Friday, July 30, 2004

The Left Responds

Chuck Olson from Blogumentary (who I met at the Keegan's mixer last week and found to be a genuinely nice guy) responds to my assertion that there is a dearth of good non-institutional blogs on the Left. He's compiled a list of Lefty blogs meeting his standards:

Democracy for Minnesota


Blog of the Moderate Left

Minnesota Liberal

Chris Dykstra

Minnesota Progress

Space Waitress (according to Chuck, Minnesota's best left-leaning blog last year, easily on par with the Northern Alliance.)

DFL Blog

Moderate Republican

Minnesota Politics

Let's Fight

Secret Farm

I was not aware of most of these. So that does disprove part of my theory, that these things don't exist at all, because the mainstream media already satisfies the Left's need for political expression in the public forum.

However, on the existence of "good" lefty blogs, I'm still not convinced. I've scanned through these and will need to do a more thorough read before final judgment is rendered. (And I encourage our blog readers to do the same, and let me know what you think.)

But my first reaction is incredulity. These are the best they've got? The correlatives for the Northern Alliance? The best I can say is that these may be Northern Alliance blogs in proto form. That is, everyone is, or at least writes, like they're much younger than we. High school to college age I surmise. And to quote Jonah Goldberg on youth, they are .... the bottom of the learning curve and, consequently, they try to power their way uphill with passion instead of wisdom. As Oscar Wilde observed, "In America, the young are always ready to give those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience."

If the Northern Alliance were all were writing blogs 10-20 years ago, I suspect you'd see lots of similarities in style with these. In fact, given the radical pasts of many Northern Alliance members, you might have seen the identical opinions expressed as those linked above. (Maybe that means some of these folks are Northern Alliance members of the future?)

One of the blogs mentioned by several sources as a 'must read' is something called The Game. A blog we've actually featured on Fraters Libertas. Back in February we noticed his charming take on the upcoming election with a Bush = Hitler Photoshop creation. (He appears to have since removed this post from his archives). At the time, I exchanged a few emails with the guy who runs The Game and his response was that he thought the photograph was funny, it was effective in changing people's voting behavior, and that he wasn't sure using genocide as a punch line was really all that big of a deal. And maybe for the left it isn't, since The Game is reviewed as "totally hilarious" by its blogging admirers.

I recognize the possibility that I may have blinders on with regard to our own efforts. And that maybe I'm being too hard on these folks based on political differences alone. (It's possible, though not likely). But if we really are as bad as this, I have to seriously reconsider my efforts here. And consider getting on some anti-hallucinatory medication.

Chuck reminds me of one star on the Left that deserves mention, Although it's done locally, its ambitions and subject matter are national in scope, as is its influence, I suspect. I disagree with its perspective and analysis, but its linking is comprehensive. It not only steers traffic to the most prominent left leaning news cycle commentary, it finds stories and perspectives I don't see anywhere else. It's very well done and updated every week day, proving that talent and commitment tend to breed success, no matter what your political beliefs are.

That's What Dreams Are Made Of

Brooklyn blogger Ken Wheaton discovers the invisible hand of Sammy Haggar once again manipulating the Presidential election like a puppet master:

God Bless Druge ... For making this audio available of DNC Convention Director Don Mishcer using--GASP!--the F word in reference to a lack of balloons. Holy F*CK! Is that funny or what?

But here's the million dollar question. That's Van Halen playing in the background, right? Does the DNC realize that Sammy Haggar contributed to Bush/Cheney?

The Bluffs Are Alive

With the sound of streaming. Or at least they will be tomorrow from noon until 3pm when the Northern Alliance Radio Network hosts the first annual Patriot Picnic at the picturesque Estates of Diamond Bluff. If you live in the Twin Cities area and would like to partake of an afternoon of food, fun, and free-wheeling talk radio frivolity come on down and join us. Here are directions to the Estates of Diamond Bluff. You don't want to miss this one. I hear that Hindrocket from Power Line grills up about the best damn weenie this side of Sheboygan.

If you aren't lucky enough to be able to attend the affair in person or pick up the powerful Patriot radio signal, you still can catch a piece of some of this summer's hottest action. Yes, at long last the NARN has its internet stream up and running. Simply click on this link and you'll be connected to the best talk radio show exclusively featuring a group of bloggers in the land. And for those of you pathetic losers devoted fans who just can't get enough of the NARN, you will now be able to listen to replays of all NARN broadcasts over the streaming feed in the week following the show.

That Was Just Wrong

I don't know about you all, but I was appalled that the dems would have Larry Flynt introduce John Kerry last night. For shame democrats! For shame!

Shuddup and eat your pine cone

On Monday of this week, the Star Tribune reported on "Camp Wellstone":

As the Democratic National Convention opens today in Boston, Camp Wellstone is capitalizing on the new political energy on the left. As delegates and hordes of media and lobbyists began overtaking the city Sunday, Camp Wellstone concluded its 34th camp in a downtown hotel, seeking to shape a new generation of politicians and citizen-activists.

Since the camp went national last year, nearly 4,000 people have graduated, including about 50 who, like Pulkrabek, are running for office this year. The camps often have waiting lists, as was the case in Boston.

"We weren't sure if there was going to be a huge demand or market outside of Minnesota," said Jeff Blodgett, Wellstone's former campaign manager and now the executive director of Wellstone Action, which puts on the camps. "We thought it was the right thing to do, and the right way to pay tribute to Paul, but it turns out there was a huge market for this."

Funded by:

Students pay $50 ($35 for those with low incomes) to attend the three-day training camps.

Blodgett said 15 of the camps have been underwritten by America Coming Together (ACT), a pro-Democrat group that's working to defeat President Bush in 17 battleground states. Wellstone Action received $372,500 from ACT and organized camps in several swing states, including Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Around these parts it is not uncommon to see cars sporting bumper stickers asking "What Would Wellstone Do?". The answer apparently is run Camp Wellstone:

He said the camps are not about "worshipping Wellstone," but rather advancing the model of political action that Wellstone taught and practiced.

"I also feel like this is what he would want us to do," he said.

It is impossible for me to read this story and not think of The Simpson's Kamp Krusty. Especially the Kamp Krusty song.

Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
By the shores of Big Snake Lake.
Though your swings are rusty,
We know they'll never break.

From your gleaming mess hall,
To our hallowed baseball field,
Your spic-and-span infirmary,
Where all our wounds are healed.

Hail to thee, Kamp Krusty,
Below Mount Avalanche.
We will always love Kamp Krusty,
A registered trademark of the Krusty Corporation,
All rights reserved!

And since we all know how much the Wellstone crowd loves songs, I figured I'd work up one for Camp Wellstone based on the Kamp Krusty ditty:

Hail to thee, Kamp Wellstone,
By the shores of High Tax Lake.
Though Paul's ashes are sown,
The Green Bus has no brake.

From your smoke-free co-op,
To our hallowed children's school,
We follow Paul's true mission,
One world under socialist rule.

Hail to thee, Kamp Wellstone,
Below Mount Airplane Crash.
We will always love Kamp Wellstone,
A never-ending fantasy of the Democratic Party,
Unhinged from reality!

The Rumors Of Our Defeat Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

Another Thursday night. Another trivia title successfully defended. Six in a row if I'm not mistaken. Okay, this one wasn't quite so easily defended. But defended it was. For trivia is like boxing or golf's Ryder Cup. If you wish to dethrone the champion, you must beat them outright. In the event of tie, the championship is retained by the one holding the title going in.

Last night there was a three way tie for first place. Initially it appeared that we had indeed been usurped from our rightful throne, and there was much carrying on and celebrating by those jealous of our past successes (no doubt lefties exhibiting another form of class envy). But upon further review, it was discovered that a careless error by a publican who really ought to have his eyes examined (among other things) had cheated us out of a answer that was indeed correct (Clintonesque parsing of words aside). And so we finished tied with two other worthy opponents.

We raise a glass to Charming Wonderbuns and his squad. In their first appearance at Keegan's trivia night they came very close to doing what other pretenders to the throne have only dreamed of: knocking off the vaunted Fraters trivia team. So close they could taste it they were. But the sweet chalice of victory was not to be raised to their lips last night. For the mighty Fraters team once again pulled one out.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The Ever Expanding Hewitt Empire

Hugh Hewitt reports from Boston:

He was holding forth on the perils of being a French journalist in 2004 America. I was buying my 20th small pizza--a necessity...

A necessity? Sounds like those Adjustable Waistband Dockers are going to be coming in real handy. Real soon.

Step By Step

Has the Star Tribune editorial board taken the first step on their long road to recovery? Yesterday, they opined on Sandy Berger:

Democrats immediately accused Republicans of leaking news of this long-running investigation to embarrass Democrats and to take a little publicity away from the imminent release of the 9/11 commission report. But there is no good evidence that Republicans were the leakers. Indeed, the most creative suggestion was that the information came from a Democratic source who is a rival of Berger for the post of secretary of state in a Kerry administration.

Last week, in the immediate aftermath of the first news of Berger's pilfering, the Strib editorial staff said this:

Based on a leak from the Bush administration, the news media are reporting that Samuel Berger, national security adviser for President Bill Clinton, is being investigated for removing highly classified material from a secure government reading room. Berger was using the information to prepare for his appearance before the 9/11 commission.

The investigation started last October and was referred to the FBI last January. Moreover, the FBI has yet to interview Berger, indicating the investigation remains in early stages.

So just why is this making news this particular week? Many in Washington, including such respected nonpartisan observers as David Gergen, think there is only one reason: The Bush administration is trying to detract attention from the 9/11 Commission final report, due out Thursday.

This is: 1) another instance of the White House using insider information and manipulating the media to its own political ends, and 2) an indication the administration is seriously concerned about what the final report will contain.

To those of us on the outside it's been obvious for years, and now it appears that the Strib editorialistas have finally stopped denying the truth themselves. They are nothing more than an arm of the Democratic Party.

Something tells me the next step won't be easy for the Strib, what with that whole "higher power" thing and all.

A Dear John Letter

Dear John,

After all you've been through in the past year, losing in the primaries and being unable to win reelection to your own Senate seat, I do hate to bring more uncertainty into your life; but I've noticed that since being named John Kerry's new best buddy, your Two Americas stump speech and your new commercial now include a challenge to voters that goes something like this: "If you don't think John Kerry is a leader, just ask the men who served with him in Vietnam. They'll tell you he's a leader," or words to that effect.

Well, OK, John, why don't we do just that? Let's ask them.

At a press conference in Washington this past May, an organization called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group of former sailors who served in Kerry's unit in Vietnam, presented a letter to Kerry signed by more than 200 of his former shipmates calling on him to release his military records so that the truth about his abbreviated tour of duty, his spurious wounds and his undeserved medals could be revealed to the American public. Not surprisingly, this event and this organization were totally ignored by the major media, as they continue to be to this day.

Did you catch that press conference? No? Never heard anything about these ol' boys at all huh, John? Well, listen up, Senator.

If you visit their website, or a sister site,, you'll see some choice quotes from those fellows who served with your new best buddy. From Admiral Roy Hoffmann, his former commanding officer, come such phrases and characterizations as:

"Contempt for the military and authority?."

"Arrived in country with a strong anti-Vietnam War bias and a self serving determination to build a foundation for his political future?."

"Aggressive, but vain and prone to impulsive judgment, often with disregard for specific tactical assignments?."

"A loose cannon?."

"Bugged out of Vietnam?."

and finally, "Not fit to command."

I'll bet you a Florida precinct that any good trial lawyer would consider someone of Admiral Hoffman's stature an unimpeachable witness, wouldn't you? Loose cannon? Bugged out? Not fit to command? I'm not causing you to have any second thoughts here, am I, John? Hmmm?

Now take a listen to retired Navy Captain, Charlie Plumly, who had Kerry,

"under my command for two or three specific operations before his rapid exit."

Plumly is even less charitable to your new bud than the admiral. His quotes on Kerry's service include these colorful expressions,

"Devious, self-absorbing, manipulative, disdain for authority, disruptive."

And then he gives us this little jewel,

"But the most common phrase would have been requires constant supervision."

Boy that's a comforting thing to read on the resume of the guy who wants to control the world's greatest nuclear arsenal, isn't it? Makes it a little more understandable why your buddy was willing to swallow a Republican as his number two in command, doesn't it, John? You do have to give him credit for knowing he needed a more experienced hand like McCain watching out for him. Sounds to me like what he really needs is Dick Cheney, hear me, John?

Then there's Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, now deceased, Chief of Naval Operations at the time of Kerry's service, who said,

"With Kerry's large ambitions, his career in Vietnam will haunt him if he were ever on the national stage."

Oh my, and just look at who's up there on that stage with him, bringing up that career at every opportunity. Hey, John, as a trial lawyer you've got to know some good investigators. Why don't you part with a few thou and check some of this out? I mean this could take the expression, "egg on your face" to a whole new dimension, know what I mean?

The Swiftvets website has several testimonials from others who served with your buddy and none are laudatory. On the contrary, they are replete with refutations of John Boy's claims in his book, "Tour of Duty", ranging from emotional denials of the war crimes Kerry depicts there to ridicule of his wearing that leather flight jacket on the campaign trail and claiming it brought him luck in Vietnam,

"No one wore such a jacket in 90+ heat."

You sure you want to keep bringing this guy's service record up in every speech, John? I know it's easy for someone who never served to be a little overawed, but good grief, even a weenie liberal lawyer ought to be able to figure out you don't wear leather jackets on jungle patrols, you know? And what's with this flight jacket business anyway? What was John Boy flying over there? Sure as hell wasn't a supersonic F-102 interceptor like George Bush, now was it?

But of course! Why didn't I think of it? That jacket could explain the minor nature of his award-winning wounds; kept all that nasty flak and flying lead from really hurting him instead of just breaking the skin, you know? Guess that's why he calls it his lucky jacket. But I gotta tell you, Man, speaking of breaking, I'm sitting here breaking out in a sweat just thinking about it. I mean, jungle fatigues were hot enough; but leather? With fleece lining? Whew, man, that's hardcore!

Well, I guess I am going have to admit this, John. In this regard, you're right; there are Two Americas: there's the America that believes your buddy wore a fleece lined, leather aviators jacket in the jungle; the America that will mindlessly heed your impassioned challenge to listen to the bought and paid for endorsement of the half dozen or so enlisted crewmen your buddy has shanghaied into his campaign. Then there's that other America, the one out there waiting for the media to let us hear the more than 200 voices of those who served well and honorably, both officers and enlisted, who are telling the truth about your good ol' buddy. Somehow, some way, I believe, I pray, that will happen.

And even if it doesn't, what those truth tellers are saying has relevance for you, John. Think about it; your oh-so-affectionate, backslapping partner bugged out on them and then libeled and slandered them viciously to serve his own political goals. So you might just want to consider this, Senator: if you guys lose in November there will be Two Americas all right. And you can bet your biggest contingency fee anyone Kerry can blame for costing him the goal of his life sure won't be part of his America anymore. Talk about getting a "Dear John" letter.

Think, Johnnie Boy, think. Didn't your ol' Daddy ever teach you nuthin' bout leopards and spots?

Russ Vaughn
327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Buds For Life/The Low Price Of Cool/Oh, That Dude Was Your Dad?

I golfed yesterday. Dreadful score, but had fun. The little cutie in the jean cutoffs that I should not be looking at came around to sell me beer. It was humid and I was incredibly thirsty but all they had was Bud. Not being a big fan and sounding like a fey little yupster I asked if there was anything else. "Mich Golden Lite" she said, enthusiastically. So I took the Bud and I'll just say this: while it is de rigeur to diss Bud (I do it regularly myself) anyone who says that a really cold bottle of Bud doesn't taste damn good on a hot day is full of garbage. It reminds me of a guy I know who insists that there is not one item on Friday's menu he finds palatable--not a simple cheeseburger or a chicken sandwich or an order of ribs--nope, it's all awful. And that is all garbage.

....bought two shirts at Walmart yesterday. Aren't I cool? I'm going lowbrow and proving who the coolest one of them all really is! Actually, it's more of an experiment because truth be told the shirts were pretty nice and one was ten bucks, the other seven. I want to see if the shirts are really THAT much worse than shirts that cost 30 bucks or more. The verdict is still out, but it could be a new paradigm of cheapness for me that I look forward to.

The Doubtlessette has really hipped me to the world of bargain shopping and Walmart plays a big role in that. I went around looking to see if they had a shirt that just said WALMART on it to piss off the lefties, but didn't find any. I guess the people who shop there don't share my fascination with rubbing it in the noses of the NIMBY lefties.

...I've about had it with preening dems who seem to think they have us on the run now because of Michael I Hate Myself, America and Especially the Jocks That Made Fun Of Me In High School Moore's 911 and the convention., Edwards, etc. Got an email from a friend filled with petulant, teenage lies about "Haliburton" and Bush and the house of Saud and just snapped. I wrote back personally attacking the one who sent it to him as basically a homosexual since his name was Mitchell (hey, no offense Mitch, that's an entirely different kind of name).

I said that when I think of a Mitchell I think of a spoiled Boston Brahmin kid with short trousers and one of those big multi-colored suckers like Monty Burns had as a child, chiding his nanny "Higher! Higher!" as she pushed him in the swing. I said worse, too, which was unfortunate because it turned out Mitchell was his dad, or as he put it his "Father."

No one ever said I was a nice guy.

Common Sense

Follwing is reader feedback regarding yesterday's post about the dearth of good blogs with a liberal orientation. First, this from James Phillips:

Reading your post entitled Attack of the Clones, I was struck by two salient facts.  First, I have had too much to drink tonight to truly comment intelligently.  Second, and possibly more importantly, it occurred to me that today's conservative blogs (that would be you) are the successors to the Revolutionary handbills that gave rise to such trite concepts as free speech and assembly.  So why aren't there good liberal blogs?  For the same reason King George III did not have handbills.  He already dominated the dissemination of information.
Still strikes me as odd, maybe ironic (hopefully not in the Alanis "I don't know what Ironic means" Morrissette" sense) that notwithstanding that fact that the GOP controls the Presidency, Senate and House, we still must think in terms of "revolutionary" rhetoric in order to get our message out.

Fraters Libertas as founding fathers (blogging fathers)? I like the sound of that. James Phillips should drink and email more often. Also, this from our Al Franken Show listener, Rick:

I myself would like to find some quality blogs to give myself some counter balance.  So far I have failed to find any that are sufficiently interesting and simultaneously truth-based to make it worth my time.  I don't know if this is because such blogs simply don't exist, or because my conservative nervous system simply rejects them like an incompatible organ.  Were someone like James Lileks, Mark Steyn, or Hugh Hewitt to recommend a good lefty blog,  I'd force myself to read it, just as I strap myself down to listen to Al Franken.

Death of Bookstore

Ruminator Books permanently closes this week, ending a 30 year run as a St. Paul institution of radical thought and politics. This past Sunday the Pioneer Press did its farewell feature on the store, called "Ruminator founder ready to turn a page in his life".

Given the media and Mac-Groveland interpretation of this story so far (that the failure of Ruminator represents the failure of American culture), it's gratifying to see Ruminator owner Dave Unowsky have a moment of clarity on the true nature of his problems:

Unowsky admits he made three major costly decisions. "The first was pulling the textbooks out of the store and putting them in a satellite store. The second was buying an expensive computer system I didn't have the staff to run. The third was opening a store in the Open Book building (in 2000). That was bad timing. Now, that area of Minneapolis is going to be home to the new Guthrie and lots of housing.''

It's a tale old as commerce itself. Bad business decisions and bad luck stuck him in a hole. But it turns out, even those factors didn't provide the kill shot. That came from the landlord of his property. Which greedy, unfeeling capitalist is that, you ask? None other than Kofi Annan's alma mater:

By 2002, Unowsky was out of cash, and the business went into a downward spiral. He found an anonymous investor who was willing to do whatever it took to get the store back in the black, and from January to June of this year, the store was on track to being profitable again.

But in the end, lawyers for Unowsky's investor couldn't reach agreement with Macalester, and the college withdrew from negotiations in June.

Yes, Macalester College, that bastion of socialism and free speech and free thinking (but not free tuition, annual cost = $24,902). Those heartless bastards pulled the plug, even though Unowsky was able to work out a deal in the private sector to survive. Or maybe they killed him because of that reason?

I've been a little surprised that there hasn't been more wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Ruminator's demise. I think these circumstances explain at least some of the muted reaction. Because if it was an evil, entreprenuer landowner putting the stake in Unowsky's heart, instead of the liberal's precious Macalester, I suspect there'd be sit-ins and love-ins and die-ins staged until the local government was compelled to subsidize the place.

But that doesn't mean some of the aging hippie constituency aren't still up in arms. For instance, noted local author (noted by someone, I've never heard of anyone reading her) and puffed up peahen Carol Bly was quoted last month as saying:

"If America hadn't gone totally junk culture, totally commercial, bookstores like Ruminator wouldn't have any trouble at all," Bly added. "David would have done just fine at the tail end of the 19th century. You can't sell Shakespeare to someone who comes in looking for a discount paperback copy of 'Reagan's OK, You're OK.' "

Whoops - looks like Carol didn't get the memo on this one. It wasn't our totally commercial junk culture. It was, using her words, that totally commercial, junk college on Snelling and Grand. I'd like to think somewhere tonight Unowsky is laughing at Bly and her superficial, blithering analysis. (That is, when he's not crying over the commercial implications of carrying her books like a lead weight around his neck for the past 30 years.)

Final bright spot to this dark story, Unowsky's comments on the Pioneer Press editorial board's talent for economic analysis:

"I laughed when I read a Pioneer Press editorial that said I was done in by market forces," he said. "The first superstore opened in Roseville in 1990, and by 1998 there were 22 in the Twin Cities. But our sales went up each of those years. So the problem wasn't the chain stores."

Are you listening new Pioneer Press publisher Par Ridder? A radical leftist bankrupt bookshop owner is laughing at your newspaper's ability to provide insight into economic matters. Sounds like a mandate for change to me.

Finishing What I Started

More evidence continues to pour in that the Van Halen concert last Thursday in St. Paul was not overly influenced by Democratic party politics. First, Scott writes in from Oklahoma:

Saw the mighty VH in Oklahoma City just three days ago.  Same story.  No left-leaning backdrops in the land of oil wells and JC Watts.  I too only witnessed "Carnal Knowledge" era pics from the Right Now video.  It helps to remember that Sammy Hagar was an outspoken proponent of the original Gulf War and told that leftist MTV reporter Kurt Loder that he was a Reagan Republican in a 1991 interview.

As for the show...  Dry Run kicked ass!

Well, Scott always has been a sucker for a good tambourine and ululating song. Next, Jim Styczinski has been checking the donor databases and reports:

Intrigued by the Van Halen controversy, I went to my second favorite web site, Political Money Line, and ran through the members of Van Halen. The only hit is Sammy Hagar:

7/11/2003 $2,000.00
NOVATO, CA 94948
F.W.O. INC./ENTERTAINER -[Contribution]

Finally, the irrefutable proof. Star Tribune music critic Chris Riemenschneider hated the show and the kind of people that showed up to watch it. Excerpts of his review:
Turns out, an eight-year hiatus was the best thing that ever happened to the Sammy Hagar-fronted Van Halen. It made them a little bit dumber.

Thursday's two-hour concert by the '80s guitar-god band at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center was such a macho, fist-pumping, nostalgia-riding affair, it mooted all the endless debate over how Hagar compares to original VH singer David Lee Roth. The 14,722 fans on hand were excited enough -- and in many cases, intoxicated enough -- to be happy with either version of the California-reared group.

The fun almost seemed forced in parts. Once feuding, the band mates did so many bear-hugs, hiney-kicks and hand-holding gestures, their beefier, ball cap-wearing fans could've feared something less than manly was going on.

When a reporter resorts to whiny, gratuitous stereotyping like this, you know it offended his liberal sensibilities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Attack of the Clones

Many people wonder why there aren't any good local blogs from the Left. By that I mean smart, well written, and regularly updated blogs featuring commentary on politics and culture in general. Any examination of the local scene will show, by far, the weight of quality amateur Internet editorializing on these subjects falls on the Right.

I think the primary reason for this disparity is that the mainstream media already adequatley presents the perspective of the Left on these matters, every single day, over and over again. Numerous media outlets employing hundreds of professional, highly educated journalists to articulate their exact feelings on politics and life. So, there is no motivation for amateurs to take up the cause.

On the other hand, conservatives who have come of age in this town over the past 15-20 years have been universally frustrated by the monopoly on news coverage enjoyed by the Left. And pre-Internet, there was no efficient means of countering the biased media. You read what they wrote, complained about it to your friends and family, wrote letters to the editor which may or may not be published, and in the end, you had to helplessly live with it.

But, with the advent of the Internet came the potential to counter the mainstream media and to have the chance to share these unedited and unfiltered views with a mass audience (whether that's 50 people or 50,000). My original blogging impulses were exclusively motivated by being fed up with the absolute nonsense that regularly goes on within the news coverage of both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, to say nothing of the "hopelessly imbalanced, increasingly shrill and often just simply inaccurate or incomplete information" on the editorial pages. (The latter description courtesy of Governor Tim Pawlenty.) And since no one else was doing it in the mainstream media, it seemed like a good way to invest my time. (And it still does.)

Until there is more balance evident in the mainstream media, I'd expect the serious blogosphere to continue to have a decidedly right wing tilt.

However, there is a source that continues to spawn dozen of blogs, nearly all of them liberal in orientation. Not coincidentally, that source is the mainstream media itself. Locally, there is the City Pages (the local free alternative weekly), which has its 30 or so Babelogue blogs, nearly all of which are extreme left wing in perspective. Both the Star Tribune and the Pioneer Press have started getting in the act too. From their pathetic attempts to do news cycle linking to their dating blog, all are written by liberals who also happen to be newspaper employees.

Today I ran across the latest attempt by the mainstream media to blog, the Pioneer Press's Webb Blog. It's written by their Washington correspondent,Tom Webb, and this week he's at the Democratic National Convention. Like any newspaper reporter, he's officially non-partisan, just reporting the straight facts ma'am. But never fear, he does revert to typical media form. This is his commentary today, describing the appearances of 6th District DFL candidate Patty Wetterling and Republican Senator Norm Coleman at the convention:

Wetterling spoke at the Minnesota delegation breakfast, delivering a calm and quiet speech that was decidedly low on partisan bombast. "I do believe together we can carry this forward and restore hope in our lives," she said.

The partisan blasts will today come from U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who will be roving from TV camera to TV camera to undermine the Democrats. You won't have to tune into C-SPAN to catch Norm. No matter what station you're following, he's likely to turn up.

There hasn't been a successful mainstream media sponsored blog in the Twin Cities yet. I find it hard to believe that condescending, sniffing elite Tom Webb is going to be the first. Those needing their sniffing condescension fix already read Nick Coleman.

King Kongs A Johnnie

Yesterday, when I read this piece in the Strib business section by Ronald M. Bosrock of St. John's University, which purports to show how the war has weakened the U.S. economy, I was prepared to roll up my sleeves, get out my hammer and anvil, and give it a thorough working over.

But upon further review, I realized that another member of the vaunted Northern Alliance of Blogs was much better qualified to get medieval on the article's hindquarters than I. And so I requested that King at SCSUScholars take a whack at it.

Today he delivers in a thorough and timely fashion:

Defending one's own property and people, to the contrary, is exactly the one thing for which government can and should legitimately tax and spend. Who chooses to invest in an economy that is threatened by terrorism or invasion?

The rest of his opinion is the usual laundry list of what we should and should not concentrate on, building ties. I ask, what kind of ties are built when you need to ask the permission of your neighbors to defend yourself?

He buggered off! So he has! He's skonkered!

Do you get the impression that maybe, just maybe, Vox Day is not a big Bill O'Reilly fan? He's certainly not the only one.

There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbour

Next month for old New York City she sails.

As Saint Paul has already noted, our saltiest Northern Alliance colleague, the esteemed Captain Ed has received his media credentials to attend the 2004 GOP convention in New York. He'll be representin' the Northern Alliance as a credentialed blogger. Stop by and wish Ed luck and drop a little something in his tip jar.

Best of Both Worlds

Yesterday I passed along a reader's account of the Van Halen concert in St. Paul last week, specifically regarding some perceived anti-Bush shenanigans by the band.  Today I got this conflicting account, from Steve S:

As an avid reader of Fraters, I was a bit stunned to read the piece you posted yesterday regarding the VH concert and the guy's friend who witnessed Pro-Left Bush Bashing by one of the greatest rock bands of all time.  I don't know where he got the 'shrooms he was doing, but I was at the Xcel Energy Center last Thursday, and it never happened.  During the song "Right Now," there was a video playing during the song.  Most of it was the original video shot when the 'For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge' album came out some 12 years ago.  A few pieces were new, and it included bits of soldiers and helicopters and, yes, even of Bush and Cheney.

But the message was clear to those of us drug-free and sober enough to remember:  support the troops.  That's it.  No stance left OR right.  It's incredibly disappointing that some jackrat would go purposefully looking for something like that at a concert.  It's one thing if an entertainer hangs themselves, see Pearl Jam, Dixie Chicks, etc., it's another make-up something that never happened.  Note to this Dave guy:  next time actually go to the concert and lay off the drugs/booze when you do go.  At the very least, get your facts straight from somebody that WAS there.

Whom to believe?  The third hand account yesterday or this second hand story today?  I'll let you decide, but it wouldn't surprise me if there are elements of truth in each.  Perceptions can be tricky things.  Tune in later today for the debate on whether or not the group that opened for Van Halen on Thursday was a 14 man Syrian band called Dry Run.

This whole debate does emphasize the importance of first hand observations when reporting the news.  (Becaue I trust no one's biases like I trust my own.)   Something our friend Ed Morrissey is going to be providing in late August.  That's right, Captain Ed, live from Madison Square Garden!  He's been credentialed as a blogging journalist for the Republican convention and we look forward to his reports on Captain's Quarters and on Northern Alliance Radio.  Congratulations Ed.

Irresistible Force Meets Movable Object

I didn't watch the Democratic rave last night. From the reports of the key note speeches that I've read today, it sounds like they must have had buckets of Ecstasy near the podium to fuel the lovefest. Al loves Bill. Jimmy loves everyone. Hil loves Bill. Bill loves Bill. And of course, now they all love John.

No, instead I was watching baseball. Watching your first place Minnesota Twins apply a little hurt to the White Stockings of Chicago by virtue of a 6-2 beating. A beating that was highlighted by Torii Hunter absolutely destroying White Sox catcher Jamie Burke in a collision at the plate in the eighth inning. This picture doesn't come anywhere near capturing the violence of the impact, and, to fully appreciate it, you need to hear the sound of Burke being knocked silly:

It was a beautiful thing. And after the play, Torii still had a little something left for the bitter South Side fans in Chicago:

Hunter was booed by fans after his play and jawed with a couple fans while standing in the on-deck circle in the ninth, leading to one fan being taken out of the park by security.

"Someone started talking about taking my life," Hunter said. "Don't be scared. I was hoping he would come on the field so I could whup his butt. That's a free butt-whupping."

Butt-licking in Boston or butt-whupping in Chicago? I think I made the right call.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Wak Him When It's Over

Our Al Franken listener, Rick, reports on today's antics on Air America:

No time today to dredge up material for a proper Al Franken Report.  I had dash off to meet the wife for lunch and caught only few minutes of the show on the car radio.  It was good thing too. For the segment I caught was Al Franken interviewing Garrison Kellior on the DNC Convention floor.  It was like sonic NyQuil pouring through the car speakers.  Fortunately I pulled into a parking space before collapsing asleep at the wheel.

Citizens beware, when MPR and Air America collide, there's no place for your consciousness to hide.

Is That A Pulitzer I Smell?

Breaking news has appeared on the Minneapolis Star Tribune web site (registration required).  Their top story this hour relates a distubing tale of a possible terrorism plot conducted by a number of Syrian males on a Northwest flight from Detriot to Los Angeles. 

Kudos to the Star Tribune for being right on top of this important and truly chilling story.

Moving Beyond Move On

From Joe Wierzbicki of Move America Forward !:

The Democrat National Convention is about to begin in Boston. And you can bet there will be more than a few irresponsible individuals who will be allowed to address the convention delegates (and a national television audience) with a 'bash America' message in an attempt to further undermine support for the war on terrorism.

To that end, the group "Move America Forward" (who I work with) are launching an ad blitz. Ads urging support for our troops and the war on terrorism will flood the news channels in the Boston media market, nationally on CNN and on Fox News in the Washington DC media market.

I encourage you to view these ads--and let us know what you think of them.... good, bad or otherwise.

Tit meets tat.

Stickin' With The One That Brung Ya

Tom e-mails to propose that we throw Hugh over and adopt a new talk radio host:

Linked through to Laura Ingraham's site from your post. A click on the picture of her dog got me to her photo page. The first picture is Ingraham very businesslike in the handling of a what appears to be a fine crafted over-under shotgun. She was "hunting" clays in Minnesota of all places. (So Mitch Berg and the unmarried members of Fraters may be able to find a good conservative woman at Mills Fleet Farm after all.) Contrast this with pictures of Ralphie in the outdoors...a rented sled come a cropper in a pine tree, pouting over a split lip, etc. I believe it is time to change loyalties. I'm certain Laura might make you her sports reporter and won't ask about Bartolo Colon.

While it is undoubtedly true that Laura Ingraham pursues more manly activities than Hugh, has a bigger Adam's apple, and probably would not ask silly ambush questions when we called the show, we can't bail on our man Hugh. He may well be a clumsy Dockers-wearing, athletically-challenged nerd who listens to folk music, but damnit he's OUR clumsy Dockers-wearing, athletically-challenged nerd who listens to folk music and we ain't gonna give up on him. Not without our Ralphie.

And The Beat Goes On...

The beat of musicians straying into left wing political causes that is: is co-sponsoring an album featuring powerful and political songs -- most of them unreleased until now -- from some of the best artists around. It's called the "Future Soundtrack for America."

For a donation to MoveOn PAC of $25 or more, we'll make sure you get the album before it hits the record stores. These donations will make a real impact, allowing the PAC to run ads that counter the Bush campaign's negative attacks on Kerry and present a vision for how our country ought to be.

The album features a pretty amazing line up of artists: Blink-182, Bright Eyes, David Byrne, Laura Cantrell, Clem Snide, Death Cab for Cutie, Mike Doughty, The Flaming Lips, Fountains of Wayne, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Kweller, The Long Winters, Nada Surf, OK Go, Old 97's, R.E.M., Sleater-Kinney, They Might Be Giants, Tom Waits, of The Black Eyed Peas, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all featured. In addition, the family of Elliott Smith contributed a mix of "A Distorted Reality Is Now A Necessity To Be Free," a song from Smith's as-yet-unreleased last record, and the first release of new material since his death in late 2003.

Together, the songs present a passionate rallying cry for all of us to take our country back. Mike Doughty's song "Move On" hones in on the passion that drives all of our activism, singing "I love my country so much, like an exasperating friend." Tom Waits' contribution is a heartbreaking song about a letter home from a soldier in Iraq. R.E.M. takes on Bush and the war in Iraq, and They Might Be Giants (whose John Flansburgh pulled the project together) revisit a campaign song from the Presidential campaign of 1840.

The album is a joint project between and the good folks at Music for America and Barsuk Records. MoveOn PAC has purchased a large quantity of CDs from Barsuk Records to give away to PAC contributors.

Country music's starting to sound better and better...

A Poem From Prison

It has been reported that Saddam is whiling away his time in solitary confinement writing poetry and gardening.  It seems that one of his completed works of poesy refers to his arch-enemy, George W. Bush.

By virtue of some unprecedented cooperation between the deposed dictator's jailors, the U.S. intelligence community, the American military and an Iraqi prostitute (thanks Fatma, you're the best!)  a copy of that poem, actually a Haiku, has been delivered to Fraters Libertas world headquarters.

So, without further ado, I give you...Saddam's first Haiku:

I used to fight with Bushes
Now, I must trim them

Why so many bushes...why?

Very moving words, indeed.

Discriminatory Pricing?

Phillip from Ahwatukee, Arizona passes on this letter which he submitted to the editor of the Arizona Republic (no word on whether it was published):

I have a full-spectrum flyer in my hand titled, "Gay Pride Discounts on America West."

The handbill offers a 10% discount through September 30, 2004 if I fly an America West flight to any of these "Gay & Lesbian events": Reno Pride, Southern Decadence in New Orleans, Gay Day Tampa Bay, Dallas Pride, Gay Days in Los Angeles, North Carolina Pridefest/Raleigh Pride, Halloween in San Francisco & New Orleans.

My "online source for air fare discounts" may be found at (which I'm told stands for "gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender.")

I well-up with pride over this selfless act by my "Hometown Airline."

I can't WAIT to call and claim my 10% discount to religious events like Promise Keepers, Pastors Conferences, and family weddings.

This heart-felt love for all people will certainly extend to the Red-heads of our nation, followed shortly by the height-challenged.

Oh my, I'm concerned that the Airline will grant 10% discounts to Islamic Fundamentalist Terror organizations to select training camps across our incredibly tolerant land. I'll just skip those flights, or better yet, perhaps they'll recognize even MY special interest: the "I'm Too Stinking Afraid to Fly on Little Old Peanuts" (IT'SAFLOP).

You know, it would just save us all a lot of trouble if America West would simply give us ALL the 10% discount fares. Perhaps there would be one less hometown boycott (can I say boy-cot, or isn't that PC?)

Thank you for allowing me to speak as freely as the more vocal of our country's special interest groups. I guess this IS still America. Sometimes, I'm not so sure.

Et Tu, Eddie?

Derek from Freedom Dogs provides us with another account of dissent not being crushed. This time at the Van Halen concert in St. Paul last week:

I had 3 friends attend the Van Hagar concert in St Paul on Thursday night.  I said before he went, 'Dave, let me know if they pull a stupid stunt like Ozzy or Rondstat.  It seems every one thinks they must jump on the lefty bandwagon.'

Sure enough, my friend Dave reports that on the very last song they had on the big screen a montage of flashing imagery with "Imagine Peace", pictures of war, and pictures of Bush/Ashcroft and "no more lies", "peace, not war", etc.  Yawn.  

Dave said he, along with about 50% of the audience, stopped clapping and there was very little effort to get them to come back for the predictable and planned encore.  Another pitiful member of the conformists who think they are non-conformists.

Of course, these artists have a right to say whatever they wish.  But for Van Halen to compromise the artistic integrity of "Hot for Teacher" for political posturing is profoundly disturbing.

Raging For the Machine

Last week our rock and roll correspondent, Chad O, reported his chagrin at discovering the First Avenue concert billed as "Rock for Democracy" was actually a dedicated fundraiser for the John F. Kerry campaign.

He bought his ticket before finding this out. But like a good rock and roll soldier, Chad went anyway, and files this report from the front lines:

Sorry for the delay on the review of "Rock for Democracy". Busy work week and just trying to get my thoughts together on an altogether less than spectacular evening of music are to blame.

For the most part, the people in the crowd were only paying attention to the stage when a band was playing so I'm guessing the majority of the crowd was there not because it was a fundraiser for MN DFL and John Kerry but rather because they wanted to see some music. Probably 20% were sporting a button or t-shirt espousing the typically profound thoughts of liberals. One shirt had mention of Haliburton on it, I wasn't able to catch the smaller print. One said "F*ck Coleman", (without the asterisk) ... very classy. I was going to ask her if her shirt was meant for Norm or Nick but I don't think she would have gotten the joke.
(Saint Paul's note - unless it was Laura Billings wearing that shirt. She definitely gets the joke - she's married to it).

Of the 20% in the audience for political purposes and not music, the world would have benefited if they had chosen to put their ticket money towards shampoo and/or deodorant. A little soap never hurt anyone.

The musicians in general stayed away from the political statements. I got to the show about 9pm (doors opened at 7pm) and left by 11:30 pm. The sound was horrible, whenever someone was on stage just talking, you couldn't understand a word they were saying. They had a video screen up that showed a Wellstone video. I think it may be time for them to on the whole Wellstone thing, but that's just me.

Here are two reviews of the show ... one with photos, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak stage diving.

(SP - Apparently Rybak's position is 'yes' to stage diving, but smoking is far too dangerous an activity for bars. Speaking of dangerous, Rybak may wish to heed the advice given by the reviewer next time he leaps off a stage head first: Next time you may want to flip over on your back to protect, the uh, giblets, you know.).

In the review it mentions that Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum said that "we need to vote that Bush motherf*cker out of office". (SP - and the reviewer's comments: "it felt like a relief, like laughter finally come after grief. Amen, brother Dave, Amen." Somebody dropped the MF bomb, phhhhhew, that feels better.)

What's truly unfortunate is that of all the talented bands in the Twin Cities during the 90's, Soul Asylum was the one that made it big. All in all, it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. At least none of the bands I actually enjoy said anything that would cause me to stop enjoying their music. The left can have the Honeydogs and Soul Asylum as far as I'm concerned, I never liked them anyway.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Keegan's Review

Thanks to everyone who came out the Keegan's mixer last night. The unofficial head count was about 60. And according to the approving Keegan's publican: "they all drink".

This contributed to the lively, and almost entirely nonpartisan, conversation throughout the evening. It was a great time meeting all the Minnesota bloggers, contributors, and readers in attendance. I dare say this much amateur Internet editorializing talent doesn't exist in any other region of the country. As such, it might make sense to somehow loosely formalize this affiliation for the synergistic promotional opportunities. Perhaps this is the dawning of the Minnesota Organization of Blogs (MOB)? Hmmmm.

We'll give that some thought. But for now here is a list of some of the folks I ran into last night. Some of whose blogs I've never read before, but scanning them this morning I realize there are all sorts of interesting things happening out there. (Because, remember, they all drink.)

Check 'em out. If I inadvertently left out anybody, send me an email and I'll add you to the list.

Fraters regular contributors The Warrior Princess, Man from Silver Mountain, and Jim Styczinski.

King Banaian from SCSU Scholars

Douglas Bass from Belief Seeking Understanding

Mitch Berg from Shot in the Dark

Captain Ed from Captain's Quarters

Cathy from Cathy in the Wright

DC from Brainstorming

Bob Davis from The Bob Davis Show on KSTP

Flash from Centristy

Sarah Janecek from MN Politics

Scott Johnson from Powerline

Peggy Kaplan From What If?

John LaPlante from Policy Guy

James Lileks from The Bleat

Chuck Olson from Blogumentary

Dave Polaschek from Dave's Picks

Jay Reding from Jay

Shawn Sarazin from The American Mind

Odin Soli, the erstwhile Plain Layne

Margaret and David Strom from Our House

Bill Tuomala from Rocks Off

Thorley Winston from Tacitus

Chumley Wonder Bar from Plastic Hallway

And a special thanks to Keegan's Pub, for their fine accommodations and generous hospitality.

UPDATE: The Elder adds that logo designer extraordinaire, Derek Brigham and Eric Jorde from the newly launched Freedom Dogs were also in attendance.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Oh, I always wanted to be a Teamster...So lazy and surly

Yesterday's column by Nick Coleman was a shout out to his working class brothers:

An ad hoc group of young labor activists who have been energized by studying the "Teamster Rebellion" of 1934 have organized a commemoration of a time when Minneapolis almost came apart at the seams, its class structure shattered by gunfire and carnage.

Called One Day In July: A Street Festival for the Working Class, the event will be held from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday on the site where Bloody Friday took place and will be one part block party, one part rock concert and one part consciousness-raising.

"The 1934 strike shaped everything else that happened across the country," says Kieran Knutson, a 33-year-old union member who was raised in Minneapolis but who learned the story of the Teamsters Union's origins only in recent years. He and the other organizers say they admire the militancy and the innovative tactics of the 1934 strikers, who, in the end, prevailed, turning Minneapolis into a union town.

"Our generation hasn't necessarily seen a lot of inspirational stuff from the labor movement," Knutson says. "But this story is very inspirational. And it all happened right here, in our fair city."

More information on the event is available here. Does this mean that Nick won't be joining us today at Keegan's? Saint Paul will be devastated.

SAINT PAUL ADDS: I am devasted. But in tribute to Nick Coleman's proletarian performance at the Bloody Friday Festival, we will be having a round of Bloody Mary's at precisely 7 PM. Keegan's. Be there.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The Wrath of Kahn

As reported earlier today, state Representative Phyllis Kahn was caught stealing Republican campaign literature up in New Hope. A strange story to be sure. If this act was committed by any elected official it would shocking. But this isn't some anonymous backbencher. Phyllis Kahn is a House member with 32 years tenure. She's in the DFL leadership, serving as the ranking minority member of the Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy Committee.

Among the politically sober, she is a figure of some ridicule, due to her authorship of such proposals as:

... during the 1999 term... a repeal of the state's sodomy laws. Four other state representatives withdrew their names from the Kahn-authored bill legalizing prostitution, adultery, sodomy and bestiality after facing pressure from conservative groups including the Minnesota Family Council.

And ...

Kahn has also come under fire for proposing that 12-year-olds be granted suffrage. Even members in her own party conceded that the 63-year-old DFLer stood alone on that issue.

But among the Democratic faithful in this state, especially women, she is a beloved standard bearer, an absolute hero.

And now, maybe, a future convicted criminal. Unfortunately, I doubt that will happen. Powerful and connected elites like Kahn rarely have to face the same justice doled out to the common folks. The very fact that Hennepin County District Attorney Amy Kloubechar had to recuse her entire department from the prosecution, because of her close relationship with Kahn, tells you all you need to know about her friends in high places. Sadly, I think she's destined for a slap on the wrist.

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

'Cause you won't be able to at bars in Minneapolis much longer:

There will be no smoking in bars and restaurants in the state's largest city beginning March 31.

The Minneapolis city council approved the smoking ban Friday on a 12-1 vote, culminating several months of debate in Minneapolis and several other cities around the state.

I'm pretty much at the end of my rope on this issue. But I do have one question: what the f*** is wrong with these people?!?! Seriously, with all that's going on the world today, you feel so strongly about imposing your views on other people's ability to smoke in public that you HUG EACH OTHER after your "victory"? Get a frickin' life. And stay the hell out of mine.

From The "Try A Little Harder Next Time" Files

While Googling for pictures of Catwoman for my post below, I came across the following line from a fan site dedicated to the 60's Batman TV series:

Aunt Harriet was written into the series to counter the rumors that Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were gay. The series producers felt that a female aunt would "round out" Wayne Manor.
Two guys run all over town in tight colored underwear with bright silk capes and spend an inordinate amount of time alone together in a cave with a flashy car and turn down obvious sexual advances from an incredibly hot woman in a tight black cat suit and the fact that they live with a frumpy clueless woman is supposed to round them out?

The only way Aunt Harriet could round these guys out is if she was a transvestite with a mask fetish and a gerbil farm.

Cat Got Your Tongue?

In the days of my youth I lived and died by the syndicated reruns of the 60's live action Batman series.  I remember one particular morning when I pitched a holy hell-fire fit when I discovered that my brother, too sick to go to school, would get to watch the morning reruns of the show...without me.  Mom decided that I was too hysterical to handle school but I had to spend the rest of the morning banished to my bedroom.  There was no Batman for me that day, my friends.  I was devastated.

As young as I was at the time, the whole campy, kitschy, self-parodying aspect of the show was way over my head but I do remember thinking that something was oddly intriguing about that Catwoman character (the Julie Newmar incarnation, not the Eartha Kitt one...holy hideousness!).  I wasn't able to figure out then what is so eye-poppingly obvious now what exactly that quality was.  I'll let you be the judge.  Meow indeed.

That said, there is another more subtle aspect of Newmar's Catwoman that makes her portrayal extra appealing...she was a villain.  Guys like bad girls.  I suppose even 8 year old guys do at some level.  They're exotic, dangerous and even a little scary.  Catwoman had that in spades.  Batgirl, on the other hand, did not interest me in the least.  Batman and Robin took care of the crime-fightin', dammit!  They didn't need help from some do-gooder teenage tomboy.  Besides, she took screen time away from the chick in the skin tight cat suit.

Given the history I have with this fetching feline felon, when I noticed a review of the new Catwoman movie in today's paper, I felt I owed it to myself to at least read it since the chances of me actually seeing the film are wafer thin.  Imagine my surprise upon discovering that Halle Berry's a crimefighter.  That just ain't right.  They've gone and thrown the whole bad girl image down the tubes with this thing!  I mean how can that be sexy?

Uhhhh...never mind.

Dear Senator

A reader, wishing to remain anonymous, sent in his recent correspondence with Senator Mark Dayton, regarding the debate on the marriage amendment to the Constitution.  It's an interesting look at Dayton's position on this issue, the accuracy of his preparation, and also at the nature of legislator-constituent communications.  

First, our reader sent an email to Dayton asking him to clarify his position on gay marriage.  To which he received this response, which appears to be a form letter (if only because it's entirely coherent, a marked departure from Dayton's normal style):

July 19, 2004 
Thank you for contacting me about the proposed Constitutional amendment on marriage.  I did not support the amendment, because I believe that marriage is "an institution created by God," and, thus, should be under the authority of religion. 
I am attaching a copy of the remarks I made during the Senate's recent debate on the amendment.  I spent a long time in preparation for it, including rereading The Bible's New Testament and reading the "Defense of Marriage Act."  That federal law, which was enacted in 1996, defines marriage in the United States as only between one man and one woman, and also says that no state need recognize a same-sex marriage performed elsewhere.  Thus, it has already provided marriage in the United States with the definition and protection which the amendment's supporters want. 
Please contact me again regarding this or any other matter.   My best regards. 
Mark Dayton
United States Senator

Here are the relevant excerpts of Dayton's July 13 Senate floor speech during debate on the proposed amendment (which ultimately failed to pass):

... in the entire New Testament, there is only one reference to same-sex relationships, in Chapter Two of Paul's Letter to the Romans.  Jesus Christ does not mention them even once in any of the four Gospels. Instead, His overriding instruction was to love thy neighbor as thyself.  That was his Second Great Commandment, which superseded all the rest.  Jesus also warned several times to beware of false prophets. How could they be identified? He said that they spread hate, instead of love.  
I do not understand how some religions developed their strong prejudices against gays and lesbians - prejudices which are not only unsupported by Jesus' teachings in the Bible, but which even violate his instructions to love one another, as I have loved you. To judge not, lest ye be judged.  To spread love, not hatred. Yet, the discrimination against gays and lesbians in this country has been filled with judgment and hatred. 
. . . . . .

It's a tragic day for millions of Americans who are being exploited by those politicians.  This is a hurtful, harmful, hateful debate for America.  One that will only get uglier, meaner, more divisive, and more dangerous, if it moves on to state legislatures, as the Constitutional amendment process requires.  That is why it must be stopped here and now.  That is why I will vote against this Constitutional amendment.

Our reader's response:

 July 22, 2004 
Senator Dayton: 
Thank you for your reply to my request that you take an unequivocal position on the gay marriage amendment. I understand you undertook an EXHAUSTIVE REVIEW of the New Testament to help formulate your position and support your remarks in the debate before Congress.  The support for your conclusion included the citation of Chapter 2 of Book of  Romans, in which you state the Apostle Paul refers to the only reference to same-sex marriages in the New Testament. 
Had you actually read that chapter, you would know that there is absolutely NO MENTION OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE  OR ANYTHING CLOSE TO IT in that chapter.  In fact, the most relevant passages in Romans are to Chapter 1, verses 25-32.  Have you read them?  Does that change your view? 
Your response reveals that you are truly a fraud intent on deceiving those who will not investigate the veracity of your statements.  Persons such as you cannot be trusted to be leaders of this nation. I could refute many of the points in the rest of your "debate" on the floor of the Senate, but  I choose not to do so.  There is no need.  Enough said. 
Best wishes in '06. 

I want to reiterate, this was not written by me, despite the stylistic similarities of calling Dayton a deceitful fraud who cannot be trusted in a position of power, then offering best wishes on his election in 2006.

Because If It Is Close...

You know what they will do:

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, a 32-year veteran from Minneapolis and a key figure in the DFL House caucus, was stopped by New Hope police earlier this week after a citizen complained that she was removing a Republican House member's campaign literature from doorsteps and replacing it with a DFL opponent's material.

The case has been referred to the Anoka County attorney's office for possible charges, officials said.

Kahn could not be reached for comment, but she issued a statement to local media in the northwestern suburb.

It said she "made a mistake in picking up a few pieces of (Rep.) Lynne Osterman's campaign material, which was done without direction from anyone."

On Thursday, one of Kahn's aides hand-delivered a letter to Osterman offering "apologies for picking up a few of your lit pieces." Kahn wrote that she was "interested in seeing what you were saying. I'm sure it will have little effect on your campaign but I know it was wrong and I am sorry."

No word if Kahn stuffed the literature in her pants, socks, or perhaps even a more sensitive place. Laura Billings will no doubt have complete coverage forthcoming.

Compare And Contrast

On this morning's Laura Ingraham show, I caught an interview with the woman Ted Rall has described as a "house nigga". One thing's certain: she's no Sandy Berger.

Thanks God she's no Sandy Berger.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Living La Vida Loca

Exactly where is Hugh going anyway:

More from the Ricky Mountain state tomorrow.

And what's really on his mind when he's blogging?

Hanging With The Cool Kids

This Saturday 5:00PM.

Keegan's Irish Pub & Restaurant in Minneapolis.

Everybody will be there. How about you?

It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous

Enough with the "flattery" already. Jim noticed a striking similarity between these two posts:

From today's The Kerry Spot on National Review Online posted 7/22 12:20PM:

A little bird in Republican circles points out that John Kerry was not the first choice of the celebrity guests at this year's Democratic convention.

Ben Affleck, star of "Phantoms" and "Gigli", gave $2000 to Wes Clark and $1,000 to Dennis Kucinich.

Bon Jovi, who avoids mockery because he is from New Jersey, gave $250 to Dick Gephardt.

Chevy Chase, who last got laughs in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation," gave to $2,000 each Clark and Gephardt.

All of these celebrities eventually gave money to Kerry, but only when he was well on the way to winning the nomination.

From Fraters Libertas posted 6/29 5:45PM:

Jim e-mails to observe:

While reading the New York Times article on John Kerry's recent Hollywood fundraiser, I came across this sentence in the twelfth paragraph:

"Mr. Kerry, as he is happy to tell you, has longstanding friendships with James Taylor and Carly Simon, as well as with Mr. Affleck and Matt Damon, but he lacks the cachet of Mr. Clinton in these parts."

I decided to check Neighbor Search to see how much money these wealthy and famous longtime friends donated to John Kerry. I came up with nothing for the singer James Taylor, however Carly Simon's only donation was $1500 to Howard Dean.

Ben Affleck donated $2000 to Wesley Clark and $1000 to Dennis Kucinich. Not a dime to John Kerry.

Matt Damon gave $2000 to Dennis Kucinich. Again, nothing to Kerry.

All three will no doubt donate the full $2000 to Kerry, but it is interesting that Kerry seems to have been the second or third choice of these supposed longtime friends in the Democratic primary (assuming the NY Times story is accurate -- a risky assumption, I admit).

Aren't there laws against this sort of thing? Get your legal pads ready and your pencils sharpened boys. I think we've got some briefs to file. In our briefs of course.

The Highest Form of Flattery

First it was Katherine Jean Lopez ripping off the Elder in the Corner, now Laura Billings is ripping me off in the pages of the Pioneer Press.  When are these girls going to get together, start Sorority Libertas, and drop all of this journalistic pretense once and for all!?
Today, Laura Billings continues her exploration of underwear as social commentary.  Here's an excerpt from her Q & A column with anonymous readers.  (I suspect Billings made them anonymous because she's making them up entirely, or because she has evidence the readers composed them in the underpants.): 
Q.  You mentioned that there are lots of patterns for knitting or crocheting thong panties.  Could you share what you know?  The charity knitting group at my church is always collecting interesting patterns.

A.  There are dozens of such patterns on the Internet, but I think you could create your own just as easily. Try this: CO 3 stitches, and knit in SS for approximately 10 minutes. Finish by attaching piece to chain-stitched hip girdle. That's it. Imagine how many darling stocking stuffers you could make for friends and clergy this holiday season.

That last line looks suspiciously like this commentary featured on Fraters Libertas, way back on July 2nd.  In a Q & A column of my own, I responded to the Golden Girl's inquiry about whether we actually write inside of our underwear: 
So, as his confidence increased and his skills improved, the Elder moved from withering social commentary in his underwear to blistering satirical comments in his dress shirts, then to topical limericks in his hat bands, and then finally to the Web site you know and love.

For dedicated fans of the site, I'm proud to announce that the Elder will soon be offering commemorative editions of the first issues of Fraters Libertas, in their original format. It's the perfect gift for the blog reader in your life and they make great stocking stuffers.

Underwear = stocking stuffers?  You're telling me Billings just happened to come up with that brilliant concept independently?  Come on, this is Laura Billings we're talking about.  And according to inside media sources, we know Billings (and her husband Nick Coleman) are obsessive Fraters Libertas readers.  As such, I accuse her of plagiarism and call for her immediate resignation.  And if editor Anders "Andy" Gyllenhaal is finally ready to hire the real underwear deal, I'm prepared to hear his offer. 
Incidentally, Laura had another segment devoted to underwear in today's column.  A college girl wrote in defending the wearing of thong underwear against Billings previous scolding.  Laura's response:
A. You make a strong case for evolutionary fashion theory, but I'm still with the creationists at Fruit of the Loom.  Good job using your college education to weigh in on an important issue of the day. Your mother would be proud - even if she were horrified by what you're wearing.
That's a little harsh I think.  Especially given the fact that Laura Billings has now written about underwear in FIVE columns in the past two weeks.  I wonder how proud her mother is that she's using her college education to weigh in on this subject over and over and over.  Or how proud her surrogate father figure (Nick Coleman) is?  Or how proud her editor is?  (Andy, how much more of this can you take?  Seriously, call me, I'm standing by.)

A Cold, Smoke-free Omaha

Michael e-mails with news from another nanny state:

You know, I moved away from Minneapolis for an education about five years ago, and I thought I left a lot of the over-regulating/control every aspect of my life aspect of that state behind me. But when I read your post the other day about Bloomington's (where my folks still live) new smoking ban, I couldn't believe that this is considered a new thing up there. I figured Minneapolis/St. Paul, Edina, Eden Prairie and the rest of those upscale suburban neighborhoods would have passed this sort of thing long ago. Especially since I remember in Edina you couldn't order a drink before you ordered dinner.

But I digress - the reason I'm sending this is because Lincoln, NE (about 45 minutes south of Omaha) passed a smoking ban there - in a college town nonetheless - in some sort of smoke-filled-back-room secret legislative session.

Omaha followed with public hearings a few weeks later but is yet to make any move. I can't believe that Nebraska--about as red a state as can be--is moving closer to acting along the lines of Nurse Bloomberg in NYC faster than those in Minnesota. I leave and the next thing that happens is Norm beats Walter Mondale (Walter Mondale?!) and Pawlenty gets in...maybe I should think about moving on back once I'm done with school. In the meantime, count me confused...Keep up the good work.

Resistance Is Feudal

Tim from Colorado shares my concerns about the Hewitt media saturation campaign:

I read the title of Hugh's new book, simply abbreviated as "IINCTCCCTDIEEAWYLDOI" and wondered why such a long title. Now, coupled with your observation about Hugh popping up everywhere, kind of like Jared from the Subway commercials, I think it's all part of a bigger plot by Hugh.

In fact, if you say the title of Hugh's book backwards it sounds something like "I know everything. You will become part of the California collective. Bestow upon me meaningless titles. Bring me my snowmobile."

Or something like that. Our only defense may be to wear aluminum foil skull caps so he can't tell what our real thoughts are.

I plan on ensconcing myself in tin foil. His satellites are everywhere you know.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

I Deride Your Truth-handling Abilities

The Star Tribune editorial board reacts to the Sandy Berger (mmmmm...buurr-ger) story:

Based on a leak from the Bush administration, the news media are reporting that Samuel Berger, national security adviser for President Bill Clinton, is being investigated for removing highly classified material from a secure government reading room. Berger was using the information to prepare for his appearance before the 9/11 commission.

The investigation started last October and was referred to the FBI last January. Moreover, the FBI has yet to interview Berger, indicating the investigation remains in early stages.

So just why is this making news this particular week? Many in Washington, including such respected nonpartisan observers as David Gergen, think there is only one reason: The Bush administration is trying to detract attention from the 9/11 Commission final report, due out Thursday.

This is: 1) another instance of the White House using insider information and manipulating the media to its own political ends, and 2) an indication the administration is seriously concerned about what the final report will contain.

Just for fun: How many outright misstatements of truth can you find in this piece? Distortions of the facts to fit an agenda? Conclusions based on nothing but wishful thinking?

They're melting folks. Meeelllllllting.................

Been There, Done That

Yesterday, at NRO Kathryn Jean Lopez asked:

Anyone ever sue the New York Times for "All the News that's Fit to Print"?

No, but I did propose this on Monday:

In a related story, the Northern Alliance of Blogs has announced that it is asking the FTC to order The New York Times to stop using the misleading motto "All the news that's fit to print" since the paper clearly has not lived up to that promise for some time now.

Monday. The day before Tuesday.

The Non-partisan Facade Of America Coming Together Falls Apart

Question: If you show up at a campaign appearance by Vice President Dick Cheney using the alias "Mega A. Bux", dress up as a "Billionaire For Bush", and dance around like a fool to protest the event are you:

A. A shrill political hack doing whatever is necessary to defeat President Bush

B. A non-partisan citizen activist concerned only with improving voter participation

If you answered A you are a sane, well-adjusted individual with the ability to objectively gauge reality.

If you answered B you are Meighan Stone, Minnesota Communications Director for America Coming Together, and you need to come clean. And probably take a shower as well.

From a letter to Ms. Stone or Bux or whatever the hell she's calling herself today (there is video available as well) from MN GOP Communications Director Randy Wanke:

In your letter to the St. Paul Pioneer Press on June 5, you repeatedly insisted that your organization is "non-partisan" and concerned only with improving voter participation. You have tried to reinforce that illusion through other media as well. For example, during a KARE 11 television interview earlier this month, you attempted to portray ACT as a non-partisan organization concerned only with registering new voters.

But during the Vice President's visit to Minneapolis last Saturday, we witnessed the true partisan nature of ACT when you -- or Mega A. Bux -- and several ACT activists dressed up as "Billionaires for Bush" and danced about the sidewalk in front of the Minneapolis Convention Center protesting the Vice President and the Bush Administration. Your performance on Saturday had nothing to do with educating or registering voters. As you can see by the enclosed video, which we are also sharing with the media, you were playing the role of a partisan attack dog dedicated to the defeat of President George W. Bush in the upcoming election.

In sharp contrast to your partisan attacks and protests at Republican events, ACT is working in coordination with other liberal 527s to elect Democrat candidates. As a matter of fact, when ACT shows up at Democrat and Kerry campaign events it is not there to protest. Rather it is there to register new voters and to mobilize support for John Kerry. For example, on June 12, ACT took part in a massive voter mobilization campaign that was clearly coordinated with the DFL Party's "barnstorming" activities on that same day. Those activities were also coordinated with AFL-CIO union officials.

Doesn't sound partisan at all does it? Heck no. She's just trying to inform the people, register voters, and encourage civic participation right?

This is the latest example of a trend that I've noticed of late. Liberals unwilling to be identified for what they are or who they support. What gives? If your cause is so just and your candidate so great (stifle laughter) why not come on out and say it? Shout it from the mountaintops sister.

You hate President Bush and you support John Kerry. So be it. Are you embarrassed? Ashamed? Do you think the American voter needs to be deceived in order to cast a ballot for John Kerry?

Aren't you the supposedly the party of openness (getting harder to stifle laughter) and honesty (barely able to control laughter)?

Oh, that's right. I almost forgot. You're not affiliated with a party are you? You're "non-partisan"...

[Editors Note: The Elder was unable to complete this post as he fell violently to the floor when gut wrenching spasms of laughter overcame him. He is still giggling deliriously at this time, and doctors have recommended that he be treated with two hours of the "Best of Al Franken Show" STAT in order to completely quell his laugh reflex.]

The King Of All Media...

Is Hugh Hewitt? As unlikely as that may sound, it is the almost inescapable conclusion one draws if you've been tuned into various media outlets this week. Besides his own show, which runs for three hours every day, Hugh has recently "graced" the Today Show, the Dennis Miller Show, and every local talk radio show with more than seven listeners between Key West and Kirkland, Washington. He also appeared on "Raybuse on the Right" here in the Twin Cities this past Saturday.

This afternoon I flipped on the Dennis Prager show only to discover that Hugh was shamelessly shilling his book there as well. Is there no escaping the Hewitt media bombardment? Are we on the slippery slope to networks devoted to "all Hugh, all the time"? Is this just a bad dream? Is so, somebody please wake me for I don't know how much more I can take.

Do not adjust your dial.

He controls all frequencies.


The Scandal Widens

After engaging in some Sandy Berger jokes this morning with the in-crowd at my workplace, I decided to do a visual gag with the receptionist.  Upon retrieving a large Fed Ex from the mail area, I stashed it half way down my pants and made my way toward the front desk.  (FYI--I discovered the experience to be not at all displeasing, which may be another, more base motive for Berger's actions.) 
Anyway, I walked down the hall, put on my Berger face, adjusted the package (so to speak), turned the corner, and ..... found out the receptionist was on a break and someone else was filling in.  Someone not in on the joke.  Someone who's now filing a harassment complaint against me with the EEOC.  Proving once again, sometimes prop comedy is no laughing matter.

More Than A River In Egypt

If you relied solely on the Star Tribune for your news, you probably would have been surprised to pick up today's paper and read an editorial by Joe Wilson, in which he weakly attempts to defend himself. Because you would likely have missed the recent revelations that have pretty much discredited Wilson in the eyes of most reasonable people (including the Washington Post). Stories on the Senate Intelligence Committee and Butler reports that called Wilson's veracity, and even his competence, into serious question rarely appeared in the paper; if they did they were buried deep inside it.

Now that Wilson has been exposed and the building blocks of the left's "Bush Lied!" facade are crumbling all around them, the Star Tribune editorialistas are stomping their feet, holding their breath, and pouting like spoiled four year olds.

Today's editorial, ridiculously titled Iraq, Niger/There was no uranium link is their latest temper tantrum. It offers nothing new to refute the most recent information that has emerged linking Iraq and uranium from Niger, nor does it bolster Wilson's case in any way. Instead they rehash old arguments, whine about Republicans spinning the SIC and Butler reports, seek to narrow the justification for war, and reach conclusions that are in no way borne out by the facts. They are in serious need of a time out.

Mitch has more on this at Shot In The Dark.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Who's That Girl?

Fresh off an award winning ballroom dancing performance, James Phillips, head of the Fraters Northern California Research Group, provides some background on the gal who found nothing funny in a Powerline post about Syrian musicians:

Maybe I am the only person who does not know who the humor impaired Erika Linden Green is, but just in case, is this her?

While we can't be absolutely one hundred percent certain James, I think it's safe to say that it is.

It turns out she has something in common with the NARN. They really will give anyone a radio show these days, won't they?

If the Big Trunk is interested in making amends, James has also provided us with her Amazon Wish List.

Meanwhile, Rick, in command of the Fraters Southern California Research Group, has been doing a bit of his own digging (presumably clad only in his underwear as the Fraters Dress Code requires):

Erika Linden Green ain't all bad for a nut. She belly dances and bugles across America.

Interesting combination to say the least. Let's see you try to match that Mitch. Of course, I don't literally mean "see" in this case.

My personal favorite finding is this link which explains:

When Erika is not designing, she can be found telling other people how to live their lives.

Other people like the guys at Powerline.

Blue Tuesday

Pack up the babies and grab the old ladies and get them out of the room, because today is a Laura Billings column day.  And the notorious Biscuit Queen of the Pioneer Press doesn't disappoint.  According to her column today, she found herself caught in a traffic jam out by the airport last Saturday.  And her first reaction was: 

Did another guy take off his pants in the security check?
TA DA!  Yes, that's one, two, three, four mentions in her column in the past two weeks of someone dropping their pants.  An unprecedented mark in Twin Cities journalism history.  Congratulations go out to Billings, her husband and mentor Nick Coleman, and the Pioneer Press for this ground breaking work in editorial excellence. 
By the way, in case anyone is wondering, she's not referring to me this time.  Although I can't specifically account as to the state of my pants at that precise moment, I can assure you I was no where near the airport on Saturday.

Why Can't We Be Friends?

In response to my post on the lack of minority friends among whites in the UK, Ann of Ann's Fusebox (er...interesting URL) breaks down the numbers and comes to the conclusion that:

Segregation can result even when the people are all tolerant and seek diversity.

Read the whole thing. And while you're there ask her why we're on the "Visit Almost Daily" section of her blogroll. Almost?

Much Ado About Something?

When the news broke last night about Sandy Berger and the "misplaced" documents (hey Sandy, is that a classified dossier in your pants or are you just glad to see me?) my initial reaction was that people were making far too much of the story. Yes, he probably broke the rules. And yes, if it was Condi Rice the mainstream press would be all over it like lonely bloggers on Plain Layne, but I was willing to give Berger the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's got a bit of the absent minded professor in him I thought, and honestly was not aware of his illegal actions.

But today after reading this post at Captain's Quarters I'm beginning to have doubts:

For my money, that's at least one "inadvertently" too many, and that is not a literary criticism. Perhaps this explanation will fly for those who have never worked around classified documents, but since I spent three years producing such material, I can tell you that it's impossible to "inadvertently" take or destroy them. For one thing, such documents are required to have covers -- bright covers in primary colors that indicate their level of classification. Each sheet of paper is required to have the classification level of the page (each page may be classified differently) at the top and bottom of each side of the paper. Documents with higher classifications are numbered, and each copy is tracked with an access log, and nowadays I suppose they're tracking them by computers.

Under these rules, it's difficult to see how anyone could "inadvertently" mix up handwritten notes with classified documents, especially when sticking them into one's jacket and pants. Furthermore, as Clinton's NSA, Berger would have been one of the people responsible for enforcing these regimens, not simply subject to them. The DOD makes these rules crystal clear during the clearance process at each level of access, and security officers (which Berger clearly was) undergo even further training and assessment on security procedures. "Inadvertent" and "sloppiness", in the real context of secured documentation, not only don't qualify as an excuse but don't even register as a possibility.

As Ed goes on to say, it's far too early in the game to tell what Berger's motives might have been, and perhaps there is nothing sinister about what he did. But his original excuse about "sloppiness" doesn't seem to hold water anymore.

More from Ed on this story here and here.