Wednesday, June 26, 2002

The Cynicism of the Left

Excellent piece by Dennis Prager on the reasons that the left hates Israel despite the values that Leftists claim to support.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

They Say These Jobs Are Going Boys...

Sad news today that the Minnesota Brewing Company is being closed and will not likely be reopened in the future. The old plant in St. Paul which once brewed Schmidt had been producing the Grain Belt line which was its top seller. They also did contract work for a number of other beverages including Mike's Hard Lemonade.

According to the Strib story Summit or Schell's might be interested in picking up Grain Belt Premium if the price is right. It would be a shame if the rich historical name of Grain Belt would disappear from the local scene. If you have a chance tonight hoist a Premo or two in honor of the fallen brewery.

Friday, June 21, 2002

One For All the Ages

We saw Semisonic last night at First Avenue. Good show nearly ruined by the fact that it was all bleepin' ages. Why? The show was sold out and I have no doubt that there was no need for it to be all ages to achieve the sellout. So we had two choices.

1. Stay up where you can buy booze and drink with people lined up three deep at the rail.

2. Go down on the floor to see the show and feel like you're part of the crowd.

We chose the second and ended up in a decent spot with a good view. BUT... no drinking. Something just not right about seeing a band with no beer in hand. Ben went to the bathroom and stopped off at the bar for a quick shot but that's hardly the ideal way to combine booze and music. Lame as hell.

Plus doors were at six, opening band at seven, and Semi at eight. Why so early? Cause' they gotta have "Salsa Night" or some other kind of dance crap afterward. Again lame.

National Hand Holding League?

Report from that the NHL is going to install "safety nets" at all arenas next year following the death of that kid in Columbus.

All I gotta say is that this idea originated in Europe which says just about enough for me. Why don't we just enclose the entire playing surface in a Plexiglas bubble so that there is no chance that a puck could ever enter the crowd? Wouldn't that be even safer? What about the childrens? Maybe all spectators should be required to wear helmets as well. It is indeed a sad day when the NHL starts kowtowing to the safety nazis.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

The Real Life of Riley

Riley and the Gran Pa are the only things that keep me reading the Boondocks. The politics of the creator are atrocious and often insulting but I do enjoy it when he takes a crack at the Dems by calling them wussies. I try to laugh at the ridiculousness of most of it rather than taking it too seriously. It is a comic strip after all and sometimes you need to put the political persuasions of the artist aside and just enjoy the art. If I had to sit down and discuss politics with Michael Stipe I'd probably have my arms wrapped around his scrawny neck in a matter of seconds but I can still appreciate the music of REM.

Riley actually likes the NRA since they favor letting everyone have guns(at least according to McGruder) which he's all for. The eyebrows are his distinguishing feature which really gives me that punk ass look. His abject laziness and the lengths to which he will go to avoid effort is beautiful. Plus his desires for instant gratification without earning it are all too real in many childrens of today.

Yesterday, I was blading (new Salomon's, soft boot, ABEC 5 bearings) on a trail that runs parallel to Lake Street. It stops just past 35W and to get to the end you go through a few questionable areas. A gaggle of youths who share Riley's demographic were on the trail hangin' with their bikes blocking most of it. As a sped past I resisted the urge to throw a forearm shiver into the one closet to me sending a message about proper trail etiquette.

On my return past the same group one of them asked "Can I have your skates?". This time I resisted the urge to stop in my tracks and deliver a lecture about earning things. You see I am 33 and have been working some kind of job or another for damn near twenty years(Yes, working for Dad was a job. And hardly an easy one at that.) This is probably the fourth of fifth pair of blades that I have owned and the first that I spent more that a C note on ($149 to be exact) and didn't buy on some kind of clearance . They are good quality blades and they were not cheap but they are also not the absolute top of the line. I reckon that for as much as I skate I should have some decent above average ones. But only now am I at the point where I can drop one fitty on em' and not worry about being able to pay bills before my next paycheck. Twenty years of work. Five years of college. Some damn demeaning jobs and a-hole bosses. And you want me to "give" you my skates?

F'in A!

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Moe Better Lose

News just out that current Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura is not seeking reelection next November. This narrows the field to Democrat Roger Moe and recently endorsed Republican Tim Pawlenty.

Roger "Trying To Figure Out New Ways to Take" Moe "Of Your Money" is possibly a worse candidate than Skip Humphrey was back in 98'. He has no personality and is the embodiment of a career politician. Pawlenty will roast him in any debates and unless something shocking occurs such as Tim Penny entering the race as an Independent I think we will have a Republican governor come November.

Ya gotta love Jesse's timing. The day after media reports come out detailing the abuse of the governor's mansion that Jesse's son allegedly perpetrated he chooses to announce that he won't run but says he is confident that he would have won had he run. A can't lose proposition. He distracts the attention from "partygate" as I'm sure some creatively challenged local media member will soon dub it while bowing out unbeaten. I think he may have read the tea leaves and seen that after four years his act has worn thin with many residents of Minnesota and he could not handle going out as a loser.

By the way I really didn't give a damn whether Tyrell or whatever that punkass kid's name is had late night parties at the guv's mansion. What was truly outrageous is that the beret clad loser and his crowd were raiding the liquor cabinet. The taxpayer funded liquor cabinet that is. Getting loaded and puking on the rug at the governor's mansion is one thing. Doing it on my dime is quite another. Where's my liquor rebate?

Monday, June 17, 2002

maybe this world cup thing ain't so bad after all...Part II

Thanks to the US soccer squad's 2-0 victory over Mexico today I am the not all that proud winner of a team Mexico jersey. One of the guys who works at our plant in Chihuahua, Mexico talked me into a bet last Thursday when it looked like a US-Mexico showdown was likely. The winner would receive a jersey from the other team.

I'm thankful for a US victory just for the simple fact that I would have no idea where I could even pick up such an item or even if they sell em' here. He called me today quite despondent about the result. Apparently he stayed up until nearly 4:00am last night watching the game and so was exhausted as well as depressed. I hardly had the heart to tell me that for the most part the reaction here in the US to the World Cup continues to be the same. No one cares. Across Mexico people are holding their heads in their hands in damn near a state of mourning and most Americans don't even know that a game was played today. This just keeps getting better by the day. Hun you're next.

Working Harder So You Don't Have To

I spent eighteen hours at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Friday night/Saturday morning to ensure that the Republicans have a candidate for governor of Minnesota with a decent shot to get elected. The convention started at 9:00am on Friday morning and I was there by 8:30am. It concluded at around 3:30am Saturday morning shortly after the twelfth ballot when Brian Sullivan finally conceded the endorsement to Tim Pawlenty.

Being a firm Pawlenty supporter from the get go I was both happy and relieved at the outcome. Personally I found a lot to like with both candidates but I had nightmares of the Minneapolis Star Tribune attaching the pejorative "millionaire businessman" before Sullivan's name every time it appeared in print. There is a strong dose of populist wealth envy here in Minnesota that likely would have doomed Sullivan's chances to win. For some reason it is okay to be a millionaire politician if you're a DFLer like Mark Dayton (who unlike Sullivan did nothing to earn his bankroll) but if you're a Republican it can be the kiss of death. Besides Pawlenty plays hockey and is "one of us". I'll have a more detailed report on the goings on including photos shortly.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Pawlenty of Trouble?

Heading into this weekend's Minnesota state Republican Party convention I am holding out hope that my choice for governor Tim Pawlenty will still be able to pull the endorsement out. But I sense a backlash starting to brew against some of the negative attacks his campaign has launched on Brian Sullivan and that could be the factor that gives Sullivan the edge. In straw polls before the convention Sullivan holds a slim 51% to 49% lead which means it could go either way. Some Minnesotans tend to be a bit funny when it comes to the negative campaigning. They will tolerate it to a certain point and then suddenly turn against the attacker when they sense a line has been crossed and it is no longer "fair". This was probably what got Paul Wellstone elected back in 1990 when Rudy Boschwitz's letter accused him of not being a good Jew.

Maybe This World Cup Thing Ain't So Bad After All...

So long Frenchy. There is something almost poetic about the French national team being knocked out of the World Cup without even scoring a single goal while the US team only needs a tie to advance to the next round. France will now be racked with recriminations and anguish about the failure of their squad while the US will move on with almost no one here noticing or caring. We now enjoy more success than France in one of their main passions without even really trying. It is a beautiful thing.

Monday, June 10, 2002

The Islamic Fifth Column?

Today's news that an American born Islamic convert is going to be charged with aiding Al Qaeda in a plot to detonate a dirty nuke in the United States raises the specter of collaboration between native born American Muslims and the terrorist group. Last week's U.S. News & World Report (6/03/02) featured a report on the number of Americans who have volunteered for "jihad" overseas. Sobering information

Friday, June 07, 2002

Nothing Could Be Fina...

Then to cheer for Carolina. Against all my instincts that scream out against the idea of the Stanley Cup ending up in North Carolina and being as used a chaw spittoon I find myself pulling for the gritty Canes to knock off the Wings.

There is just something about that smug "Hockey Town USA" attitude of the Detroit fans that annoys the hell out of me. And that whole octopus thing is tired and played out. Every time some a-hole chucks one on the ice I get to hear Gary Thorne relate the story about the meaning behind it and how its such a tradition and blah, blah, blah. Yes, I know the frickin' history as does every other halfway knowledgeable hockey fan and I don't need to hear it any more. Besides there are now four rounds to the playoffs and you need to win sixteen games to snatch the Cup so until you can find me a sixteen legged mutant octopus (a natural product of evolution according to Mr. Burns) I suggest you use the eight legged ones for Chinese aphrodisiacs and keep them off the ice.

Add to that the the fact that after defeating Colorado it was assumed that the Wings would easily eliminate Carolina and then the debate could begin as to whether they were the greatest team ever. Let's stop this nonsense right here and now. They are not the greatest team ever and aren't even close to it. They might be the most impressive collection of players who once were stars of the game but the vast majority of Detroit's team has seen better days.

Yzerman, Hull, Chelios, Shanahan, and Robitaille are undisputedly some of the best to ever play the game and they all will probably end up in the Hall O' Fame someday. But they are also all well past their prime. Fedorov still has speed and is a tough defensive forward but I would say he too is on the downward slope of his career. Even Hasek who is currently one of the best goalies in the game is not as good as he was three to four years ago when he won the gold with the Czechs and led the Sabres to the Cup Finals. Comparing these Red Wings to the Islander teams of the early 80's, the Oilers of the mid-late 80's, or the Habs of the late 70's? As John Stossel might say, "Give me a break".

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Bipartisan Failures

With another revelation emerging almost daily about possible warnings that could have prevented the September 11th attacks the fur has been flying about who is at fault for the intelligence failure. Democrats are trying to pin it on the current Bush administration while Republicans like to point to the Clinton years and in some cases go back to the post-Watergate Church hearings as bearing responsibility for neutering our intelligence services.

In reality during the last twenty five plus years all administrations Democrat and Republican alike and the Congress as well have failed miserably to gather the proper intelligence, take the threat posed by terrorism seriously, and act to counter it and prevent future occurrences of it.

If you look back at the Iran hostage crisis what was it really but an act of state sponsored terrorism? The botched rescue operation made the US appear powerless to stop such acts and letting Iran get off almost Scot free certainly did nothing to dissuade other states from using terrorism against us.

Under the watch of Reagan, the US reaction to terrorism was a mixed bag. While we did strike at Libya for aiding terrorists who blew up a club in Germany we allowed the Syrians (with Iranian help) to support and harbor terrorist groups in Lebanon that blew up the US embassy, killed hundreds of US Marines, and brutally murdered the CIA station chief in Beirut. There was lots of tough talk from the Gipper but little action.

Bush Uno could have eliminated one of the chief supporters of world wide terrorism if he had the gumption to finish the job in Iraq and overthrow Saddam. He also allowed Libya to postpone the trial of the Libyan intelligence agents who blew up Pan Am 103 over Scotland in 1988 for years (I think they were just tried last year). Did we think these guys acted on their own?

Clinton's record again featured tough talk but little action. After the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that left nineteen US servicemen dead all trails led to the Iranians having played a major role in assisting the terrorists including providing them with critical intelligence information. Again nothing was done. Bin Laden was able to blow up the African embassies and attack the USS Cole and other than dodging a couple of odd cruise missiles was left completely untouched. I saw an interview with Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger and he explained that the Clinton administration did not want to attempt any action against Bin Laden unless it was completely assured of success. I was dumbfounded. Nothing is ever assured particularly a delicate military operation in a foreign country. But to not try when the lives of Americans are at stake is completely inexcusable.

Bush Two's administration's early days were marred by the prolonged post-election battle (quick aside: Clintonites often defend his record against terrorism by claiming that the Lewinsky scandal distracted Clinton from the business at hand and that the Republicans who strove for his impeachment are to blame. Aside from their dubious logic, if Clinton had never lied about Lewinsky the impeachment never would have happened, do you think any of these folks would accept that Gore's refusal to concede the election severely disrupted the Bush administration and possibly could have hindered their ability to prevent 9/11?) and fighting terrorism was clearly not of their early priorities. Despite a number of reports warning about the potential for a strike on American soil once again little action was taken. To GW's credit in August 2001 he did authorize the CIA to take off the gloves and approved "any and all measures" to eliminate Bin Laden. Unfortunately, by this time the hour of reckoning was already at hand. I'm not for letting the current administration off the hook by any means. Tenet and Mueller should both be asked to resign and if they refuse they should be canned. Those at the top need to accept responsibility for their agencies failings and even if 9/11 could not have been prevented it seems quite clear that both the CIA and FBI made some serious errors in judgment.

Twenty five years of failure by administrations of both parties have led us to where we are now. We need to acknowledge these failures and ensure that they are not allowed to happen again. The real war on terrorism has just begun.

Monday, June 03, 2002

Sanctions Don't Kill People, Dictators Do

Scott Laderman's and Barry Riesch's editorial
in Sunday's Minneapolis Star Tribune accuses the US and Great Britain of being responsible for the deaths of millions of Iraqi civilians since economic sanctions were imposed in 1990. They claim that Iraq is unable to feed its people, provide them clean water or health care, or even pay its teachers because of these sanctions. Here are a few facts from the US State Department that counter their arguments:

* Sanctions have never barred or limited the import of medicine to Iraq. In fact the UN has urged the Iraqis to order more basic medicines but they refused.

* There is no limit on the amount of food that Iraq can import. Baghdad has even been caught trying to export food out of Iraq all the while claiming the Iraqi people are starving.

* In northern Iraq, where the UN controls the humanitarian relief programs, child mortality rates are lower than they were before the Gulf War. In southern and central Iraq, where the Iraqi Government controls the oil for food program, mortality rates have doubled.

* Sanctions in no way limit Unitarian contributions to Iraq nor the work of NGOs(non governmental organizations). The only limitation place on such outside aid has been Saddam Hussein's refusal to allow most NGOs into the country and impede groups working within Iraq.

* Iraqi oil exports this year will reach the highest levels since 1990 and the Iraqi government is taking in billions of dollars of oil revenue which in could use aid its own people if it chose to do so.

The bottom line is that if Saddam Hussein wanted to to feed, educate, and provide health care for the Iraqi people he could despite the economic sanctions against Iraq. Instead he chooses to continue to build new palaces, pursue weapons of mass destruction, and reward acts of terrorism by paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The suffering of the Iraqi people will not be relieved with the removal of sanctions. It will only be alleviated with the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime. The sooner the better.