCR/MN Monitor for including me in this first of what hopes to be other conversations with the Senator as she traverse the delicate balance on the hill.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Bionic Bugs:
In July, however, a Harvard University team got a truly fly-like robot airborne, its synthetic wings buzzing at 120 beats per second.

"It showed that we can manufacture the articulated, high-speed structures that you need to re-create the complex wing motions that insects produce," said team leader Robert Wood.

The fly's vanishingly thin materials were machined with lasers, then folded into three-dimensional form "like a micro-origami," he said. Alternating electric fields make the wings flap. The whole thing weighs just 65 milligrams, or a little more than the plastic head of a push pin.
Most of the article talks about how it can't be done. But like Teenagers and government, if you want something done, just tell them it is impossible.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Take the Candidate Quiz

Bill on top wasn't a big surprise. Seeing Edwards hanging in there with him was.

Bill Richardson
Score: 43
Stem-Cell Research
Health Care
Social Security
Line-Item Veto
Death Penalty


John Edwards
Score: 43
Stem-Cell Research
Health Care
Social Security
Death Penalty

Line-Item Veto

My highest ranking Republican was Rudy Giuliani, scoring a 27;
Stem-Cell Research
Death Penalty

Health Care
Social Security
Line-Item Veto

You Take the Quiz!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sen Craig Loses Appeal!!

CNN is reporting that Sen. Larry Craig's bid to withdraw his guilty please has been DENIED (PDF)!


Simple Math:Iraq -vs- SCHIP

SCHIP bill vetoed by the President = $7 Billion/year over 5 year ($35 Billion)

Iraq War Cost = $100.8 Billion/year

So if I have this correct, about 7% of the 8.4 billion per month for Iraq could fully fund the recently vetoed SCHIP bill. A piece of legislation with strong bipartisan support. A needed assist to allow families to bridge the gap to full independence, without which could thrust lower and middle income households back into poverty:
The program, which provides health insurance for children from families who earn too much money to qualify for Medicaid, but not enough to afford private insurance, was created in 1997 to address the growing number of children in the United States without health insurance coverage. It currently provides coverage for over 6.6 million kids.

Health policy experts now say low and moderate income families like the Taylors will be hit the hardest if the veto stands, and individuals fear the social and financial consequences.

"Families will experience both financial and emotional burdens trying to deal with their children's health problems, with little societal support or encouragement," said Shoshanna Sofaer, professor of health care policy at Baruch College in New York.
What's that, its not a money thing. Hmmmm, couldn't be a policy issue. I mean, who wouldn't want to ensure the safety and security of our youth at least at the same priority level as defense. I mean, that would be just playing politics with peoples lives . . . . . Ooooooo, I get it now!!


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Victory Scenarios

Charlie Cook of National Journal takes the presidential race one extra step and gives his impression of what it will take for each candidate to claim the White House. Here is his take on Richardson, for example:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is not surging as dramatically as he was before, although he is still moving up. The only realistic scenario for Richardson is that either Obama or Edwards finishes ahead of Clinton in Iowa, then the Iowa victor loses in New Hampshire and Richardson manages to come in either second or third place in each. This is a very long shot, but theoretically it's possible.
and his take on Clinton:
f Clinton were to win Iowa, she would be all but unstoppable as she already is looking very strong in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries.

At this stage, the Iowa contest is a very competitive, three-way affair between Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. Clinton might be the only candidate who could lose Iowa and either New Hampshire or South Carolina and not necessarily be mortally wounded. Her rivals do not appear to have sufficient strength to survive such a blow.

However, losing all three would knock her out.
He also examines the Right:
On the GOP side, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would have to win a trifecta of the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries to put this nomination away. Romney is running strong in Iowa and in New Hampshire. He would need to win both, and then beat former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in South Carolina to show that he can beat anyone, anywhere.

This isn't to say that Romney has to win all three to win the nomination, only to score an early knockout.
Read it all, it's like peering into a crystal ball.


ATTN: Baseball Fans

Skip the STRIB, bypass SI, 'cause the best pre playoff coverage is RIGHT(NL) HERE(AL), at the BotML.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Getting Better in Iraq

Good news for now:
The numbers of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians reported killed across the country last month fell to their lowest levels in more than a year, a sharp decrease in violent deaths that American military officials attribute in part to the thousands of additional soldiers who have arrived here this year.

The death toll for Iraqi civilians fell sharply in September, according to Iraqi government and U.S. military figures. One count from Iraq's Health Ministry put the monthly death toll at 827 civilians, a 48 percent drop from the total in August, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the statistics.
I had faith in the surge, and continue to support this President on the war on Terror. But now we have to prepare the Iraqi’s to take care of themselves. The President said, In January, that he would turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis in November. Is that still a goal, or a pipe dream.

I mean, with Iran:The Vengeance II just around the corner, doesn't he need to prepare to redeploy soon. Or does he have another plan to increase the troop numbers!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Republican Math

Over at SitD, 'mitch' has a problem with math:
Pawlenty is doing. Representing his constituents; the majority in Minnesota, the one that elected him and his tax-hawk platform.
Last I checked, Majority was 50% + 1, and Pawlenty was elected with only 46.69.

Of course, this is the same guy who stated, on national TV the other day:
“When in St Paul, do as the Soviets do.”

Republicans, where we don't let pesky facts get in the way of our talking points!