Thursday, September 30, 2004

Highly Debatable

Welcome to live blogging of the first presidential debate of the season. We're having a Summit with allies including Hindrocket from Power Line, Mitch from Shot In The Dark, King from SCSUScholars and a host of others.

8:10pm John is wearing silk pajamas. King is wearing pajamas made from the fur of
Armenian lemurs. Mitch is wearing...Good God Sir! Put some pants on!

8:13pm Kerry looks like Captain Pike. W droppin' his g's.

8:16pm This is perhaps the geekiest thing I have ever participated in. Bloggers all around, blinging away on their laptops. Thank God we have beer.

8:18pm Rush to war? This is one of my favorite lines from Kerry. More like a slow, agonizing crawl to war that very well may have made the insurgency we are facing today much worse.

8:21pm Atomizer is wearing a seer sucker shirt. Kerry is BSing about cops, tax cuts, chemical plants, loose materials (sounds like a personal problem).

8:23pm David Strom appears to be surfing for porn.

8:24pm Killing 'em over there draws cheers. Troops will come home when the job is done. When the Iraqis are ready to take care of their own bidness. Nice line with "artificial deadlines."

8:27pm Saint Paul says that watching live blogging is like watching sausage get made. Mmmmm...sausage.

8:28pm Fresh cred from Kerry. Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time. Questioning Kerry's cred for voting against $87 billion.

8:29pm First menttion of Vietnam. Everybody drink!

8:32pm First mention of Haliburton. Drink! New game: every time Kerry says "summit" we drink. Could be a long night.

8:33pm John just spilled his drink. Grape juice on David's white couch. Ouch.

8:34pm This live blogging is making me thirsty.

8:37 Chad the Elder has fled to the lavatory, St. Paul filling in. I offered to live blog his experience but he claims he needs some "me" time in the biffy.

8:40 (I think, I'm not wearing a watch). Just noticed the Elder walked off with David Strom's copy of the Sunday New York Times. He clearly intends to be in there for a while.

8:45 Kerry: "I believe I'll get this job done" - we'd appreciate a little more certainty John. 'I WILL get this job done'- that kind of determination and conviction I can vote for.

8:50 A returned and refreshed Elder wonders: "How does the Peace Train/Wellstone! crowd react when Kerry vows to crack down on Falujah?" Any Butcher but Bush, perhaps?

8:54 I'm sitting next to King Banaian of SCSU Scholars. If I'm not mistaken, he's wearing Brut. Or possibly Aqua Velva. There is something about him. (Something that makes my eyes water.)

8:56 A nuanced arguement by Kerry about preemption, sounds suspiciously like the need for a UN permission slip. Maybe my nuance comprehension ability is flagging. I have been drinking.

9:00 Iranian Moo-lahs - I like it. Sounds like something new at Dairy Queen. Something with ice cream and falafel.

9:08 I smell cookies. I assume that's someting Margaret Strom is whipping up for dessert, and not the further nuancing of King's cologne.

9:10 I admire John Kerry's manicure.

9:15 Dueling dad talk by the candidates, a new low for American political discourse.

9:20 Sorry for the delay in comments, the cookies are being dished up and I'm distracted.

9:25 The Elder refuses to jump in for the last 5 minutes. It's me from here on out.

9:27 The Elder is hoping against hope Ghengis Kahn gets brought up. He thinks the varying pronunciations could seal the deal for Bush. Jenjis Kahn, indeed. Closing statements, historical precedence shows less than 10% chance of Ghengis Kahn making an appearance at this point. Unless Bush cares to bring up Kerry's wife.

9:30 It's over, Bush wins, using the 10 point must system in a 10 round bout, score 100 - 94.

The Elder Adds: That's Saint's call. I give it to Kerry by a small, and in the long run, completely insignificant margin.

Thunder from Down Under

The award for the most long distance savaging of Nick Coleman goes to .... Tim Blair.

He's Australia's finest blogger, and a real live newspaper journalist as well. Perhaps that's why he knows Coleman's type so well. Excerpts:

The Minneapolis Star Tribune's Nick Coleman puts us idiots in our place:

"Here's what really makes bloggers mad: I know stuff."

Too bad all-knowing Coleman wasn't able to help his Big Media colleagues identify a Microsoft Word document recently. Because -- and he'll tell you -- Colemen knows a whole bunch about everything:

"I covered Minneapolis City Hall, back when Republicans controlled the City Council. I have reported from almost every county in the state, I have covered murders, floods, tornadoes, World Series and six governors."

Wow! Almost every county in Minnesota! That totally kills us blogger types, who never go anywhere or do anything. None of us know of these "tornadoes" or "World Series" you speak of. What are they? And, seeing as you're such an expert, who will win this year's World Series? Who will win the World Series in 2011?

"Do bloggers have the credentials of real journalists? No. "

Well, apart from those of us who do have those credentials, on account of being "real journalists". Which is the saddest life description I can currently think of.

Don't miss Tim's comments section either, or as Nick Coleman would describe it, a sleazy and unreliable chat room. It includes these insightful, witty barbs:

I read this earlier and I constantly felt suprised that I wasn't seeing any tear stains on his submission. That editorial had all the look of a man who has had his dignity belittled by someone. Posted by: jungus at October 1, 2004 at 05:47 AM

Attention, Australians - the belittler in question, it was me! It was me! I made Nick Coleman cry!

I am a reporter at a daily paper in NYC. This is the stupidest fucking thing I have read in some time. I work very hard at my job and take a lot of pride in it, but I drink no Kool-Aid. all that self-referential shuck and jive--"i covered city hall"--is pablum. I've done that stuff too and feel confident that an orangutang could do it as well as some reporters ive seen.

Journalism is a craft, learned and improved upon with repetition. There are innate skills that can make one person a better reporter than another--effort, desire, personality, humility, thick skin, the ability to work with financial or legal documents and a sense of what sells to your constituency. But to imply that Mr. Coleman has something that 90% of the readers here dont have is asinine.
Posted by: rod at October 1, 2004 at 07:38 AM

"I covered Minneapolis City Hall, back when Republicans controlled the City Council. I have reported from almost every county in the state, I have covered murders, floods, tornadoes, World Series and six governors."

"Today I'm covering Dan Rather's ass." Posted by: Bob's Your Uncle at October 1, 2004 at 08:13 AM

Help For Haiti

Donate to World Vision here.

More On Coleman

The professional-level media analysis and commentary on the Nick Coleman imbroglio continues to pour in from the blogosphere. Hopefully Nick will respond to the criticism, but he can't be published again until tomorrow. Those darn MSM handcuffs!

Center Feud


The new Craig Westover Blog

UPDATE From The Elder- Much more on Nick Boy:

The World Wide Rant


Running Scared

L'Ombre de l'Olivier


The Moderate Voice

UPDATE II-The beating goes on:

Tooth Exiform Eyesight

You're going to roll right over this one

No trivia at Keegan's this evening for the Fraters squad.

As Ed and Mitch have already reported, we will be watching the debate tonight from an undisclosed location in North Minneapolis along with some of our Northern Alliance brethren and other persons of interest. Of course we will all be live blogging the event, which could spice things up a bit as this will be the first "gang blog" for most of us. All we can hope is that Scott is gentle and his nickname isn't too literal.

Time To Stick A Fork In Him?

Rick Burress thinks he may be done (hey buddy). Let's hope for the sake of decorum that John Kerry doesn't end up covered in oregano and Parmesan before he takes the stage for tonight's debate.

'Round The Horn

The hounds of the blogosphere have been released and they've set upon Nick Coleman like Michael Moore on a side of beef. Captain Ed was the first member of the Northern Alliance to take a bite of Coleman's increasingly thin hide, and he soon followed on by Mitch Berg, SCSUScholars, and SPITBULL. Today Lileks joined the fray with a few subtle remarks of his own. It would be interesting to know what he thinks of Nick Coleman off the record. Heck, even the Commish has gotten his licks in.The only member of the Northern Alliance yet to be heard from on Coleman is Power Line, and they probably deem him unworthy of their time.

Other local bloggers have also weighed in including:


Bogus Gold

Helloooo, Chapter Two!

Plastic Hallway

Tom Swift


New Patriot

And Coleman bashing is not limited to Minnesota bloggers as evidenced by posts from:

Irreconcilable Musings

Jay Rosen


Austin Mayor


QandO Blog

The beauty is that Coleman is getting savaged from the both the right and left on this. And that the rest of the country now has a chance to experience his arrogant hackery, as those of here in the Twin Cities have for years.

At this point I don't know if they're much left of his carcass to pick over, but rest assured we will be discussing Nick's nattering nonsense this Saturday on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. In fact Mitch has invited Coleman to appear on the show to further enlighten us unworthies on the finer points of being a journalist. Don't hold your breathe on that one.

SP ADDS: Also, from Guerilla Monkey, a terrific fantasy/reality sequence featuring a weepy phone call from Nick Coleman and this destined for the masthead description:

The mean one is that Frat guy, that Saint Paul.

Brave New World

Yesterday, in Nick Coleman's outburst about bloggers, he listed some of the essential components of proper reporting, things the mainstream media (MSM) have and bloggers do not: editors, correction policies, and community standards.

Ignoring the accuracy of that assessment for a moment, I have to ask, what exactly do all those components conspire to offer the reader? How exactly do those checks and balances improve the end product?

For evidence, I turn to this very same Nick Coleman column, which I'm sure was subjected to the normal, rigorous standards of Star Tribune professionalism. Coleman's conclusion on the nature of the entire blogosphere merits particular scrutiny. The blogosphere, an entity with millions of constituent parts, of every possible political perspective, field of interest, style of prose, level of education, and level of quality. A medium which has been essential in publicizing such stories as Trent Lott's comments about race (which ended in his removal from Senate leadership), John Kerry's false and misleading claims about his service in Vietnam (which may change the course of a Presidential election), and CBS News's use of forged documents (which may change the nature of network broadcast journalism). And Nick Coleman describes that "thing" as follows:

Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world.

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square -- without editors, correction policies or community standards. And so their tripe is often as vicious as it is vacuous.

Bold, provocative, extreme claims there. Requiring a reasonable amount of solid, well-considered evidence. So what does Nick offer in this regard as the evidence that bloggers are vicious and vacuous? He offers allegations that a single, unnamed local blogger has called him a child of wealth and privilege. And Nick says that's not the case at all.

That's it!? THAT'S the kind of superior journalism all those MSM benefits provide. All those editors meticulously reviewing Nick's work, the strict corrections policies hanging over his head like al-Zarqawi's knife, the community standards he passionately adheres to, and he can still get away with publishing that!?

Maybe it's just the wrong type of editors working for the Star Tribune. Sure, it appears all of Coleman's commas and apostrophes are in good order. No participles dangerously dangling about. But what about an editor who will tell him his conclusion is not supported by the evidence he presents. And that it's not even a close call, it's embarrassingly thin and shril. And because of this he comes off as a defensive, out of touch crank.

Do the sacred corrections policies ever address that issue? Something like:

In Nick Coleman's column of September 29, he asserted a premise that could not in any way be supported by the evidence he presented. It is the policy of the Star Tribune to only print gratuitous insults when the claims have at least have a thin veneer of plausibility, or when they are in the course of attempting humor. Neither were evident in Coleman's column. The Star Tribune regrets the error.

Do editors in the MSM ever level with their reporters and star columnists in this manner. Or is it forbidden to criticize Nick Coleman at this stage of his career?

Because, I must say, the editors in the blogosphere provide that kind of feedback all the time. The primary editor, being ourselves. If I wrote some weak, humorless, imperious crap like Coleman's column, I'd recognize it. And I'd feel like an idiot. It would never see the light of day and if it did get published, there are those among my cohorts on this site who would be glad to tell me that it sucked.

This brings up a distinct advantage of the blogosphere, no deadlines. If my wit and wisdom on a given day stinks out the joint, I'll kill it, for the good of all. On the other hand, Nick Coleman is obligated to publish two or three times per week. So even when he's suffering from a creative coma, something has got to be published, to the suffering of all subscribers. Nick and his second wife Laura Billings have made great sport of the "midnight posting" of bloggers, but again it illustrates an advantage of the medium - the immediacy. You can write and publish when it's most advantageous to you and your creative drive, not as it's dictated by the 9-to-5 parameters of the daily business cycle.

Getting back to Coleman and his one, teeny tiny bit of evidence against the blogosphere, that someone falsely alleged he was a wealthy man, born into privilege and power. That someone, by the way, is us, Fraters Libertas. In the award-winning, satirical docu-drama, the Newspaper Newlyweds.

Note, I said it was satirical. Broad hyperbole to make a point and to be humorous (at least they made us laugh - which is enough).

It was entertainment. A rather important factor to notice when you're basing an entire thesis on the nature of a new medium exclusively on that one piece. (I can see why Coleman might not have found those posts entertaining. But Nick, where were your editors on that one?)

Entertainment - not intended, or required to be, strictly factual. Although our assertions were certainly based in reality - otherwise it wouldn't be funny at all.

Regarding wealth, I'm sure Nick Coleman and Laura Billings are well into the six figures with their combined salaries from the newspapers (your subscription dollars at work, folks). Given his tenure, I imagine Nick's got to be getting close to $100K all on his own. Am I to understand, he doesn't consider that to be wealthy?

Maybe that is what he truly believes. It wouldn't surprise me that a man who defines journalism as "to scrutinize the actions of those in power" would create delusions about his own life circumstances. How else could he sleep at night?

Thankfully, in this new world of media and information access, Coleman doesn't get the final edit on reality. Not even of his own life story. Nick, welcome to the future.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Moby Nick

Yesterday, in a message to their readers, the boys at Power Line revealed:

When we started this site two and a half years ago, the Trunk said: "The idea that we could ever have any readers for this thing is a pathetic fantasy."

Which pretty much echoes the thoughts we had we when we launched Fraters Libertas around that same time. An even more delusional dream back then would be the notion that well-established columnists with the local major daily newspapers would not only be reading our site, but responding to us in print.

Well folks I'm here to tell you, sometimes dreams do come true. Look no further than today's offering from Nick Coleman in the Star Tribune called "Blogged down in Web fantasy".

Captain Ed has already taken a crack at the increasingly neurotic Nick Boy, but this is too big for us to pass on. In fact by the end of the day, we all may take our turns playing Whack-A-'Hole with Coleman's caterwauling. Make no mistake about it, even though Nick does not mention us directly, this little paranoid rant of his is largely directed at us humble bloggers at Fraters Libertas.

For no one has been banging on Nick Boy like we have. From simple Fiskings of his crappy columns to the full-blown, all-out exposes of his personal life in the Newspaper Newlyweds, we've been on Nick like a tick on a elephant. Wait, that's his line isn't it?

But one of the shams we're chasing is the supposed threat of the blogs, who are to journalism what ticks are to elephants. Ticks may make the elephants nuts, but that doesn't mean they will replace them. You can't ride a tick.

So we're making you "nuts" are we Nick? So sorry. How are you holding up anyway?

We are rattled, and in danger of losing our way.

A rattled nut walking around the offices of the Star Tribune? And you thought working at the Post Office was dangerous.

Our crusade against Nick Boy has been led by Saint Paul, who pushed the concept of Fisking to a whole new level by introducing the Newspaper Newlyweds (with some help from The Man From Silver Mountain). Instead of looking at Nick Coleman from the Star Tribune and Laura Billings from the St. Paul Pioneer Press as individual columnists, he deftly wove their marriage into the larger picture of the dysfunctional local media, as he looked between the lines of their writing for hints of what was going on behind the scenes.

This summer, when Laura's ego-gratifying Googling led her to discover our handiwork, she saw fit to take to the pages of the Pioneer Press and describe us as, "lonely guys who write withering and anonymous social commentary in their underpants." As Saint Paul said at the time, "Jackpot." We had broken through.

But for Saint Paul, Laura Billings was small fry. He continued to stalk his larger prey with a single-minded obsession, bordering on fanaticism. Apparently his barbed harpoons have found their target. For his white whale is now squealing like a stuck pig. Congratulations Saint Paul, this is your day. Rejoice in it and be glad.

And thanks to Nick Coleman. Because after two and half years of blogging, you start to get a bit worn down, a little less enthusiastic. You ask yourself why you even bother to blog and whether it's really worth it. After seeing Nick's column today the answer is an emphatic "Hell yeah!" Thanks to Nick's snarky, sneering sniping I'm now motivated to re-up for another two and a half year tour of duty in the 'sphere. Booyah baby!

The next time I'm sitting in my underwear, drinking (you forgot that one), and blogging stuff up at midnight I'll be thinking of you Nick. I didn't go to a fancy "J" school. I haven't spent the better part of my life attending zoning meetings and running down the list of vice collars at a local precinct. My ear has not had the benefit of extensive baloney detection training. I most certainly am not worthy of carrying your precious notebook. And God knows, I can't possibly know as much "stuff" as you since I'm not a "professional journalist." But I do know one thing. If, according to you, the job of journalists is

to scrutinize the actions of those in power

then the job of bloggers is to do the same to those in power in the media. The question is: can YOU handle the scrutiny Nick?

Reality Check

A tale of two newspapers' perspectives. First, the Star Tribune, with their supposed glittering star of insight, the wealthy and privileged Nick Coleman, on what the blogosphere means:

Do bloggers have the credentials of real journalists? No. Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world.

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square -- without editors, correction policies or community standards. And so their tripe is often as vicious as it is vacuous.

Now Craig Westover, new editorial writer for the rapidly ascending in my opinion Pioneer Press:

Mainstream media don't concede what bloggers do is "journalism" - evidence former CBS executive Jonathan Klein's "pajama" comment. Typical is columnist David Broder's lament that "the Internet has opened the door to scores of 'journalists' who [have] no allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional news gathering."

While the journalism side of mainstream media licks its wounds and snarls rationalizations at the undisciplined rabble storming the Bastille of its self-proclaimed credibility, one wonders what the business side is thinking.


In a classic example of marketing myopia, Levitt describes how railroads, operating with a product focus, dismissed the airplane as an innovation to be embraced. They disastrously perceived themselves in the narrow "railroad" business, not the broader "transportation" business and consumers didn't necessarily need railroads - they needed transportation.

Already faced with a significantly functioning blogosphere, are there network executives, newspaper publishers and station managers asking themselves, "What business are we in?" Are they coming up with answers other than "television news," "newspaper publication" and "radio programming?" Have they considered the "information" business and what that recognition might mean for their relationship to bloggers, the Internet and their customers?

The winds of "Hurricane Dan" are already blowing themselves out to the relief of all stressed out "real" journalists. But for media executives (and not just at CBS), now comes the tough construction task, not just rebuilding lost credibility, but creating new models of information businesses.

A rare breed indeed, this Westover. A mainstream media person who gets it. Probably because he's not a traditional journalist, not by Nick Coleman's standards. Instead he's a marketing guy, with a life long interest in the news and current events, and a talent for logic and writing. He started as a chronic Pioneer Press letter-to-the-editor writer. (The letters-to-the-editor page, version 1.0 of the blogosphere.). In their wisdom, the Pioneer Press made him one of their temporary community columnists last year and have now elevated him further to semi-regular contributor status.

Because of that eye for talent, they now have a guy with an open mind, with nothing invested in the maintenance of the journalistic establishment status quo, opining on what the blogosphere might mean to the business of information distribution.

And the Star Tribune has Nick Coleman, desperately fighting to salvage his own privileged position and his profession's entitlement to a monopoly on current events commentary.

News consumers, information seekers, which paper would you rather subscribe to?

First Salvo

The Star Tribune's Nick Coleman has his Dan Rather/Jim Boyd/Captain Queeg like moment, gratuitously lashing out at the blogosphere in a desperate attempt to maintain the MSM monopoly on all coverage of politics and current events.

It's sad, pathetic, funny stuff, and rest assured, our responses will follow. But to open the debate, our friend Doug from Bogus Gold has a fine discussion of Nick's temper tantrum, and the critical role played by Fraters Libertas in pushing him over the edge. Doug's insightful conclusion:

In any case, score another victory for the Fraters.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

'Dis 'Dat and D'other

College Republicans at the University of Minnesota are saying "No Mas" to Michael Moore:

Minnesota College Republicans today vowed to fight any attempt by University of Minnesota officials to use ANY university funds to bring Michael Moore to campus for an anti Bush political rally. College Republicans were responding to news reports that the University officials are negotiating to bring Moore to the U of M Campus as part of his "Slacker Uprising Tour" in support of John Kerry.

Chuck Z. e-mails with advice on skipping CBS:

Just a quick note from work (where your fine blog hasn't been blocked just yet) to say that my solution for avoiding CBS has been to simply delete CBS channels from the presets in our TVs. CBS is now sharing that unseen limbo with the local school board channel, several shopping channels, and the Golf Channel (for me, watching golf is the visual equivalent of hearing John Kerry speak).

We still have four or so local news channels and several dozen entertainment channels, so we've lost what, maybe 2-3% of our programming? I doubt we'll even notice. But if enough people delete CBS stations from their presets, CBS might.

And finally, The Golden Girl and I have combined to come up with a name to explain the biology of Ted Kennedy:

Nice genus name "Pickledpoliticianus". But he needs a genus AND species designation. Perhaps "Pickledpoliticianus obesiatum".

Yes, Teddy truly is a breed apart.

Were You There When They Nailed Him With The Memos?

Craig from Lead and Gold believes that this (here's the original -pull up the cartoon from 9/24) is the most offensive political cartoon of the year.

Hard to argue with him there. Going beyond the sheer ridiculousness of portraying Rather as Christ, shouldn't the Romans be bloggers instead of Fox News?

The Silence of the Lambert

It appears the chill wind has blown through Brian Lambert's cubicle at the Pioneer Press. Some months ago we were alerted to the pending "reassignment" of the entrenched veteran entertainment columnist. I now point you to the archive of his recent work.

It's all over. His sneering, partisan voice, hectoring us from what should have been a non-political beat has been silenced once and for all. And that silence is golden for conservatives all over town.

This is a huge development in recapturing credibility for the Pioneer Press. Because no right thinking Minnesotan could take that paper seriously knowing Lambert was waiting in the Variety section to lecture us on how objective Minnesota Public Radio is while chronically dismissing all of conservative talk radio as "right wing howler monkeys" or comparing Fox News to Al Jazeera. For those sins against reality, I'd like to believe, he got the lead pipe message.

It was a nice run for Lambert. He was around for what, 20 years? Over this time he got fat and happy distorting the news and furthering his political agenda under the thin veil of journalistic integrity. I'm sure he thought the ride was never going to end. Why would he, given the traditionally leftist newsroom culture at the Pioneer Press? Sealed off in this context, over time he became more unbalanced, lost perspective as to what he was hired to do, and became nothing more than a political hack and a propagandist. All while writing an entertainment column, mind you.

But it appears things are starting to change at the Pioneer Press. We've never been told exactly why Lambert was reassigned. (In fact, this sounds like a story a good local entertainment columnist would be working on. Star Tribune - where are you on this one? I can't believe it's a secret in local MSM social circles. Why is it a secret to the public?) My guess is that some responsible person in executive management at Knight Ridder finally realized what a drag Lambert was to the paper's integrity, while offering no benefit in terms of attracting readers. A simple business decision really, one that should have been made years ago.

To be clear, Lambert hasn't been fired. Within the past couple of weeks I noticed he popped up in Austin, MN doing some flood coverage. To his credit (or maybe his new editor's credit), it was clean copy, just the facts, no attempts to blame the rain on Tim Pawlenty or anything like that. But you have to believe this is killing Lambert. I'm sure he didn't get into journalism for the purpose of reporting the facts. What's the fun in that? He was supposed to change the world. Exposing his political enemies, afflicting the comfortable, and all that good stuff he saw in All The President's Men. That's going to be hard to do now, while writing about people filling up sand bags in the rain. But if anybody could find a way to twist that, it's Lambert. For this reason, he'll continue to bear scrutiny.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Painless Protest

Last Friday, when I called in to Hugh Hewitt's show, he asked me if I thought that we should continue to keep the heat on CBS affiliates. I replied that if people were satisfied with the response from CBS they should let it go, otherwise they should keep banging away.

If you want to bang, here's the list of affiliate contacts. If you want more bang for your buck, you can fill out this form at and hit all the affiliates in one fell swoop.

In the wake of the forged memo fiasco, I vowed that I would not watch CBS until they resolved the matter to my satisfaction. I have come to realize what a meaningless promise that really is. Because I never watch CBS anymore. I don't watch all that much TV anyway, except for sports, documentaries, and Seinfeld reruns, but I used to catch "King of Queens" and "Everybody Loves Raymond" somewhat regularly. I lost track of KOQ when they moved it to a new night, and Raymond is hit or miss. About the only reason I would have to even turn CBS on these days is NFL football.

Yesterday, the CBS game we got was Denver-San Diego. Not nearly as entertaining as watching Indy march up and down the field against the Packers on Fox. For me, giving up CBS is like a kid giving up vegetables for Lent (except that CBS isn't really good for me). It's almost too easy.

On another missing media front, our household is now on Day Three of being officially Stribless. Yes, even though I vowed to cancel our subscription to the Minneapolis Star Tribune way back in April, only now has it taken effect. And I gotta say that at this point, I don't really miss it at all. Sure it's nice to be able to read up on the three time Central Division champion Twins or the Vikings, but I can get all that online. And eating breakfast with a laptop on the table is almost as good as spreading out the daily newspaper. Now if I can only get the logistics of the bathroom worked out...

Don't Know Much Biology

We receive a lot of strange e-mail requests here at Fraters Libertas, but this one takes the cake:

We are writing to request permission to use an image from your website on our Apex Learning website. The image will accompany a lesson in our online 9th grade Biology course. We will give credit for the image, on the page where the image appears.

The image we are requesting to use will be incorporated in a service for teachers and students from elementary through high school integrating high quality resources, which are electronically available on the web.

The image in question? Our old buddy Teddy. While he is no doubt a biological curiosity, I have to wonder exactly how this picture will be used to educate children.


Adam from The Blogspirator has pointed out that my lucky number may not be so lucky after all.

Can't Sleep, Clown'll Eat Me

I think we've all had a night like this at one time or another. Except for Tom Barton. Probably sleeps like a baby. Bastard.

Polls Closed

Here are the final results in our poll asking when Dan Rather will step down from CBS:

Before September 30th 12%
October 1st--November 2nd 18%
November 3rd--December 31st 29%
Sometime in 2005 26%
After 2005 14%

Nearly 60% believe that Rather will be gone before the end of 2004. I wish I shared that optimism.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Wisdom of the Ages

Emma Torkelson from Fergus Falls, Minnesota is fast becoming the queen of all media. On Friday we noted that Emma, who is one hundred years young and has never voted in her life, had decided to finally rock the vote this year by registering. And her first vote ever is going to be for President Bush. She was interviewed on Friday by a television station from Fargo and the local Fergus Falls newspaper. On Saturday her story appeared on Fox News and she was interviewed on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. Now she has her own web site called The Vote Heard Around the World, where you can track her media appearances and even drop her an e-mail. Is this a great country or what?

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Wheat From The Chafe

Back in December 2003, shortly after he was dragged out of his spider hole, we asked our readers to participate in a pool to predict the date of Saddam's departure from this world.

Good entries, kids. Now it's time for the easiest part of any bloggers job. The losers. Chris Stone is a loser. Clay Calhoun is a loser. Cameron Wood, you're gone. Saint Paul a.k.a. Treacherous St. Dazzle is a loser. Jared, I like your hustle. That's why it's so hard to say you're a loser.

Congratulations, the rest of you are still alive!

Except Kim Egan, Elise Schreiber, ReactBob, and Spacekicker.

Saddam knows only one thing: it is better to live.

Unsafe At Any Frequency

Listening to the Art Bell show on KSTP, now hosted by some guy named George Nouri. But it's still devoted to the the weird and the bizarre. For example, right now he's interviewing Ralph Nader. Seriously, he's on right now and for the rest of this hour. Late night blog readers tune in now.

He's rantin' and ravin' and plugging his book and throwing around wild, unsubstantiated charges at both Kerry and Bush. It's outstanding. The highlight so far, moments ago, Nader referred to President Bush as a "dodge drafter."

Is that the new rear-engine coupe from the folks at Daimler-Chrysler? Or has ol' Ralph been nipping at the ouzo tonight?

UPDATE: Ralph doesn't believe in UFO's. His reasoning: "if they come here, why don't they ever stay?" Hard to argue with that. No wonder they won't let this guy in on the debates.

UPDATE: Ralph is concerned about Bush and Kerry's Skull and Bones membership. Secret oaths and all that, who are they beholden to? Now he's talking about potential initiation rites and rituals, and he said, I quote "they bond in a very uncensored way." It seems this show is about to take a very ugly turn.

UPDATE: Phhhhew, he's back to bitching about the minimum wage.

UPDATE: On to Mad Cow Disease. A leading, non sequitur question by Nouri. Ralph seems momentarilly fazed. Now he enthusiastically concurs, it's a very serious matter. He says if there ever is an epidemic of it, that'll be the end of the meat industry. Move over John McCain, there's a new Straight Talk Express at the station.

UPDATE: And that's it, the hour ends, fittingly, with the Eagles "Take it to the Limit". Desperado might have been more appropriate.

UPDATE: Now a Menards commerical. It's the Octoberfest sale! Big savings on tarps! I'll stop now.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Centenarians For W

Earlier today we received a report from long-time friend of Fraters Rick, that his one-hundred year old grandmother had decided to vote for the first time ever this year. And she'll be pulling the lever for Bush. Here's Emma with her voter registration form:

And here's a write up on the event from a Fergus Falls Bush/Cheney '04 volunteer:

Emma Torkelson, 100 year old resident of the Broen Memorial Home in Fergus Falls, MN registered to vote for the first time in her life on Friday Sept. 24, 2004. Wayne Stein, Otter Tail County Auditor was on hand to receive her registration application and also her absentee ballot request form. Mr. Stein had no recollection of there being any older first time registers in Otter Tail County history. State Representative Bud Nornes also paid a visit to congratulate her. Emma's absentee ballot will arrive in the mail in October, and her family will be there to share the experience with her when she casts her first vote - for George W. Bush.

Emma turned 100 June 2, 2004 and celebrated with a family party, and received (as she had requested) 100 roses from her three children and their spouses. She also enjoyed receiving letters from George W. Bush, Laura Bush (separately), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Senator Norm Coleman, State Senator Cal Larson and State Representative Bud Nornes.

Emma states she's not ever been "a politician" but the president's stance on abortion and the marriage amendment have made her want her to vote this year. Her parents were life long Democrats, and she figured she always was one too. They both voted, and she can't say why she never did. When asked if she'll vote again in four years she stated "I suppose I will, if I am still living."

Emma is a committed Christian whose outspoken appreciation for the religious and moral values of President George W. Bush, along with the encouragement of her family, prompted her to register. Her son Bob, stated that she's been talking about how she doesn't like John Kerry, and how President Bush is a good man. "That other guy (Kerry) I never liked his looks since before he ran for president." She said "I just picked out my man, that I thought would be a good man." "I just happened to like Bush ever since I heard of his dad and mother and his wife Laura. They are all people I could talk to, down to earth."

Emma also had a brother named George and his wife who is still living, is Laura, that's how she always remembers the president and his wife's name.

Her husband Oscar, passed away 20 years ago. Oscar was a life long Republican. Her son thinks she never voted so she wouldn't cancel out her husband's vote, being a devoted wife. They were married 52 years. She has 11 grand children and 18 great grandchildren, all of whom are excited about grandma voting!

What a great story to end the week.

Parroting the Puppet Propaganda

The Iraqi Resistance Report for events of Sunday, 8 August 2004 through Wednesday, 11 August 2004:

Iyyad 'Allawi, the US-appointed puppet "prime minister" visited an-Najaf on Sunday and demanded that the Jaysh al-Mahdi withdraw from their city to allow the US aggressors full control.


Joe Lockhart, a senior Kerry adviser yesterday:

"The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips."

Can you imagine if a senior advisor to Thomas Dewey had appropriated labels employed by Joseph Goebbels and used them to describe one of our allies in 1944? Is this how the Kerry campaign demonstrates how "I want victory, I want to win [in Iraq]"?

The longer this campaign season drags on, the more disgusted I become with the Kerry camp's willingness to do anything to win the election, regardless of how it might affect the outcome of the war.

It's Funny Because It's True

From The London Telegraph, a lengthy excerpt from P.J. O'Rourke's just released book "Peace Kills: America's Fun New Imperialism." It looks to be classic O'Rourke and therefore a must read. Excerpt:

Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign lands, even if we came 10,000 years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait.

America is not "globally conscious" or "multi-cultural." Americans didn't come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, Sheenies or Wogs. If we'd wanted foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home. Or - in the case of those of us who were shipped to America against our will - as slaves, exiles, or transported prisoners - we would have gone back.

Being foreigners ourselves, we Americans know what foreigners are up to with their foreign policy - their venomous convents, lying alliances, greedy agreements and trick-or-treaties. America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don't think that way.

We don't think much at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you've got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulag.

The Flypaper Strategy...

...appears to be paying off at Keegan's Irish Pub on Thursday nights. Last night the presence of Fraters forces drew a crowd of local bloggers including Chumley from Plastic Hallway, David and Margaret from Our House, Scott from pinkmonkeybird, Jo from Jo's Attic, and Mark from Fight City Hall!.

In addition, Fraters readers Jim Styczinski, a.k.a. the Memo Master and Seth joined the fun.

Their dreams of unseating the might Fraters squad were crushed, as we rumbled, stumbled, and bumbled to our second straight victory. But I dare say that a good time was had by all.

And it's also safe to say that the good people of the Twin Cities can sleep much easier knowing that these bloggers are socializing at Keegan's rather than the streets of their neighborhoods.


Another endorsement for John Kerry from foreign leaders:

Think about it if Bush were to go the americans will have a way to exist from Iraq. If Bush were to win, the first thing he will do, he will hammer AlFaluja and AlRumade, Alsader city, Samara and Diala. This is what McCain, the republican senator was revealing when talking about the military plans, which is now on hault because of the election.

Just register with fictitious name and e-mail if you want and write, write to their media websites. Even if it does not get published do not worry, I have sent more than 1500 emails and letters during the last few years.

As far the american soldiers in Iraq, is people were to write leaflets with big words on them like; VOTE KERRY AND GO HOME, VOTE KERRY AND HELP YOURSELF TO GO HOME, STOP FIGHTING BUSH'S WAR VOTE KERRY, THE NEO CONS ARE FREE MASONS AND JEWS AND SO ONE. Just write to them in a language they understand.

And I'm sure that Michael Moore will be pleased to know that those "Minutemen", the Iraqi insurgents have reciprocal feelings of admiration:

Michael Moore, your films have done a lot of good towards humanity. But can you send e-mails/letters to your troops even in those occupying Iraq, explaining the advantages of voting for Kerry, if for noting it will be just as a reminder.

Who are you voting for again?

Support The Troops

Say thanks and buy 'em a beer.

Waiting A Long Time For The Right Man

Fraters SoCal bureau chief Rick sends us what has to be the feel good story of the week:

My Grandmother (Emma Torkelson of Fergus Falls, MN) turned 100 this past June 2nd. She's still sharp as a tack.

Just TODAY, my dad found out the following about her:

1) She's been a Democrat ALL of her life
2) She has NEVER voted
3) Her parents were both Democrats
4) She's going to vote this year for the first time, and pull the lever for ... GEORGE W. BUSH

Tomorrow (Sept 24), around 1:30, she's holding a 'press conference' at the Broen Home in Fergus Falls, MN. She will also be registering to vote tomorrow.

The local paper (Fergus Falls Daily Journal) and local Republican party members will be interviewing her, and are hoping that the closest FOX affiliate station will also be there.

A GREAT story. The dawn of a new voting block:


True story.

And a heart warming one at that. At this point, there is not a story on this remarkable announcement available at The Fergus Falls Daily Journal, although there is fascinating piece called Meet Your New Garbage Can. Check back this afternoon for updates.

Here's to four more years for W and many more years for Grandma.

Call Her Ms. Demeanor

The swift hand of justice descended on the top of DFL Rep. Phyllis Kahn's wrist yesterday, with her misdemeanor conviction for theft. The 32 year MN House incumbent from the Minneapolis district encompassing the University of Minnesota campus was fined $200 dollars and promised a dismissal of her conviction if she does not re-offend within the next year.

Because of that sweetheart deal, the clock is ticking on the time we can accurately refer to her as "convicted thief Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis)". That is, assuming she isn't a habitual thief. Sure, this is her first conviction, but how do we know she hasn't done this before and won't do it again? According to reports, she is sorry for her heinous thievery (this time):

... I know it was wrong and I am sorry.

Which is all well and fine. But can we really trust her on this matter? She is, after all, a convicted thief.

Even I must admit, theft probably isn't a fair charge to throw at Rep. Kahn. The object of her larcenous desires was valued at nothing more than a few cents. But that's all the prosecutors were left with, since stealing your opponent's campaign literature isn't in itself illegal in Minnesota. Yes, recall, that's what old Phyllis was up to in New Hope. Helping out her DFL comrade Sandy Peterson, who is attempting to unseat the Republican incumbent from District 45A (squeaky clean Lynn Osterman). Helping her out by stealing the Republican literature from residents' doors and replacing it with that of the DFL opponent.

An act, to repeat, which is not on its own explicitly illegal in Minnesota. A fact which even law enforcement officials weren't aware of immediately following Kahn's apprehension. The chain of prosecution, according to the community newspaper in Kahn's neighborhood:

New Hope City Attorney Steve Sondrall referred the case to the Hennepin County Attorney, where he said he expected charges to be filed under the state's Fair Campaign Practices Act. Citing a conflict of interest, Hennepin County referred the case to the Anoka County Attorney's Office, which saw no campaign law violation and referred the case back to the New Hope City Attorney. Sondrall charged Kahn with misdemeanor theft in Hennepin County District Court.

Suspecting the Anoka County Attorney might be up to some partisan prosecutin' by ignoring her offense, I reviewed the Minnesota Fair Campaign Practices Act, but I'll be damned if I can find any statutes relevant to stealing campaign literature. Sure, there is a law mandating the right of politicians to appear in parades without being gouged on cost by the sponsors. And there is a law protecting politicians from getting gratuitously savaged by citizens writing letters to the editor. But stealing campaign literature apparently is of no concern (I wonder if Phyllis Kahn had anything to do with drafting this legislation?).

Regarding the letter to the editor provision, here is the relevant text:

A person is guilty of a misdemeanor who intentionally participates in the drafting of a letter to the editor with respect to the personal or political character or acts of a candidate, or with respect to the effect of a ballot question, that is designed or tends to elect, injure, promote, or defeat any candidate for nomination or election to a public office or to promote or defeat a ballot question, that is false, and that the person knows is false or communicates to others with reckless disregard of whether it is false.

My interpretation of that gives me the notion to send the Hennepin County Attorney a listing of the letters they print in the Star Tribune. There are dozens of violations of this statute every single week from the left leaning correspondents. Her conviction rate will skyrocket!

But, reading the notes and decisions amendment to this statute (211B.06) reveals the justice strangling loophole:

Extreme and illogical inferences drawn from accurate fact statement was not "false information." Kennedy v. Voss, 304 N.W.2d 299 ( Minn. 1981).

Now there's a plausible defense, Star Tribune letter-to-the-editor writers are not guilty on the grounds they are extreme and illogical.

Getting back to Ms. Kahn, I suppose a 16 term incumbent still wields influence in this town, among the political elite (which includes county and city attorneys). Enough influence to get an absolute minimum charge and sentence, without a broader investigation. How do we know this is the only time she's done this? Given her leadership position within the DFL party, is it plausible that they may be involved in other such activities, in other districts? Is it possible that similar malevolent interference is taking place elsewhere, with the purpose of denying the sacred franchise to the good citizens of Minnesota? (OK, this is starting to sound like a letter to the editor to the Star Tribune. I'll stop now, before I get arrested).

The broader lesson learned is that it may be time for we, the people, to step in and right the wrongs brought on by entrenched power and privilege. First, we need to pressure the legislature to make stealing campaign literature, or defacing/destroying signs, by candidates for office, a felony. We can call it Phyllis's Law.

Next, good people of Minnesota district 59B. Yes, you people, who gave Phyllis Kahn 94.5% of the vote in 2002. For the good of the children, it's time to forget your petty partisan concerns and dispatch her for good. On November 2, Vote Amanda Hutchings! (Isn't she cute.)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Forged Memos We'd Like to See On CBS News

Can a guy make a career out of forging office memoranda? The increasingly sad, desperate tale of Dan Rather duper Jim Burkett argues against that possibility. But our own Jim Styczinski continues to head into his basement and tirelessly crank these things out, with hilarious consequences. Below is his latest batch. If Jim keeps this up , he may do for the forged memo what Gallagher did for the watermelon.

JIM ADDS: Maybe I could use this bit to become the next Don Rickles? 'I just got this memo from your mother -- she says you're ugly.'


To: Joe Streuhli (Commander of CosDiv 13)
From: The Great Cambodi (USO magician)
Date: December 27, 1968
Subject: My Magic Hat

Dear Sir, I am a magician currently touring with the USO. On December 23 of this year, I was being transported to Sa Dec via Swift Boat PCF-44 for a Christmas Eve show. While on these USO trips I like to do all I can to entertain the troops even when I'm not on stage, so I put on a little show for the sailors who were transporting me. The key to my act is my Magic Hat from which I produce money and other objects seemingly out of thin air. On this occasion, I tossed my hat to a long faced fellow who seemed to be in command and asked him to verify that there was nothing in it. Instead the sailor put it on his head and said, "Wow thanks, now I have a lucky hat." I thought he was joking around, but he wouldn't give it back.

Is there any way that you could get the hat back for me? I wouldn't mind except that it is custom made with secret compartments that are essential to my act.

The Great Cambodi


To: Malcolm Forbes, Editor Forbes Magazine
From: United States Senator John Forbes Kerry
Date: January 12, 1992
Subject: Genealogy

Dear Malcolm,

Let me introduce myself, I am Senator John Forbes Kerry of Massachusetts. That's right, my middle name is Forbes, which is also my mother's maiden name! Since we are both from Northeastern aristocratic families named Forbes, I would say that there is a good chance that we are related!

Do you happen to know whether we are cousins? I hope so, because I am a big admirer of your magazine, especially your recent feature on the 400 richest persons in America. Your research is very impressive. Hey, it just occurs to me that you probably collect a lot of information that you don't necessarily publish, like say marital status, home phone numbers, etc. Malcolm buddy, could you do a cuz a favor and pass along the phone numbers of any single women under 80 on the list? Thanks in advance.

Cousin John


To: Teresa Heinz-Kerry
From: Ted Eisenreich, Director of Facility Operations, Green Bay Packers
Date: August 28, 2004
Subject: Your Generous Offer

Dear Mrs. Heinz-Kerry,

I am sorry to inform you that we must decline your generous offer. The Green Bay Packers organization and our fans place an immense value on tradition, and the name Lambeau Field is a rich part of that tradition.

However, if we ever do decide to sell the stadium naming rights, your offer to name the stadium Lambert Field will receive strong consideration.

Ted Eisenreich


To: Senator John Kerry
From: William Pickle, United States Senate Sergeant at Arms
Date: 12 January 2004
Subject: Voting

1. You are ordered to report to the floor of the United States Senate no later than 19 January 2004 to freaking vote.

2. Report to the office of Minority Whip Harry Reid for instructions on how to vote.

Bill Pickle



7 May 1983
Henri Nannen, Publisher, Stern Magazine

We at Stern stand by our story of 15 April 1983 regarding the authenticity of the recently discovered Hitler Diaries. The diaries were obtained from an unimpeachable source and were authenticated by two handwriting experts. The pajama wearing partisans of the Federal Archive have tried to shift focus to the paper, ink, and glue used, when they should address the contents of the diaries themselves. Even if the diaries are fake, no one has proven that they are not accurate reflections of Hitler's inner thoughts.


To: Dan Rather, CBS News
From: Albert Einstein, Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University
Date: September 16, 2004
Subject: Reply to your query

You are quite right when you assert that there is a finite probability that ink molecules in a thirty year old typed document could, through quantum tunneling, rearrange themselves in such a way that they appear to have been produced by a modern word processing machine.

However, I could not even begin to solve the Schrödinger equation for this possibility. I would estimate that the probability of such an event occurring would be so close to zero as to be impossible. I strongly recommend that you come up with a more reasonable explanation.

Your Pal Al


To: Dan Rather, CBS News
From: Jim Boyd, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Date: September 21, 2004
Subject: Hitting Power Line

Let me ask you something Dan, do you want to counterattack or ride this to ground and outlast it? Of course you want to counterattack, and I have just what you need to ruin those Power Line frauds. I can supply you with not one, but two pieces from a well respected newspaper that unequivocally proves those guys to be fraudulent smear artists who can't stand up to the facts.

That's not all; my exhaustive research has uncovered even more damaging information. First of all, Power Line has no affiliation whatsoever with any electric utility or any other means of producing or transporting electricity. Ha! I also have evidence that the so-called Deacon is NOT a member of the clergy, Hindrocket has no connection with NASA or any other rocket agency, and I have it on good authority that The Big Trunk is more of a small to medium trunk. As a show of solidarity, Dan, I will boycott any and all debates with the Power Liars.

Courage, Dan, Courage!

Jim Boyd

You're Out of Touch, I'm Out of Time

The Man from Silver Mountain thinks you're out of touch:

I think your readers are out of touch with reality. nearly 2/3 of them think Rather will step down this year. They also think he's more likely to step down in the next week (or so) than to survive into 2006. That is nuts.

CBS has suffered from this episode where their obvious bias has been spotlighted and it will cost them in terms of viewership and $, but they will not fire Dan over it, which is a shame. They simply don't have an heir apparent. All their guys are old. The only CBS newscaster I can name under the age of fifty-five is Julie Chen. They will need to start grooming someone now just to have them ready in 2006.

The only way they get rid of Dan is if they get caught red-handed publishing another fabrication. This isn't likely, at least in the near future. All eyes are on them and they will need to be very careful. My guess is that if they do dig up dirt against W, that they won't let Dan anywhere near it and they will authenticate it thoroughly.

Looking for an heir apparent eh? How about this mug?

Craig Westover thinks we should praise Jesse, not bury him:

Everyone should have the opportunity to vote. Not everyone should. Democracy works when the people that vote understand the issues and the consequences of their votes.

By that standard, I submit that Jess Ventura choosing not to vote is an act of patriotism.

Don't get me started on who should or shouldn't vote. Let's just say that Craig is right on this one. All in all, Jesse not voting is probably a very good thing.

You Just Keep On Pushing My Love...

We'd like to extend a warm welcome to the latest local entry in the blogosphere: On the BorderLine. Chris is keeping an eye on the notoriously porous Minnesota-Wisconsin border from his perch in Hudson, Wisconsin where he'll keep us updated on the firework smuggling, last call cross-border bar dashes, and Sunday beer runs that keep life interesting in the frontier outpost.

Thunderclouds Forming

It may not pack quite the same wallop as Hurricane Dan, but a storm is brewing in the 'sphere over Michelle Malkin's book In Defense Of Interment: The Case For "Racial Profiling" In World War II And The War On Terror.

If this story hasn't been on your Doppler of yet, Professor Bainbridge's post is a good place to start. Joe Carter also has a incisive look at the evangelical outpost, where he includes an analysis of how such stories move between the blogosphere and the mainstream media.

Of course Vox Day has been all over this controversy for weeks now. Here's one of his most recent posts on it. If you really want to get in-depth, browse through his archives where you'll be able to find fifty, maybe sixty posts covering it. I exaggerate only slightly.

Better yet, tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network this Saturday when we'll have Vox on to discuss this issue. He'll join us in the third hour at 2pm CST. If you live in the Twin Cities tune in AM-1280 The Patriot. Otherwise listen over the live internet stream.

We had Michelle on the show a couple of months ago to talk about the book. Now you'll have a chance to hear an opposing point of view. And ain't that what it's really all about?

UPDATE: King has further words of wisdom on this matter.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

All You Gotta Do Is Call

I just got off the Palantir with Karl Rove and he commanded me to pass on this message from the Hennepin County Bush/Cheney '04 folks. As you wish master.

Just 44 days until the election and we are in a sprint to the finish line. Many of you have expressed an interest in volunteering. Now is the time. The President needs your help. You don't want to wake up on November 3rd to a president-elect Kerry do you?!

We now have an Edina/Bloomington phone bank open every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6-9pm from here on in.

Please consider putting in a shift or two before November 2nd. We are especially in need of callers this week.

These calls are to supporters and are easy!!!!!

Frauenshuh Companies
7101 W. 78th Street Suite 100
On border of Bloomington and Edina.

The building is just past Northwest Athletic Club. Same side of street. Green roof, reddish brick. About four stories high.

If you want to sign up go to MN for Bush '04. Sign up early. Sign up often.

Strib Crying Over Spilt Manure

The Star Tribune editorial board is somewhat distraught over the Dan Rather memo fiasco.

You might assume that their angst over this matter would stem from the shoddy journalism and questionable ethics employed by CBS. But while they do a bit of tut-tut ting and mildly rebuke Rather et al for their actions, the real reason for the Strib's displeasure is displayed at the end of the editorial:

Of course it's possible that the details CBS reported about Bush's National Guard service will turn out to be correct; while the memos are suspect, Rather interviewed a contemporaneous source who confirmed the events they describe, and other news organizations are looking into the matter. But now it scarcely matters for CBS. Rather let something delicate and precious slip through his fingers, and the pieces will never quite fit together again.

Now, what is this "delicate and precious" thing that Rather let slip that spawns the Strib's Gollumesque reaction? It's the opportunity to do harm to President Bush. They're not upset with their journalistic brethren for CBS's disgraceful behavior in using forged documents to create a story. They're upset because in doing so, CBS blew their chance to really nail Bush.

All You Gotta Do Is Click

Mike from e-mails to report that:

I took the list from Fraters Libertas and loaded it into web-based email software. Instead of copying chunks of emails into Outlook, etc - they can fill out one little form and I mail-merge individual emails to all the affiliates at once. (exactly like we did with shareholders till one threatened to sue) I'll also be working (probably all night) on building a spreadsheet of affiliate responses - you'll be able to scroll down and see what *your* affiliate, or any other affiliate for that matter, has already said. Keeping a compiled list in one place will let us not only beat up on those who still need it - but praising those who do the right thing.

Go here to see how easy it is hit all the CBS affiliates with one click.

Looking For A Good Home

Wanted: A good home for an excitable pure bred left wing activist. DNC certified. Goes by the name Eli, but also responds well to "Bush Lied!" Can be aggressive at times and tends to bark profanities. Good with children unless they are fascist, brown-shirted Boy Scouts. Housetrained, but you may want to lay some issues of National Review on the floor just in case. Runt of the litter intellectually speaking. Immunized against logic and reason. Rabies free despite occasional foaming at the mouth. Loves to have his ego stroked. Comes with tin foil, Michael Moore Jerky Treats (high in fat, devoid of nutritional content), and Karl Rove chew toy.

Don't Cry For Me Minnesota

Remember that clod we elected governor back in '98, during the calm before the storm, when politics was considered so trivial that people in Minnesota thought it would be amusing to have a wrestler running the state?

Fresh off his fellowship at Fair Harvard, he's back in the news pouting because, "I have no one to vote for":

Former Gov. Jesse Ventura said Tuesday that he doesn't plan to vote in the upcoming elections because his views don't align with any presidential candidate and because Independence Party candidates likely won't appear on the Minnesota ballot.

"I can vote against someone if I want, but I have no one to vote for," he said after giving a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Sniff. Poor Jesse. Has the American electoral process let you down booby? Awwww. We feel so soway for you. Poor baby.

The election just won't be the same now that you've taken your ballot and gone home.

You want something to really cry about Jesse? Take a look in the mirror (WARNING: not suitable for viewing by children under twelve. May cause night terrors and lasting psychological damage.)

Nothing can stop it now. Nothing.

The Golden Girl e-mails with some wedding planning advice for Atomizer:

So today we learn that the Atomizer is a thirty-seven year old unlicensed architect. He's not a short fat bald guy named Costanza (alias Art Vandalay), is he? If so, someone better warn the Atomizerette not to lick the wedding invitation envelopes.

Speaking of Atomizer's upcoming hitching, posting may be light for the rest of the day as Saint Paul, JB, and I are off to pick up our gift for the lucky couple. Nothing sets a bride and groom up for a future of matrimonial bliss like a crate of Plymouth Rocks. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Off Target

I have received a number of e-mails pointing out that Target Visa credit cards are in no way associated with Citibank. Keep your scissors away from the red bullseye.

Chicken Dance

In six short weeks I will officially join the ranks of those bound in Holy Matrimony, although I'm told that no actual physical binding will occur on the Big Day or for any foreseeable time thereafter. The jury's still out as to how I feel about this.

I approach this particular milestone in my life with no trace of trepidation aside from the persistent feeling that my beautiful bride-to-be will one day come to her senses and drop her soon-to-be-middle-aged unlicensed architect fiancée with a sporadic blogging habit and a raging addiction to both gin and nicotine for a more suitable lifelong partner (an out of work crack whore, perhaps?). The nuptial preparations have reached a feverish pitch, nonetheless.

In fact, the lovely Atomizerette and I have come to the point in the wedding planning process where things finally get interesting. I speak, of course, about the Gift Registry Stage. Up until now, it has been all about flowers and music and dresses and shoes and rings and invitations and meal selection and napkin presentation. I'm not joking here, folks. Our "Event Coordinator" recently asked us how we wanted the napkins to be displayed on the dinner tables: fan-fold, tri-fold or elegantly placed in each guest's water glass (before the water is introduced, I presume). We opted for the tri-fold. We ain't savages, for cryin' out loud!

This Gift Registry Stage is something that I can really get excited about. All I have to do is walk the floors of a few local retail establishments with a laser scanner in my hand, pull the trigger whenever I catch a glimpse of an item that tickles my fancy and two months later it appears in my living room. (I must mention here that the "movie cop" approach to gift know what I mean...prowling around the store with the barrel of the laser gun pressed up against your cheek and "surprising" your target with the quick aim and shoot funny only once. ONCE!!!)

That's where we found ourselves this past Sunday afternoon, roaming the racks at Pier 1 and Marshall Fields picking out things that we really don't need but feel obligated to ask for. And why not, really? I've been on the giving end of so many weddings in my thirty-seven years, that it's about time I'm on the receiving end. Gimme what's mine, dammit, and to hell with practicality! I'll take one of those pasta machines, a deep fat fryer, a couple of those crystal martini glasses and a jewel encrusted cocktail shaker...and don't forget about the place settings!

By the time we're through with this thing, we'll be able to serve homemade crepes, onion rings and orrechetti to the entire Togolese Republic on fine bone china plates...and everyone gets a free matching gravy boat as a parting gift.

As engrossed in this process of amassing a great fortune of useless items as I was, I couldn't help but notice a very disturbing trend. Everywhere I looked, there were chickens. Chickens on serving platters. Chickens on salt and pepper shakers. Chickens on cheese plates. Chickens on napkins. Chickens on napkin rings. Chickens on aprons. Chickens on plaques. Chickens on candleholders. Chickens on clocks. Chickens on photo holders. Chickens as centerpieces.

Pier 1 even had little wooden poseable chicken dolls placed on various furniture items throughout the store. I have no idea if these little beasts were for sale or if the cursed bastards were sent here to torment me by the devil himself but by the end of our shopping spree, I was more than a little creeped out.

Suffice it to say, if I see one freaking chicken on "Gift Opening Day", I'm going to lose it. Unless, of course, the little guy comes with the Presto Cool Daddy electric deep fryer with removable pot. I could really use one of those.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

alt dot nerd dot obsessive

It's way too early to start speculating on this sort of thing, and the whole idea is really a little far-fetched, but after seeing this would it be so hard to imagine that when Time names its 2004 Person of the Year it could be (gulp)...

...The Blogger?

Before you dismiss this out of hand and shout me down as a raving lunatic (I'm looking at you Saint Paul) consider that the 2003 Person of the Year was the American Soldier, the 2002 Persons of the Year were "The Whistleblowers" (currently residing in the "where are they now?" bin), and in 1982 the Time "Machine of the Year" was The Computer.

Of course the question would then be how The Blogger would be represented on the cover. I'm thinking Comic Book Guy from The Simpson's in pajamas or boxers. Other ideas?

Loosely Affiliated

Jim Geraghty at The Kerry Spot has posted some of the responses that his readers are getting from CBS affiliates. It seems as if many of them are doing everything they can to distance themselves from CBS News and Dan Rather in particular.

John from Colorado shares his response from KCNC in Denver:

Firstly, I would like to take a moment to thank you for your letter. Please know that your comments are being read and shared with our partners at the network. As you may know, our newsroom here in Denver operates independently from the network newsroom in New York. As the former news director here at KCNC, I can tell you that credibility, fairness, balance and accuracy are more than words to us. They are guideposts to how our news team does its job each day. It's that commitment to you that we hope gives you reliable coverage here in Denver. We will continue to do that for you. As I wrote, this is certainly a matter of continual discussion between CBS News and News4. Your comments will be added to those from our other news viewers who also feel passionately about this issue and about the integrity of news broadcasts.

I'm still waiting to hear back on this matter from our local CBS affiliate in the Twin Cities (WCCO-TV, Mr. Trey Fabacher-Station Manager if anyone is interested).

Here is the list of general managers of CBS affiliates in the United States again. (NOTE: The KCBS station manager in LA is actually Patrick McClenahan. Which would make his e-mail address: )

If you're looking for a good template to contact affiliates, check out this letter by Dave at No Illusions.

We mentioned that some people were cutting up their Citibank credit cards. Bill from Minneapolis e-mails to with more on that:

Maybe you addressed this today, but another thing to keep in mind with Citibank is that they administer (own? are a front for?) other companies' credit cards.

For instance, I have credit cards from Office Max and BP/Amoco that are issued by Citibank. I think my Target card is this way also, but I haven't found any documentation as such. If you look at the back of a credit card statement, it generally shows the bank that issued the card.

Here are contact lists for CBS advertisers and Viacom shareholders.

No Longer A Question Of "If" But "When"

Dan Rather's days at CBS are numbered. He may be able to hang on for a few more months, maybe a year until his "retirement" is made official. Or, if new twists develop in the story, as details now seem to be emerging on a daily basis, and the pressure on CBS and Viacom mounts, be may be forced out in the next few weeks. What do you think?

Party At Your House? Yeah, We Can Make That

How sweet it is. Not only do the Twins clinch their third straight AL Central Division title, they do it by thrashing the whiny Whitties in their house. A little icing was added to the celebration cake because the Twins pounded lippy White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle, who apparently is better at tossing bitter bromides than baseballs.

Hey Mark, before you open your trap and spout off again, why don't you actually win something first? Ask the Twins if you need any advice on that. They seem to be getting pretty good at it, while the classless losers you share a clubhouse with don't have a clue.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Word To The DFL

Uh...guys they're fake. Just so you know. Because you might want to take down the story on your website that is based on them. The forged memos I mean. You have heard about this whole thing right? Just checking.

Paradise Regained

In the blogosphere? Gary Larson seems to believe so:

Serving mainly Party faithfuls' political bias is one big reason for the MSM's shrinking pool of readers and viewers. Surveys show the public is not buying into their one-sidedness. In free and open encounters, blogs are winning, winning big, among the informed classes. This suits our Republic just fine; truth searches, not petty partisanship, are being well-served. Thomas Jefferson would be proud. And 17th Century poet John Milton would be positively ecstatic.

Call, Complain, and Cut

Don's been on the phone:

Called my local affiliate in South Bend Indiana. They gave me this number for CBS in N.Y. (212) 975-3247

They answered immediately and took my comments.

Might help to post this number and inundate them with comments, complaints, whatever!

Indeed it might. Tim from Palmdale, CA has been busy with his scissors:

Following Mr. Stork's lead, I called Citi Cards to cancel my account. The customer service agent told me that he never heard of someone canceling a card just because Citi advertises on a particular show or network. He offered to up my limit and to issue some sort of a rewards card. My "no thanks" received a chilly response that my account would be cancelled, good day.

If CBS thinks that today's half-hearted apologies are the end of the story, they're sadly mistaken. Once again here are contact lists for:

General managers of CBS affiliates in the United States (NOTE: The KCBS station manager in LA is actually Patrick McClenahan. Which would make his e-mail address: )

Viacom shareholders

CBS advertisers

This story is not over by a long shot and won't be until CBS comes clean and cleans house.

A Site That Only A Monkey Could Love

I'm surprised that Robb hasn't been all over this yet.

The Slightly Less Nutty Professor

Check out the brand spanking new look at SCSUScholars. First a simpler URL. Now a redesign with much better look and feel. Next thing you know the ol' prof will even start combing his hair. Don't go and lose all that eccentric charm at once King.

The Next Great Debate?

Michelle Malkin, Vox Day, the case for and against internment of United States citizens based on their national origin, a one hour debate on the Northern Alliance Radio Network.

It's a done deal, that is, if Ms. Malkin is willing to face perhaps her most ardent and well researched critic, Mr. Vox Day. Vox puts out the challenge today in his World Net Daily column. And he reminds Michelle of something she wrote recently about the post Rather era of media punditry:

The wall between the self-anointed press protectorate and the unwashed masses has crumbled

And if it will help set the proper tone, I will make sure Vox Day agrees to not wash himself before his appearance (which thank goodness, will be via telephone).

Check out Vox's blog and archives for a thorough presentation of his views on Japanese internment during WWII. And if you would find a discussion between him and the author of In Defense of Internment to be enlightening during these troubled times of war and terrorism, consider sending Michelle a note to that affect.

In the event of Ms. Malkin's decline of this offer, this Saturday will be Vox solo (and in that case, he has our permission to shower before hand).

If You Can Make It There...

The local boys who done good provide a comprehensive look at Kerry's Vietnam service in today's New York Post.

UPDATE: Don't miss the second part on Kerry's activities after Vietnam as well.

Rather Revealing

If the e-mails I have been receiving are any indication, the CBS advertisers, affiliates, and shareholders have got to be feeling the heat. Here's a small sample of what I've been getting. Please note that these folks are not exactly die-hard Bush supporters.

Richard hits Citibank where it hurts the most:

This evening I went through my wallet, and to my surprise found two credit cards from Citibank.

With a little research, I found out who to send the cut up cards to. They're in the mail, along with the following letter.

Ken Stork, President
Citi Cards
c/o Citi customer service
PO Box 6500
Sioux Falls SD 57117

Dear Mr. Stork:

Enclosed you will find the remains of my Citi ATT Universal Visa Card. I have had the card for 14 years, and have a $9100 credit limit. I also enclose my AAdvantage Citi MasterCard, which I got earlier this year, and which has a $10,000 limit. I have closed the accounts, and wanted you to know why.

Citi is a regular advertiser with CBS News. As you may know, CBS News recently used forged military documents in an attempt to swing the election against the incumbent, George Bush.

As reprehensible as this would be in peacetime, we are now at war. I lost friends on September 11th, and have others serving in Iraq and Afghanistan now. CBS News tried to remove our Commander in Chief, through fraud and deception.

I cannot support these actions in any way. Even though I have not supported the war or this President, an attempt to subvert our electoral process rises above simple partisan politics.

I will boycott any firm that advertises with CBS News, unless and until CBS fires everyone involved with the story, makes a full public disclosure of the events around the deception, and apologizes to President Bush and the American people.

I have been pleased to do business with Citi, and regret that our relationship must end now. Your service and products have been outstanding. If you cease advertising with CBS, I will be happy to re-activate my accounts.

In a followup e-mail Richard advises:

In going down the list [of CBS advertisers], Citi and American Express are the best targets. Most people aren't going to buy a new car in the next six months, so it's hard to effectively boycot Ford or Kia. If you send an email to Campbell's saying you're not going to buy their soup, they don't know if you do or not. And I'm not going to boycot Zocor if it's been prescribed.

But cut up your credit card and send it to them, and they get the message. When I called and canceled my Citi accounts they just about begged me to stay. On the American Airlines card they offered me 25,000 frequent flyer miles if I'd leave the account open.

The other good thing about targeting them is that they're widespread. I'd bet 60% of the people that read FL have either an Amex card or a Citi card.

If Amex or Citi got 100 people canceling their accounts, they'd move those ads to another show on CBS. If they get 1000, they'll take their ads off CBS all together. They figure that a single customer is worth something like $1000 in profit over his lifetime. It would be a symbolic victory, but a powerful one.

So my suggestion is to focus on those two companies, knock them down, and move on to the next target.

Alastair e-mailed with this:

I thought you might be interested in this correspondence, as I got the inspiration from your post.

By the way, I'm not--I hope--a fellow right winger. Lifelong Democrat, Bush will be my first Presidential vote for an Elephant. And I'm not too happy about him, if that matters...which, actually, it hardly does, given the post 9-11 choices that our country faces.

Jay Newman
General Manager, WJZ-TV
3725 Malden Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21211
phone (410) 578-7507
fax (410) 578-0642

Dear Mr. Newman,

I had the pleasure of corresponding on Friday with David Folkenflik, the Baltimore Sun reporter who is covering the "60 Minutes"-Killian Memos controversy. Having taken the trouble to lay out my view of that situation for him, I thought I might take a moment and share it with you as well.

Unfortunately, the picture is not pretty. And even though my correspondence with Mr. Folkenflik ended only a few hours ago, some circumstances have already changed, and not for the better from CBS News' point of view.

CBS' Journalistic Malpractice prior to airing "60 Minutes"

-CBS did not show that they checked facts in the Killian memos.
-CBS did not produce a single qualified expert in military correspondence who checked the Killian memos for consistency.
-CBS did not produce a single qualified expert in typography who checked the Killian memos for consistency.
-CBS has produced Marcel Matley as the expert who authenticated the memos. Since the broadcast, Matley has backed away, saying that these documents cannot be authenticated.
-CBS suppressed the findings of document experts Linda James and Emily Wills when their analysis showed that the memos were forgeries.
-CBS has named James J. Pierce as an expert who continues to support the documents' authenticity. To my knowledge, nobody knows who he is. [update: he's been found, but further damages CBS' case]
-CBS did not acknowledge that they held only copies of documents, and that experts agree that only originals can be authenticated.
-CBS suppressed interviews conducted prior to broadcast conducted with Killian's family that cast doubt upon the memos' authenticity.
-CBS misrepresented National Guard veteran Hodges' endorsement of the memos. It turns out that he listened to them being read over the phone, while under the impression that they were Killian's handwritten notes.

CBS' Journalistic Malpractice since airing "60 Minutes"

-CBS has not acknowledged that the Killian memos contain errors of fact that make crude forgery a likelihood.
-CBS has not acknowledged that the Killian memos contain errors in military correspondence formatting that make crude forgery a likelihood.
-CBS has not acknowledged that the typography of the Killian memos shows that they were printed from a computer.
-CBS shopped for a favorable expert opinions in the aftermath of the "60 Minutes" broadcast, putting forth as "expert" the opinion of OE70s-era IBM typewriter technician Bill Glennon, after he had stepped forward to defend the Killian memos in the comments section of a prominent website.
-CBS has not acknowledged the dishonest logic of urging disbelief of Marian Knox when she calls the memos forged, but urging uncritical acceptance when she says they reflect what Killian thought. Does CBS find her credible, or not?
-CBS has not reported Killian's son's challenge to Knox's position regarding her working relationship with his father.

Fifteen points, to which I could add others. CBS News has dealt with none of them.


Anyone can see that the 60 Minute memos are forgeries. CBS News never had a case. But they continue to pretend that the memos are genuine. This is contemptible.

I hope that you are aware that New York's behavior will affect the viewing habits of Baltimore television watchers. Aside from checking out "Dan Rather's latest tall tales," I'm urging my family to switch from watching news on Channel 13 to watching Channel 11.

We'll still watch the shows we like (CSI, Survivor, and, sometimes, Amazing Race). We might stay with the weather as well. But what's the point of watching the news if you have to wonder whether the reporters can be trusted?

I hope you have a way to let the network's news division know that they are making a big mistake. I don't think that I'm the only one who feels this way!