Monday, December 29, 2008

Ramstad for Senate

I believe the recount will be settled soon enough, and an election certificate issued to the victor. But if there is any chance MN will be short a Senator when the US Senate convenes, I feel it is imperative that our representation be complete, and that someone is occupying the seat currently held by Sen Coleman.

Now, it would make sense, I guess, to just appoint Sen. Coleman, but that brings its own set of political baggage and awkward presumptuousness. With the Governor not showing his electoral hand, be it a 3rd run for Gov, or maybe a Senate seat of his own (would he dare challenge the popular and effective Sen. Amy) he needs to tread lightly. But there is an option out there, and one that would meet with much less dissension for either side of the aisle; retiring Congressman Jim Ramstad. I not only support, but encourage this transitional option.

Discuss . . .



Great Letter:
From shoe bomber to show thrower

As the saying goes, progress is often measured in small steps. With that in mind, we are making measurable progress in the war on terror. We have moved on from apprehending the "shoe bomber" to dealing with the "show thrower." Our leaders have perfected the skill of dodging reporters' inquisitive missiles, but our president had to take this skill set to a whole new level.

The only question remaining: Was it a Nunn-Bush shoe?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Flash Fam

The picture of the homestead looks strikingly similar to last year's. The only significant change is a slightly larger flag, and the service star in the window. I sent Sgt. Tom Holiday wishes last evening, and received them in return this morning
Things out here are very bland, not much changes from day to day. Everyone is a lot more reserved today though. I think they are all thinking of their families and what this day normally means to them all. I know it makes me miss home a little more. I can't imagine what the people who have kids here are going through. Well give my brothers Hugs for me and tell the family I said hello and I love and miss all of them.
-Your son
We are about to begin the traditional gift ritual.

Last year we just huddled the gifts under the radiator, as the Christmas tree is out on the porch for all to see. But this year, we decided to convert one of our tropical trees into a festive one. And of course, the stockings were hung from the window with care: So now we sit around the tree, read Luke 2:8-14, and then share family and fun. Soon after the pasture will be laid out for grazing, and as soon after noon as possible, a little sip or two of Holiday Cheer *grin*

From my family to yours, all the best this Holiday season, and joyous New year.

Kurt 'Flash' Schiebel and Family

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Moon

With a h/t to Buhl:
On December 24th, 1968 as Apollo 8 orbited the moon the following message was broadcast back to earth.

William Anders
"We are now approaching lunar sunrise and, for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

Jim Lovell
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

Frank Borman
"And God said, Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth."
May you and yours have a blessed and wondrous Holiday experience.

Flash and family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Songs for the Night

It looks like this ole Drum Corps Vet just may have to emerge from his sabbatical a year early:
This dark and rich program will explore various moods of the night. Earle Hagen's "Harlem Nocturne" provides the thematic backdrop for the production. Additional selections will include an edgy and mysterious take on Stan Kenton's "Commencement" as well as his "Aspect." A lush rendition of "My Immortal" from Evanescence will serve as the ballad while the intense energy of Dizzy Gillespie's, "A Night in Tunisia" is sure to bring drum corps fans to their feet. The music and expressive visual program will transport our audiences through the scariness, the sadness and the playfulness of the night.
That's your pre season tease. You'll have to show up at the Open House to find out more.
The 2009 season gets under way with our Open House on January 3, 2009!

The Open House begins at 1:30 p.m. at Highland High School in St. Paul. Alumni and fans are welcome to join us at the open house (even if you don't currently plan to march).
There is more to life than politics, and for me it is Drum Corps. Rearing teenagers brought a set of challenges that have prohibited me from being on the field the last three years. The 2009 season looks like it may set up for a return to the field.

It all begins on January 3rd. You should stop by!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Break

The annual holiday respite from school. Of course, with three teenagers in the house, it isn't much of a break, especially with this weather. Fortunately, things will warm up a bit over the next day or two, so that may help down the road.

Now, the downside is, we are forced to take two weeks off, but only get one week vacation pay. Not the best time of year to get half a pay check, but we'll manage.

I'll be back later this AM if I find any good news nuggets to share.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Should Coleman Keep His Word

Senator Norm Coleman, November 5, 2008:
If you ask me what I would do, I would step back. I just think the need for the healing process is so important. The possibility of any change of this magnitude in the voting system we have is so remote, but that would be my judgment.

Here is where we are at today. Franken leads by over 250 votes. The Strib has basically factored in remaining challenges that have been withdrawn, and rewarding them based on the call of the election official at the recount table. That still put Franken ahead by almost 80 votes.

To quote Coleman, ""The possibility of any change of this magnitude in the voting system we have is so remote""

Maybe Sen. Coleman needs to take his own advice ("If you ask me what I would do, I would step back."), since it will take a mathematical miracle at this point for him to retain the Senate Seat.

Now that this process is all but over, that would be the correct thing to do. But when has Sen Coleman ever made a decision based on that!

However, I want this process to run its course, and be declared over by the Canvassing Board by an issuance of a Certificate of Election. THAT is when this process ends.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Mark 'Deep Throat' Felt, Gone!

One of the first stories I received national links off, was my Deep Throat speculation back in February 2005. At the time, John Dean wrote an Op-Ed hinting Deep Thrat was dying. Woodward and Bernstein had always said they wouldn not reveal the source until A) they had permission, or B) the informant passed. There was even talk of Ben Stein being the stooly. Speculation was rampant, I believed at the time it is L. Patrick Gray, the FBI Director. We later found out, it was Gray's right hand man, Mark Felt.

Yesterday, Mark Felt passed:
(CNN) -- W. Mark Felt, who leaked information to reporters under the moniker, "Deep Throat," about the Watergate break-in, died Thursday at the age of 95, sources told CNN.

Rob Jones, Felt's grandson, said his grandfather died at his home in Santa Rosa, California. According to published reports, Felt died of congestive heart failure.

Felt admitted in a 2005 Vanity Fair article he was the Washington Post's source for many of its 400 stories on the Watergate affair during the early 1970s. The Watergate break-in eventually led to the 1974 resignation of President Richard Nixon.

"I'm proud of everything that Deep Throat did," Felt, 92, told CNN's "Larry King Live" in 2006, his first public interview on the subject.
We always love a mystery, but we love more to have the mystery solved. Mark Felt will live on in political history. May he rest in peace!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nurse Chapel, Report to the Bridge in the Sky

Majel passed:
LOS ANGELES — Majel Barrett Roddenberry, "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry's widow who nurtured the legacy of the seminal science fiction TV series after his death, has died. She was 76.

Roddenberry died of leukemia Thursday morning at her home in Bel-Air, said Sean Rossall, a family spokesman.

At Roddenberry's side were family friends and her son, Eugene Roddenberry Jr.

Roddenberry was involved in the "Star Trek" universe for more than four decades. She played the dark-haired Number One in the original pilot but metamorphosed into the blond, miniskirted Nurse Christine Chapel in the original 1966-69 show. She had smaller roles in all five of its television successors and many of the "Star Trek" movie incarnations, although she had little involvement in the productions.

She frequently was the voice of the ship's computer, and about two weeks ago she completed the same role for the upcoming J.J. Abrams movie "Star Trek," Rossall said.

Roddenberry also helped keep the franchise alive by inspiring fans and attended a major "Star Trek" convention each year, Rossall said.
Majel appeared in just about every Star Trek incarnation. She joins Scotty, Bones, and of course her husband, the creator.


Coleman Apex Reached

At the end of yesterday's review, Coleman's pendulum has reached it's apex. With all Franken's challenged now resolved, we turn tot he over 1000 Coleman challenges.

If those ballots break the same way as Franken's challenges, that would result in an almost 500 vote differential. This virtually assures a Franken lead by the end of this phase of the process. A process that has been open, transparent, and respectful of the rule of law.

I ironically, on the STRIB ballot challenge page, once all ballots are reviewed, it shows Franken winning by as much as 275 votes.

For the first time in this entire process, I now sense I was wrong, and that it looks more and more like we will be sitting a Senator Franken come next January.

Does that mean it will be Franken's turn to claim victory and demand votes stopped being counted. No, we still have improperly rejected absentee ballots to count, and they will be Coleman's final hope.

I repeat from yesterday, I want every legally cast ballot counted and the final results certified by the canvassing board, followed by an issuance of a Certificate of Election. Whomever bears that Certificate will be my Senator, and I will be frustrated by any further legal challenges.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Break Glass

via Sack from Last month:
More culling, more frustration, more ballots closer to closure.

The Board will take a break around 1:ish for the Supreme court hearing on the absentee ballots.

I am also frustrated that some media, and the Franken Campaign are claiming Coleman wants to stop counting wrongfully rejected absentee ballots. It is my understanding that all the Coleman Camp is asking for is the Supreme Court to rule on a specific uniform standard to be used throughout the state, rather than individual county interpretations. I believe this is a fair and reasonable concern and support Coleman's efforts in this area. See, in the end, when Franken pulls ahead after the challenges are culled, those absentee ballots will be Coleman's only hope.

Bottom line, I want every legally cast ballot counted, and counted once, and the final results certified by the canvassing board, followed by an issuance of a Certificate of Election. Whomever bears that Certificate will be my Senator, and I will be frustrated by any further legal challenges.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As the Ballots Turn

The soap opera continues today. In the latest episode, the Franken Campaign makes more ground, and independent analysis shows they may be in the drivers seat come the end of the challenged ballot review:
The AP also found that of the 3,500 challenged ballots that easily could be assigned, Franken netted 200 more votes than Coleman. But Coleman has withdrawn significantly fewer ballot challenges than Franken — that is, the pool of challenges that can now be awarded to Franken is larger, and both campaigns announced Sunday that they would withdraw more challenges by Tuesday.

Of the remaining challenges, the AP found that only about 1,640 couldn't reliably be awarded to either candidate. More than 400 possible Franken votes were being held up on grounds that those voters identified their ballots through write-ins, initials, phone numbers or some other distinctive marking. At least 300 possible Coleman votes were in limbo for the same reasons.

Franken could also get a boost because a few more of his potential supporters than Coleman's were among the nearly 600 ballots that had two filled-in ovals as well as crossed-out votes, an X above or below their darkened oval, or different-size partial marks in more than one oval.
As of the deadline, yesterday, Franken had whittled his challenges below 500, as promised. The Coleman Camp claimed they would be under 1000, but missed the deadline. As of this morning, I believe the Coleman Campaign was able to get their withdrawals in, but that still leaves a 500 vote differential between the two. And the 500 vote swing could just give Franken t he eventual lead.

The irony in all this, is that the Coleman Camp has been fighting to have improperly rejected absentee ballots counted. If the AP analysis holds true, those absentee votes may be Coleman's only hope. It will be interesting to see if he changes his tune and does the flip flop dance.

All I want is all legal votes to be counted, including improperly rejected absentee ballots. And in the end, the canvassing board will issue a certificate of election. Whomever is the bearer of that piece of paper, will be my Senator. I have been firm and consistent on that pledge. We'll see if Senator Coleman is as consistent on his.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Today, We Elect a President

Four years ago I attended the Electoral ceremony. Today, I will not. Last time my mom was an elector and I had the honor of witnessing that historical event, even with the twists that went with it.

I suspect to day will be different. I;d be curious to see what the nballot looks like, to see if any changes have been made.

This year, Dave Lee is blogging as an Elector. I am sure he;ll have a reports after the ceremony.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Bailout Blues

The Senate, and to their credit it was mostly Republicans, stopped the nonsense:
NEW YORK ( -- The future of the U.S. auto industry was in doubt Friday morning after a proposal for $14 billion in federal loans died in a late night Senate vote.

The Senate voted 52-35 to bring the measure for a vote -- short of the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation. The failure followed the collapse of negotiations between Senate Democrats and Republicans seeking a compromise that both parties, as well as the companies and the United Auto Workers union, could accept.
Ford's in better shape than the other two, but they all are struggling due to poor management, bad business plans, and lack of foresight.

Not to worry, President George "I have to save my butt somehow" Bush will come to the rescue:
However, the Big Three could still wind up getting government funding. Bush officials warned wavering GOP senators earlier Thursday that if they didn't support the legislation, the White House will likely be forced to tap funds from the Wall Street bailout to lend them money, two Republican congressional officials told CNN.
There were only 87 votes cast, of the 100 Senators. Notables were Vice President Elect Biden, the vacant Illinois seat, doomed Alaska Senator Stevens, Both Massachusetts Senators Kerry and Kennedy, amongst others.

The MN Delegation canceled each other out. Sen. Coleman voting No (thank you), and Sen Klobuchar voting yes (we'll talk). The four sensible Democrats: Lincoln, Arkansas; Both Montana Senators Baucus and Tester, along with Majority Leader Reid, who I suspect voted Nay in a procedural maneuver. Lieberman sided with the majority of Democrats . . . I do not!

For all the talk of tax cuts and tax breaks for those who take the risks, than dagnabbit, they need to take their lumps when the risks they take fail. The market will sort this out far better than any government loan will.

I bought my new Chevy vehicle (Equinox) a couple months ago. If the Government wants to stimulate the economy, they should put that 14 billion in a consumer credit pool at bargain basement interest rates. Let the consumers decide who should get the money.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Was He Thinking?

Stupidity outlined:
Here's a fellow who knew he was under investigation for "pay to play" schemes, who then allegedly continued to extort campaign contributions -- and more -- without any thought that someone was actually watching.

The Illinois governor retires the stupidity trophy currently held by soon-to-be-ex-Rep. William Jefferson, who stuffed $90,000 into his freezer.
I'm not going to get into the tit for tat 'they (Republicans) do it too, meme'. Stupid is what stupid does. It knows no party or political affiliation.
The breadth of the governor's behavior -- as outlined in a 78-page criminal complaint -- reads like a caricature of dumb and crooked political behavior.
Seriously, this is in the 'you can't make this stuff up' catagory!

But we'll clean house, or 'throw him under the bus' as they say! Because that is what we do. That is one of the main differences I am seeing between this case, and the coddling we saw on the Right during Plamegate. There won't be pardon talk and blankies issued. Bluto is toast, and rightly so!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

IL Governor Accused of Dealing for Obama's Replacement

Blagojevich is in federal custody:
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is in federal custody on corruption charges, a law enforcement official said Tuesday.

Blagojevich and his chief of staff John Harris are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and solicitation of bribery, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office for the Northern District of Illinois.

Federal prosecutors say Blagojevich, Harris and others conspired to gain financial benefits in appointing President-elect Barack Obama's Senate replacement, according to the statement.
What type of evidence do the Feds have:
A 76-page FBI affidavit says the 51-year-old Democrat was intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps over the last month conspiring to sell or trade the vacant Senate seat for personal benefits for himself and his wife, Patti.

The affidavit contends Blagojevich discussed getting a substantial salary for himself at a non-profit foundation or an organization affiliated with labor unions. It also says Blagojevich talked about getting his wife placed on corporate boards where she might get $150,000 a year in director's fees.

The affidavit also quotes Blagojevich as saying "I want to make money" in one conversation.
If true, this is simply despicable. This not only continues the stereotypical take on Chicago politics, but tarnished the excellent start, and positive feelings since Obama's election.

It astounds me how those who have the most, seem to want more.


UPDATE: Complete FBI Complains with Affidavit (PDF)
Later on November 3, 2008, ROD BLAGOJEVICH spoke with Advisor A. By this time, media reports indicated that Senate Candidate 1, an advisor to the President-elect, was interested in the Senate seat if it became vacant, and was likely to be supported by the President-elect. During the call, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated, “unless I get something real good for [Senate Candidate 1], shit, I’ll just send myself, you know what I’m saying.”

ROD BLAGOJEVICH later stated, “I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. You hear what I’m saying. And if I don’t get what I want and I’m not satisfied with it, then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.” Later, ROD BLAGOJEVICH stated that the Senate seat “is a fucking valuable thing, you just don’t give it away for nothing.”
There is way too much more stupidity in this document then I have room to write.

The Missing 133, My Resolution: Part Deux

In my missing ballot resolution post from last weekend, we have this:
So if both sides acknowledge that an envelope is missing, why couldn't they just agree to use the original count from election day and close this chapter of the recount.
Yesterday, we found out this:
A decision about whether to count the precinct's votes as tallied on Election Day is likely to be made this week when the state Canvassing Board meets.

The Coleman campaign questioned suspending the search and expressed worry that the Franken campaign may have influenced a suggestion by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie that there is precedent for counting vote totals from Election Day when similar mistakes have occurred.
So looks like Team Franken is fine with it, and the Secretary of State points out their is a precedent but the Coleman Camp "expressed worry". Yeap, all is as predicted.


Monday, December 08, 2008

I'm Old, Again!

A couple years ago, I made this post:
A mortality gauge for me was the age of the players in professional sports. Morten Anderson, an NFL Kicker, happens to share my birth date:
Morten Andersen
Position: K
Height: 6' 2'' Weight: 221
Born: 8/19/1960, in Copenhagen, DEN
Today, he retired:
Andersen, 48, hangs up cleats as all-time top scorer
Associated Press
Updated: December 8, 2008, 11:33 AM ET

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Kicker Morten Andersen, the NFL's career-leading scorer, is retiring because of knee problems.

The 48-year-old Dane, who scored 2,437 points during his 25-year career, played for the Atlanta Falcons the past two seasons but wasn't able to get a contract this year. Andersen said Monday he has given up his search and his NFL career.

Morten Andersen cited old knees and lack of a contract Monday when announcing his retirement in his native Denmark.

"I realized I no longer can train in an optimal way because of my knees," Andersen told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "So I am retiring."
With that, I am officially older than every player currently active in the NFL. Another Milestone achieved.

Of course, I am not as old as long time reader, and occasional commenter, Pat Byrne, who turns 55 today. Happy Birthday, Godzilla!


Growing a Beard

One hilarious, yet true, cartoon:

I especially liked Englehart's kind words words the soon to be Commerce Secretary:
During the early part of the 2008 presidential campaign, I thought Bill Richardson was the best candidate of the bunch. He's done everything and been everywhere. Talk about experience. I was right in my assessment,

Sunday, December 07, 2008


It's been 67 years:

This aerial shot shows how vulnerable the harbor was:

The Strib shares the focus of this year's commemoration:
HONOLULU - With an eye on the immediate aftermath of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, thousands of World War II veterans and other observers are expected on Sunday to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the devastating Japanese military raid.

The theme of the event — "Pacific War Memories: The Heroic Response to Pearl Harbor" — is something of a departure from the past.

Usually, the commemoration focuses on the attack on the USS Arizona, Pearl Harbor and several other installations on Oahu. But this year's remembrance ceremony will center more on the months following the raid, said Eileen Martinez, chief of interpretation for the National Park Service.
We've had our own modern day Pearl Harbor with September 11th. May we never forget our vulnerability as we traverse the evolving global tumult.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Missing 133, My Resolution

On Election day, 2008, in Ward 3 Precinct 1, The following ballots were cast:

BARKLEY 247 12.57
COLEMAN 595 30.28
FRANKEN 1090 55.47
ALDRICH 25 1.27
WRITE-IN** 4 0.20

So if both sides acknowledge that an envelope is missing, why couldn't they just agree to use the original count from election day and close this chapter of the recount.

I reviewed the recount numbers from the surrounding precincts (CSV File). The cumulative number of ballots cast in W1P7, W2P2, W2P3, W2P4, W3P2, W3P3, W3P4 was 12,816. The total number of challenged ballots was 16. Yes, 16 out of 12,816. From what I can tell, no precinct had a differential from election night to recount, other than the challenged ballots.

Both campaigns can recognize that we can accept the election day totals of W3P1 as the definitive number for that precinct. There are many things to debate and litigate. This should not be one of them.


11/4 - - - - - - - Recount - - - - - - - Challenged by
Coleman - Franken -Coleman Franken Other Franken Coleman

W-1 P-07
277 - - - 743 - - - 275 - - 741 - 219 - - 2 - - - 2

W-2 P-02
273 - - - 1641- - - 273 - -1641 - 207 - - 0 - - - 0

W-2 P-03
434 - - - 1355- - - 433 - -1355 - 312 - - 1 - - - 2

W-2 P-04
391 - - - 673 - - - 391 - - 673 - 188 - - 0 - - - 0

W-3 P-02
315 - - -1154 - - - 314 - -1152 - 238 - - 1 - - - 2

W-3 P-03
543 - - -1742 - - - 543 - -1736 - 319 - - 0 - - - 1

W-3 P-04
295 - - -1241 - - - 292 - -1238 - 251 - - 1 - - - 4

Friday, December 05, 2008

OJ for 1000, Alex; About 6 years!

What is the minimum amount of prison time for Orenthal James Simpson on his kidnapping and burglary charges.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) -- A Las Vegas judge sentenced fallen gridiron great O.J. Simpson to at least 15 years in prison for leading an armed hotel room confrontation over sports memorabilia in 2007.

Simpson could become eligible for parole in about six years. Grimacing, his head cast down, Simpson was escorted from the courtroom in shackles.

Judge Jackie Glass said the sentence was not meant as "payback for anything else," apparently referring to Simpson's acquittal 13 years ago in the slayings of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
OJ's life has always been about putting himself in jeopardy. Now he has plenty of time to think about it!!


UPDATE: They have re-worked the math based on consecutive and concurrency and now say it is minimum 9-15:
A Las Vegas judge sentenced fallen gridiron great O.J. Simpson to at least 15 years in prison for leading an armed confrontation last year at a Las Vegas hotel room over sports memorabilia.

Simpson could become eligible for parole in about nine years. Grimacing, Simpson was escorted from the courtroom in shackles.

With 98.88 Counted; Franken WINS

Sorry, there are still ballots left. I had a GOP streak in me that required me to declare victory as soon as we were in the lead. This is where we get to say Coleman should honor his word and drop out. Remember, he said if he was in this situation, with 99.37% of the precincts reporting, he would drop out. I'm calling him on it *laughing*

From the SoS:

Nov. 4 Ballots Cast for Norm Coleman 1195885
Nov. 4 Ballots Cast for Al Franken 1200533

= = =
Recounted Data Totals Percent
RECOUNT Number for Coleman (as recounted) 1193307 41.33
RECOUNT Number for Franken (as recounted) 1197965 41.49
RECOUNT Number of All Other Ballots (as recounted) 489577 16.96
RECOUNT COLEMAN and Other Ballots Challenged By FRANKEN 3197 0.11
RECOUNT FRANKEN and Other Ballots Challenged By COLEMAN 3311 0.11

Franken +4658

Franken +10

So here is how it really works. There is much work to be done, and regardless of who comes out on top, it is important that all legally cast ballots are counted. Once that is over, and the challenges culled, a certificate of election will be awarded. THAT is who my Senator will be.


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Going Green?!?

Remember several weeks ago when the Big three automakers came to Congress 'whining for dollars' and it later turned out they flew there in their private jet:
(CNN) -- Some lawmakers lashed out at the CEOs of the Big Three auto companies Wednesday for flying private jets to Washington to request taxpayer bailout money.

"There is a delicious irony in seeing private luxury jets flying into Washington, D.C., and people coming off of them with tin cups in their hand, saying that they're going to be trimming down and streamlining their businesses," Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-New York, told the chief executive officers of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee.

"It's almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo. It kind of makes you a little bit suspicious."

He added, "couldn't you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here? It would have at least sent a message that you do get it."
After agreeing to only take a buck in salary, this time, they showed up in . . . wait for it . . . hybrid vehicles:
GM CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli all drove to Washington in fuel-efficient hybrids. And they all have agreed to cut their salaries to $1 a year if they get federal loans.

Will that be enough to convince a skeptical Congress to grant Detroit the help it needs?
Pandering much!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Gates on Obama

The President Elect is committed to a smooth transition, and a National security team with some big name holdovers. Although it seems the relationship is lukewarm at best, one of those staying on is current Defense Secretary Robert Gates:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President-elect Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates may have policy differences, but Gates said Tuesday he was "impressed" by statements Obama has already made on issues such as the Iraq War.

A day after reluctantly agreeing to remain as secretary of defense in the incoming administration, Gates, 65, said he looked forward to taking an active stance on several key issues.

"I spent a long time hoping the question would never be popped ... and then yesterday, it became a reality," Gates told reporters. "It should go without saying that I have no intention of being a caretaker secretary."
That he admits his reluctance is of no surprise, but his emphatic statement that there must be some long term arrangement is. He certainly informed the President Elect that he would not stay on as a place holder, and certainly received assurances that would not be the case.

Gates also seems supportive of Obama's redeployment plans:
Obama has called for U.S. troops to be withdrawn from Iraq within 16 months, and Gates said he does not necessarily oppose the president-elect's views.

"He also said he wanted to have a responsible drawdown, and he also said that he was prepared to listen to his commanders," Gates said. "That's exactly the position a president-elect should be in."

Gates said Obama impressed him last month when the two men met in the fire station at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. On the same day, Obama met with Bush and shortly before he met with Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I was impressed by his reaching out to Admiral Mullen, to come sit down and talk with him, and he has made clear that he wants to have a regular dialogue with the chairman and the chiefs and the commanders," he said.

Gates also said he was impressed by Michelle Obama's desire to work on behalf of military families.

"I think all of these send very positive signals to our men and women in uniform about the way the new commander-in-chief looks upon his responsibilities as commander-in-chief, but also as the person for whom all of these men and women in uniform work."
While the whiny Right wobbles like weeble dolls to grasp for relevance in this adjusted power structure, the bigger heads, and smarter members of their party continue to acknowledge what those of us who supported Obama knew all along. That he is ready, committed, and determined to correct the wrongs of the last almost 8 years.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Frying a (K)egg

It was a cool crisp late winter day, on February 29th of this year. But it is when I officially began garage season, and tapped the first keg. It was also the same day we found out about longtime 'CCO reporter Bill Carlson's passing.

Tonight I will be attempting to finish the last keg of the year. I've been milking this last one till December, to have another 11 month season. However now it is time to finish it off, and reclaim the fridge space for winter use. With the temps above freezing, now is the time.

I will still spend some time in the garage during the course of the Winter months, to enjoy a cigar now and then. But for the most part, the garage season is ending, the holidays are fast approaching, and the new year just around the corner.


Hillary Redux

I'm still somewhat confused by the pick, but there is no doubt she will be a solid Secretary of State. It is just that it seems to sidetrack any further political ambitions. Also, she has always driven the bus, not sure how good of a bus rider she will be.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Queenies Win?!?

Ya know, just when you thought this club was going to fold, they come out and play a nice solid game. If that club plays for the rest of the year, they could go deep. But that isn't the norm for Minnesota teams. So I'll just relish in this victory, and take it one week at a time.