Sunday, October 31, 2004

A Break In The Action

It has been a wild and wacky coupla of days. Starting with Atomizer's grooms dinner on Thursday and ending with today's pathetic excuse for NFL football at the Metrodome, which I had the extreme displeasure of attending (Giants 34 Vikings 13), I've hardly had time to catch my breath. In between of course we had Atomizer's wedding (which featured what I believe to be the first ever wedding toast Fisking by the Warrior Monk), the NARN show on Saturday, and dinner with JB Doubtless and his soon to be fiancée (if those wedding toss traditions mean anything) on Saturday night.

Tonight, I'm handling the Halloween candy duties. I've got my lap top on the coffee table, have the appropriate Halloween decor up (lots of skulls, spiders, and candles), a glass of The Dalmore Cigar Malt at my side, and am jamming to a little Halloween Hootenanny. So far the urchin turnout has been light, which may be partly explained by the decorations in my front yard. Not the skulls or spiders mind you. I have a hunch my prominently displayed Bush/Cheney signs may be giving a few of my liberal neighbors pause. What if the candy contains some sort of mind control substance designed to brainwash their childrens? Sounds like just the kind of thing that Karl Rove would do.

I suppose that it doesn't help that the candy choices I'm offering to the trick and treaters are Kickback Bars (made by Halliburton of course), $87 Billion Dollar Bars, and Gummy Ashcrofts (the perfect snack after a long day spent crushing dissent). Still it does seem a bit strange for liberals to be turning down the opportunity for a free handout doesn't it?

The next few days don't promise much of a respite. Monday will involve frantic last minute "get out the vote" efforts, while Tuesday will simply be known as The Longest Day. After I vote and put in a full day of work, I'm going to be doing some roving reporting as part of The Patriot's election night coverage. I'll be hitting both the GOP and DFL victory parties and will try to squeeze in a few other stops at places of interest. We're planning to be on the air from 8pm until 3am (or earlier if someone concedes). The fun is just getting started.

Best Halloween Joke In History

How do hillbillies celebrate Halloween?

They pump kin.

The enduring charm of that joke stems from its universal quality. The denigration of "hillbillies" represents the joke in its classic form. But since the apex of anti-hillbilly consciousness in the 1950's (marked by the satirically withering Beverly Hillbillies television program and the sardonic Ma and Pa Kettle franchise) the "hillbilly" has subsided in our nation's pantheon of disdainful ridicule.

But in the grand tradition of American pluralism, you can use that joke to attack the niche lifestyle group, ethnicity, national origin, or municipality of your choice. It works for anyone for whom you wish to allege has improper levels of intimacy with their direct relations. And doesn't that describe everyone's enemies? For example:

How do people from Hopkins celebrate Halloween?

They pump kin.

Ah yes, it works beautifully every time and it never fails to bring smiles to bigots, xenophobes, and closed minded chauvinists of all ages. And today, Halloween, is the day to use it for its maximum effect.

Have fun kids and Happy Halloween from Fraters Libertas.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

A Shout Out To My Peeps!

A big thanks to the entire Fraters Libertas staff, and others, for their participation in last night's festivities.

To my brother, The Warrior Monk, thanks for your very eloquent toast that succeeded in embarrassing me in front of over one hundred of my closest friends and relatives. I will never...ever...forget it. So watch your back!

To The Elder, thanks for making it through the two scripture readings without breaking off into another one of your "Vote Bush Or Die" monologues. I know how hard it is for you to resist the temptation when there's an open mic.

To Nihilist In Golf Pants, thanks for the outstanding rendition of "Burning Love". The King Himself never sounded so good.

To Saint Paul, thanks for not dancing. One graceless and rhythm-deprived white guy on the dance floor was bad enough.

And, finally, thanks to JB Doubtless and the lovely Doubtlessette who left last night with not only the coveted bouquet but with the bride's garter as well ensuring that he'll be the next Frater to provide free booze and food to his buddies for an entire evening.

That about does it. I'm off to San Francisco with my beautiful bride in a few hours, so have yourselves a great election. I promise to live blog every moment of the honeymoon so you won't miss a thing. Well...ALMOST every moment.

Friday, October 29, 2004

It Has Begun

I am pleased to be "Live blogging" the wedding of our man The Atomizer and his lovely bride The Atomizerette. The A Dog was a tad nervous, but things went off without a hitch (wait, there was a hitch). The Elder gave a beautiful and touching reading from Leviticus, which he referred to as "Levis-us" but after that much Laphroaig, no one noticed.

Our own St. Paul was seen doing some of his stand up in the backyard of the residence, and considering the wedding was literally right next door to our own Governor's Mansion, at one point cried out "Tim Palenty, if you care about bloggers, you will show yourself".

He did not appear.
Stay Golden

It is with mixed emotions we note the birth of a new blog, Girl in Right.

That's the new name of the occasional contributor to Fraters Libertas, formerly known as the Golden Girl. Now that she's hung out her own shingle, she'll no longer be submitting her witty barbs and insightful commentary to us, which is sad. But since she no longer has to put up with our incessant, picayune editorial requirements (particularly the Elder's strange obsession with dangling participles) I expect to see a lot more of her work getting out there. And that's a good thing.

Based on the quality of her inaugural post alone, I'm prepared to say she's a burgeoning force in the blogosphere. And I fully expect 3 or 4 of these per day. Every day. But no pressure, my dear.

(One last editorial correction, in regard to your inaugural post, the Coleman of our derision is Nick Coleman of the Star Tribune, not Norm Coleman of the United States Senate. That latter guy, we like.)

Welcome to the show, Girl in Right. Is it too early to nominate her to the Rocky Mountain Alliance? I know the hazing is brutal, but she can take it. She's from a red state.
The Press Lives!

Rumors of the demise of the press have proliferated in certain circles, based on their complete absence in covering some of the major stories of the year. The many questionable claims of John Kerry about his combat record on which he based his Presidential run, the attempted use of forged documents by a major media institution to influence a Presidential election, and the UN Oil for Food scandal are examples of essential stories that were ignored by our sentinels in the fifth estate, making us wonder if they were indeed dead. Some observers began to wonder if they ever existed in the first place.

Well, I'm here to tell you, they are alive and kicking. In fact they're barking and squawking like the circus is in town.

During lunch I listened to a Pentagon press conference on the radio. A couple of Army spokesman were discussing recent allegations regarding missing weapons from an Iraqi stockpile. I only heard the last 10 minutes or so, but the spokesmen did a fine job in presenting the case that the US armed forces secured and later destroyed the overwhelming majority of munitions discovered during the charge to Baghdad. (Remember, they were still engaged in combat operations at the time, and that mission's accomplishment wouldn't be realized for several more weeks. Posting rear guard security teams was not, and should not have been, priority one. Are we clear on that?) The spokesman also reiterated that the preponderance of evidence is that the Al-Qaqaa depot was vacated before the US established control of the country.

But the press wasn't at all satisfied with the explanations given. Lordy, you should have heard the baying of these jackals (as Jesse Ventura used to call them). Every time one of the spokesman would pause in their answer, three or four reporters began desperately shouting questions, all talking over each other in blustering cacophony of righteous inquiry. It sounded like a bad science fiction movie, where the panicked press is trying to get some answers after the President announced we're about to be invaded by Flying Atomic Monkey Overlords. ("Yes, but sir, is it true the Flying Monkey Overlords acquired their weapons due to the negligence of US troops in a combat zone?")

When one of the reporters would finally shout down the others long enough to get to ask their question, the skepticism and insinuation oozed from their voice. You could literally hear their rumpled brows and askance looks over the radio. It was righteous outrage we haven't seen since, well we haven't seen it since George W. Bush's twenty year old DWI conviction was announced in late October 2000.

An impressive performance by the press, I must say. Hard to say how all of this will play out. But one thing is clear, the press is doing all they can to make this politically motivated, poorly reported, poorly understood, OLD news enough of a scandal to shave a few points of the President's total on Tuesday.

But what do you expect? They are the press. Showing some judgment and professional standards of objectivity, now THAT would be an October surprise.

The Gang That Couldn't Add Straight

More disturbing news continues to trickle in regarding former Fraters Libertas endorsee for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor (pant pant) Jill Wilkinson. According to the Pioneer Press:

Libertarian Party officials say they believe criminal charges may be filed soon against their former treasurer, who they say has taken thousands of dollars of party funds.

Jill Wilkinson, 44, of St. Paul also is a candidate for the Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Board.

"We're at the point where we have calculated the final tally," state party chairman Ron Helwig said. "It's about $12,000. She was treasurer and actually one of our best workers, and a good volunteer."

Which shows nothing improves the performance of a "volunteer" than 12 grand in compensation, fraudulent though it may have been.

I do have to question the timing of this story, breaking only now in both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune, a mere week before the election. I wonder, could all of this simply be the October surprise we've been warned that incumbent Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Supervisor Marj Ebensteiner was going to spring? Ebensteiner is DFL endorsed and you know how those people are when it comes to manipulating the press in order to win elections.

This Wilkinson theft story is actually old news. Way, way, way back in late September, the Libertarian Party newsletter already covered this story, with the addition of a few more details:

The theft came to light when the party got an eviction notice from the owner of LP headquarters, who said the rent hadn't been paid in three months, [State Chair Ron] Helwig said.

Treasurer Jill Wilkinson had held the position for a little over a year. Her husband, Colin Wilkinson, was a member of the state executive committee and has also resigned. He showed up at an executive committee meeting Aug. 9 and read his wife's statement in which she admitted her guilt, Helwig said. He also agreed to pay back the money, at $400 per month, and has already paid the $3,000 in past-due rent, so the LP won't be evicted.

... Jill Wilkinson says her daughter and members of a gang have been extorting money from her with threats of violence.

I don't know what's more pathetic, Wilkinson's claim that her fraud was motivated by an extortion attempt by her own daughter. Or that there's a gang in Minnesota hoping to get rich by shaking down the Libertarian Party. What's next for them, muscling in on the lucrative Socialist Equality Party action?
Voting Advice for the Tragically Hip

The Suburban Nihilist emerges from his dark night of his soul long enough to impart some much needed perspective on the various 'get out the vote' campaigns being shoved down our throats this election season.

Easily manipulated, conspiracy-believing, ennui-ridden Uptown types may want to pay particular attention to his 10 entirely legitimate reasons not to vote, which include:

Since ballots are secret, you really don't know if yours counted.

If you are voting Republican, union thugs might beat you. If you are a minority and voting Democrat, the police might do same. While both these statements are probably BS, why chance it?

In the time it takes to vote, you could watch your favorite TV show, possibly twice.

Driving to the polling place pollutes the environment.

Hard to argue with that logic. Let me add that many are speculating a record high voter turnout this year. Everybody is doing it. So much so, it's bordering on cliché. Those desperately trying to stay ahead of the hipness curve may want to stay away from the polling place on Nov. 2. Not voting is the new black.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Eye Candy For Lileks

For all the best in 1950's graphic design, check out the wonderful Ephemera Now site. Thanks for the tip Wes.

Endorsement Paralysis

The researcher formerly known as "Ace," Jim Styczinski informs us of a breaking development in the hotly contested Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor race:

The Star Tribune is reporting that our endorsee for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor, Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson, has admitted to embezzling $10,000 from the Libertarian Party.

I recommend Fraters Libertas withdraw the endorsement, and endorse perennial write-in candidate Bart Simpson. Unless of course you (Saint Paul) live in District 3 (East Side of St. Paul) and are willing to throw your hat in the ring yourself. You could live blog all of the Soil and Water Conservation meetings.

As inviting as that sounds, I do not live on the hard rockin' East side. And since the Payne Reliever closed, I don't have much reason to go over there at all anymore. So I must reject this draft movement. To quote William Tecumseh Sherman, "if nominated I will not run, if elected I will not serve."

Or if you prefer a paraphrase of another Sherman quote, "Soil and Water Conservation is hell!" (I won't even bring up this other Sherman quote, made during the Civil War and which I m sure every commander in Iraq can empathize with.)

Since we relied on Jim's research for our endorsements in the first place, and now it appears he's squandered our credibility by advising us to endorsing a criminal, I say let the punishment fit the crime. Vote Jim Styczinski for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservations Supervisor!

But, I wonder, do we really have to withdraw our endorsement from Ms. Wilkinson? As the liberals like to say about Saddam Hussein, "we know he was a bad guy, but ....".

"But" indeed. Extenuating circumstances may exist to allow us to adopt a relative morality. For John Kerry and the liberals in Congress (don't you love those ads?) some abstract concept of "stability" excused Saddam's mass murder and continuous, egregious violations of his surrender agreement after Gulf War I. In the case of Wilkinson's crimes, can't we find something to rationalize our continued support of her?

The Star Tribune does provide us with one such reason:

"The libertarians run for these smaller offices. They infiltrate and then destroy," [Wilkinson's opponent] said.

Wilkinson acknowledges that her party advocates downsizing government. "We can't abolish all of government," she said. And she said she has no plans to abolish the Ramsey County conservation district. "But if it's proposed, I'll listen," she said.

You hear that? She's got an open mind, people! Sure, it's an open mind about infiltrating and destroying. But an open mind, nonetheless. Who could possibly vote against someone with an open mind?

OK, maybe that's not enough to salvage our endorsement of her. If only there were some guidance we could get on this matter. For instance, if there was a prominent elected official who has been convicted of theft, yet is running for office again. And maybe our local newspapers would have to decide on whether or not that's a disqualifying criteria in their endorsements. That would definitely help us decide what to do. Our brethren in the Main Stream Media could show us the way. If only ....

If only they'd address the strange case of Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-Minneapolis). As you may recall, a few months ago this 32-year veteran of the legislature and member of the Democratic leadership was caught red-handed stealing Republican campaign literature and convicted of theft. Now she's blithely running again, assuming it's no big deal to be involved in election fraud while you're a public servant.

After she pleaded guilty Thursday to stealing campaign fliers from New Hope, Minn., (sic) residents' door steps, Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, said Friday she does not think her conviction will affect the upcoming election.

I'm sure she does think that. With assumed power does go arrogance. But what about the professional journalists composing the institutional voice of the Star Tribune? Are they willing to overlook her brazen attempts to disenfranchise the good people of New Brighton and to subvert the very foundations of our democratic system? I can't tell for sure yet. Both it and the Pioneer Press have been suspiciously silent about this race.

The closest I can find to a professional journalist judgment on the race in 57B is the Minnesota Daily (the student paper of the University of Minnesota, whose main campus lies within Kahn's district). These budding young journalists ran a profile of the candidates, including Phyllis. But for some reason, they didn't see it fit to even mention the fact Representative Kahn was convicted of election fraud. They teach the kids well over at that journalism school, don't they? Keep your eyes out for the reporter, Stephanie Kudrle. With clippings like this in her portfolio, she's a cinch to someday be the new Capitol reporter at the Star Tribune.

She does get a few quotes out of public servant Kahn:

When asked if she ever plans to retire, the Democrat laughed. "I have unfinished business," she said.

Which I guess means she didn't steal every piece of campaign literature she intended to. Look out New Brighton Republicans, she's got unfinished business to do! There's also this:

"No one ever accused me of not having fresh ideas," she said.

No, but someone did accuse (and convict) her of misdemeanor theft, while in the commission of perpetrating election fraud. Which, to be fair, is probably not a fresh idea for the DFL.

Getting back to our deliberation, to withdraw or not withdraw the endorsement of the thief Jill Wilkinson. I think using the model of the mainstream media is the only responsible course of action. They've been at this game a lot longer than we. Plus, they know stuff.

Therefore, Fraters Libertas is proud to announce its endorsement for District 3 Ramsey County Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor is .... Phyllis Kahn.

Congratulations Phyllis and good luck on November 2.
Fairy Tales Can Come True...

It can happen to you. If you're young at heart.
Our Little Boy Is All Growed Up

Finally, after months of anticipation, the big day is almost here. No, I'm not taking about that silly election thingy next week. I speak of the long anticipated and hotly wagered wedding of Atomizer.

That's right ladies. As of this Friday around 6:45pm CST, Atomizer will no longer be available on the free agent market. His rights have been snapped up (in ways he can't even possibly yet imagine) and he's expected to sign a lifetime contract.

The whole Fraters crew will be on hand to witness this blessed event (and pay off our bets). I will be goose stepping guests down the aisle in my role as usher, while Saint Paul and JB will be live blogging every second of the sacred ceremony.

Then the reception, where I plan on delivering a blistering ninety minute "toast" detailing why everyone in attendance is morally obligated to vote for President Bush. It's all the couple really wants for their wedding present don't ya know.

Next, the newly married sweethearts will jet off on their well-deserved honeymoon. And where else would you want to be during a bitter, acrimonious election than a tolerant, open minded place like San Francisco? Atomizer has promised to keep us updated with round the clock reports, including pictures of how election day plays out in the city by the bay.

Starve The Beast

Up to this point, I have not been able to get too worked up about the missing munitions story. I suppose it's because I've become so cynical and jaded about the motives of the mainstream media and the bias inherent in the system (help! I'm being repressed!) at places like CBS and the New York Times that nothing surprises me anymore. I've become so desensitized that I merely shrug when I read that it appears likely that the New York Times, CBS, Democratic campaign operatives, and a UN stooge worried about job security colluded in a last minute attempt to influence the outcome of the US presidential election. Meh. As Homer might say, "Yeah, but what are you going to do?"

This morning, I realized that this story was actually a clarion call to action for conservatives. But not a one-off, write angry letters, boycott select advertisers, kind of reaction. This story once again points out the need for a long term, all encompassing response to the bias in the mainstream media.

The most effective approach to weight loss is not yo-yo dieting, but rather a lifestyle change that includes eating better and exercising. We need to take such an approach to the media. We need to make long lasting media lifestyle changes.

I used to believe that the best way to fight the liberal media was to engage them on their turf. I used to subscribe to the Star Tribune, sent letters to the editor, and submitted commentary pieces.

But now I've reached the conclusion that the proper approach is to delegitimatize and marginalize the most egregious offenders. And the way to do this is to cut them off entirely. The fuel that feeds their fire is advertising revenue. Advertiser revenue that is generated on the belief that consumers are reading, listening, or watching each particular media outlet.

Newspapers and magazines don't make their money on subscriptions. They use (and in some cases, inflate) their subscription base to sell advertising. Television and radio use their ratings to sell advertising.

In order to fight media bias, we must stop feeding the fire. The multi-headed media beast must be starved. I urge you to step back and take an inventory of your media lifestyle. It's time to make some changes.

If you subscribe to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, or any other newspaper with an outright liberal bias, you must cancel your subscription immediately. There are no more excuses. Yes, you're going to miss out on some sections of the paper that you've come to enjoy and rely on. Tough. The conduct of the these institutions in this campaign leaves no question as to where they stand. Conservatives cannot, in good conscience, continue to subscribe to newspapers that are so obviously committed to doing whatever it takes to promote a left wing agenda and liberal candidates.

Starve the beast.

It goes beyond newspaper subscriptions. You need to take a good hard look at the advertisers who stream revenue into these papers and consider whether you want to continue patronizing them. They are the ones keeping the papers in business and should be held to account. This goes beyond the major dailies too. Why should I buy a product or service from a company that helps propagate the childish political rantings of an alternative weekly like the City Pages? Take your business elsewhere, but be sure to tell those companies that you're choosing not to do business with exactly why.

I don't think that many business owners make a connection between their advertising and the political bias of these papers. But they should. I understand that if you own a business your primary motivation is to succeed, and to do that you need to attract customers. But at what price? Are you willing to sell your political soul for a few pieces of silver?

Starve the beast.

The same goes for "mainstream" magazines. Time, Newsweek, and US News and World Report? Gone. Seriously. What are you possibly getting out of them that you can't find on the internet anyway? While you're at it, you might as well throw People on the ash heap of history as well. You'll sleep better at night.

Starve the beast.

Television news. First off, no one should ever watch CBS News again under any circumstances. On Election Night the normal temptation is in flip back and forth between the various cable and networks news channels to try to stay on top of everything. But next Tuesday you must not even think about hitting CBS News. In fact, you really should never watch anything on CBS ever again. Really. What's more important to you: who the next president is or CSI:Toledo? Sacrifices people. We all need to make sacrifices. I will grant a special dispensation for those living in AFC cities to be allowed to watch football on CBS.

I would also encourage you to not watch the news on ABC, NBC, or CNN. If you must, don't tell anyone that you do and if you ever have a chance to fill out a Nielson survey make sure that you shut them out.

Starve the beast.

If, for some inexplicable reason, you are still giving money to public radio or television, kindly cease and desist this practice immediately. You are funding the Garrison Keillors and Bill Moyers of the world. Need I say more?

Starve the beast.

We can whine and complain all we want about the conduct of CBS News and the New York Times and how unfair they are blah, blah, blah. But unless we're willing to make systemic changes in our behavior as media consumers, we're going to be in the same place next time around wondering why we're always on the short end of the stick.

Stop reading their crap. Stop watching their crap. Most importantly, stop buying their crap. Stop feeding the beast.

Go Vikings

Life is pretty sweet right now for Vikings fans. At 5-1, the team holds the second best record in the NFC. The quarterback is having a season for the ages, we keep producing new star running backs on a weekly basis, and no players have been arrested for DWI or assaulting a traffic cop with their Lexus for many, many months.

Even the compound fracture to our souls, suffered during last year's excruciating season ending collapse to the Cardinals, is beginning to heal. It looks like all systems are go for a playoff run, and maybe, just maybe a Super Bowl victory, to finally banish the ghosts of post season failures past. Hey, the formerly pathetic Red Sox can do it, why can't the Vikings?

Yep, everything seems to be sunshine and happiness for Vikings fans. Right?

Wrong. According to Sports Illustrated, the guy that owns the team hates you:

... if McCombs had his druthers, he'd be getting ready to move the Vikings to Los Angeles. "Let's face it. I would love to be in L.A.," McCombs said in an interview before the Vikings' 20-3 victory against the Tennessee Titans at the Metrodome on Sunday.

No, he's not singing a Randy Newman tune. He's upset that the people of Minnesota won't build him a new football stadium. And he admits, if it were up to him, he would have already moved the team to the second largest media market in the country, which happens to be without an NFL team. Except:

I just can't pick up and go to L.A.; that's a league issue. I'm a team player, so I'm not going to test the courts and run off in the middle of the night.

Yes, that's what he is, a team player. Unfortunately, Vikings fans are on a different team than he is. McCombs's loyalty belongs to his fellow owners. And, god love them, they're holding Red to the terms of the NFL's agreement with the Minnesota Legislature back in 1977, that they'd keep a team here until at least 2011, if we succumbed their last stadium demand, resulting in the much reviled Metrodome.

So it looks like Red and us are stuck with each other for a while. Which is fine. Maybe we can still win it all, despite him. And we haven't had the consensus necessary to chant that the owner of a local team "sucks" since Norm Green and the North Stars left town.

(Ed note: The title of Saint Paul's post should actually have been "Skol Vikings")

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Swingin' And Swayin'

Must be a bit boring these days for the vast majority of the country who don't live in a battleground state. 'Round 'bout these parts, you need a program to keep track of all the comings and goings of the prominent figures from the Kerry and Bush campaigns. Heck, we even had us one of them real life Holleewood celebrities in town pimping for votes the other day. Some feller named Ashton Kutcher. Supposed to be a prankster from what I hear.

Kutcher, a 26-year-old Iowa native, appeared with Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards, Chris and Andre Heinz, Max Weinberg and Jeff Tweedy of the band Wilco on Tuesday at the Sports Pavilion. Approximately 3,500 people attended, campaign spokeswoman Stacie Paxton said.

Sounds like an event that JB would have liked to attend. Wonder if his invite got lost in the mail?

Anyway, word around town is that the big cheese hisself is going to gracing our fair state once again this Saturday. Down at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Doors open at 10:30am and close at 2pm. You can get yer tickets to see the prez at the Bush/Cheney campaign HQ in St. Paul or at

Premier Foods
842 Vandalia Street
Saint Paul, MN 55114

Both locations will be dispensing ducats from 9am until 8pm.

It don't mean a thing if you ain't in a state that could swing.

As Heard on the Radio

The friendly NARN competition, Dave Thompson from KSTP, emails his thoughts on John Kerry ...

As all political observers know, campaigns are often won and lost on "little" issues that sometimes have nothing to do with substantive issues. Most pundits agree that the slight surge for President Bush following the third debate was, at least in part, the result of Senator Kerry's unseemly reference to Mary Cheney's sexual preference. The power of this comment came from its demonstration of Senator Kerry's lack of character and judgment.

Earlier this week we learned of the report that 380 tons of explosives disappeared from Iraq right under the nose of U.S. forces. Upon further review, as they say in the NFL, this allegation is dubious at best and an outright lie at worst. Even Kerry's number one foreign policy shill, Richard Holbrooke, stated, "I don't know the truth."

Nevertheless, Senator Kerry continues to hammer the President on "facts" that have been disproved. This is yet another demonstration of Senator Kerry's lack of character and judgment. But this goes well beyond the Mary Cheney debacle, because this story has policy implications.

It does not take a professor of logic to see the disingenuous nature of Kerry's criticism. First, if such stockpiles of weapons existed despite the most excellent efforts of Hans Blix and the boys, then I guess the inspections weren't working so well after all. Second, Kerry now alleges that Saddam likely put these weapons into the "wrong" hands. Well, if he believes Saddam was ready, willing and able to put these weapons in the wrong hands despite the efforts of the U.N., then Bush's war looks pretty reasonable.

On Wednesday morning, the President started his attack on this issue. He should continue his attack until the last voter leaves the last open polling place. John Kerry really stepped in it on this one.

Very true. For those wishing to hear more about it, Dave broadcasts his radio show on KSTP during a certain weekend afternoon day part that will go nameless.

Hey, if he wants more publicity, he can buy an ad on Northern Alliance Radio, Saturdays 12-3PM on AM1280, the Patriot.

One radio show accepting ads from another radio show on at the same time? Are we insane? Yes, insane for ratings! (And ad revenues!) We're breaking all thre rules! Hear it all for yourself this Saturday on the Patriot! Heee-aaaah!!!
Today's Leftist Lunch Feature Presentation

From today's Pioneer Press, here are the scream headlines in the Nation/World section:

Allawi Blames U.S. for Ambush (Associated Press)

CIA Stalls Report on 9/11 Failures (New York Times)

Allies Pressure Powell on North Korean Talks (Knight Ridder News Service)

This story also includes the bonus picture of a despondent Korean in a fishing hat holding a picture of Colin Powell with an "X" through his face. Powerful stuff. Nothing illustrates Bush's arrogant foreign policy more than the despondency of the Korean recreational fishing community.

Commander Denies Weapon Site Searched (New York Times)

Although they tried, the Kerry campaigners in the press missed their chance for maximum effect on this headline. The article is a defense of the claim that the US was negligent in securing the Al-Qaqaa weapons depot. But the headline is too vague to be interpreted in an overtly partisan manner. Next time I suggest something more to the point, like "US Failure Aids Terrorists". In fact, that could be the name of a special section, maybe for the Nov. 1 issue.

We'll see what else the press has planned as the week progresses, but today's efforts deserve recognition. It's the first one page quadruple hit piece parade I've seen yet. No doubt it's the final election week drive pushing the Pioneer Press editors to do all they can to help their team win, the appearance of propriety be damned.

Believe it or not, I was unable to find a single pro-Bush headline, or hell, a positive development on anything, in the entire world. So instead I pulled out the comics page. Thankfully, we'll always have that rascal Fred Basset watching our back. Check out this wry, subtle commentary on John Kerry's lack of a coherent defense strategy.
I Guess We Always Knew He Didn't Like Bush

So Andrew Sullivan has come out in support of a Kerry presidency.

Lileks has done a good job taking apart the ridiculous arguments he makes to support this whacked-out endorsement, but as a plain-spoken Midwesterner I will just say that Sullivan is full of crap.

The tortured thinking of Sullivan's and his reasons why Kerry would be a better Commander In Chief betray what I think is his true reason to oppose Bush and it has nothing to do with how he handled Iraq, or terrorism or any other issue. For Sullivan it is personal. The logic goes a little something like this:

1. Bush is religious
2. Those living an alternative lifestyle see religious people as a threat
3. Kerry isn't very religious
4. Therefore Kerry is less of a threat and a better choice for president

But what is the threat? The threat that those in the alternative lifestyle fear is any reminder that what they are doing might (might) be wrong. The wolves of guilt can be kept at bay as long as people don't "Judge" them. And who are those that they feel are judging them? Religious people. People who haven't embraced moral relativism. People who might not be all that willing to happily support two dudes getting married. People who tend to be Republicans.

In many ways, I guess I can't blame him. Paranoia of the "Religious Right" and their power is not unusual for many people. But Andrew, give us a damn break with the diversions and intellectual wankery about why Kerry would be a better president. Hey, if you want to live in P Town and do your thing nobody really cares, but don't try to sell BS to us about Bush so you don't have to deal with the guilt of your own adult decisions.

While it's true that George W. Bush is no Ronald Reagan, it's not hard to figure out which of the two current choices for president fits more closely in the Reagan mold. James Phillips dusts off a famous Reagan speech from 1964 to bring clarity to the matter in this post at Infinite Monkeys:

Forty Years ago today, on October 27, 1964, Ronald Reagan gave one of the most memorable political speeches of the century on behalf of the ultimately unsuccessful Goldwater presidential campaign: "Rendezvous With Destiny", more popularly known as A Time for Choosing.

On the day Ronald Reagan's died, I listened to "The Speech" again. More than once. And I was struck by how much of it still rings true today. Yes, thanks to President Reagan, we did win the struggle with Communism. But we are now engaged in a titanic struggle with Islamofascism (excuse the melodrama, but it really is such a struggle).

Wax On, Wax Off

Poet extraordinaire Tarzana Joe, e-mails to wax on the missing munitions:

Often the obvious small but important detail is overlooked in the big story. The big question seems to be whether the explosives were there when the American forces moved in or had Saddam moved them before the invasion. The little detail that intrigues me is the notion of international inspectors putting wax seals on the bunkers containing these explosives. If Saddam wasn't supposed to have these explosives or was supposed to be in the process of destroying them, what good is sealing wax? Does the international community think that just because there is a wax seal on the door that would keep us safe? Keep Saddam from using them if he got the notion? They were left in Iraq. They were under his control. Wax was just not going to stop him. For goodness sake, this is the nutty thinking that John Kerry will bring to foreign policy. We can give fissionable material to Iran as long as we keep a copy of the lot number. Then if the Iranians explode a bomb in Detroit, we can trace the plutonium back to them and use that as evidence against them in The World Court at The Hague. Tough luck, Detroit. But we have a pretty good chance to convict them at trial.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Larry King-like Random Musings On The World Series

- Is St. Louis really that pathetic or are the Red Sox on one of those rolls where everything just goes your way?

- Gotta love that National League game don't ya? Nothing like watching a clueless pitcher make a base runner blunder that would get a Little Leaguer chewed out. Yeah, but the DH takes a lot out of the game, right?

- I listened to the first few innings on ESPN Radio while out for a walk. Joe Morgan was talking about how he was surprised that the Cards didn't try to lay down a bunt against Schilling when they faced him at Fenway. What is this BS about "not playing that kind of game" anyway? You're playing for a world championship boys. You do whatever it takes (within the rules of course) to win. In the NHL playoffs, if you find out that one of the star players on the other team is nursing an injury you don't back off, you go after him. Specifically, you go after his injury. It's about making him "uncomfortable" as Morgan put it and it's part of the game. At least it should be.

- I know we're in the midst of a war and all, but can we dispense with the singing of "God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch? I mean c'mon, if we go back to "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" does it really mean that the terrorists have won?

- Memo to Red Sox Fans: I know you haven't had much experience in this, but please, when you finally break The Curse this year, can you act like you've been there before? Get drunk, make a fool of yourself, and puke in an alley or two. But try to refrain from the rioting, arson, and wanton destruction that most of us expect to rack Beantown in the aftermath of a Red Sox victory. It would go a long way to bringing some much needed class to your act.
Pocketbook Indicators

Last Spring, when the price of gas became the topic du jour around the office water cooler, I realized that a good many Americans perceive the cost of fuel as one of the defining measures of how things are going. Whether that perception is based on reality is irrelevant. It exists and it matters to people.

After some further thought on the matter, I concluded that the two most widely known and recognized economic indicators for your average Joe Six Pack or Sally Housecoat are gas prices and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. If you drive a car, you can't help but know what the price of gas is. And if you read, watch, or listen to the news at all, you will come across the DJIA or at least know how the stock market performed that day.

And so I came up with my own completely unscientific, unresearched quick and dirty criteria to predict the outcome of the election based on these two factors.

If the Dow is above 10,000 and gas is under $2 a gallon, Bush wins.

If only one criteria is met, it's a toss up.

If neither is met, things are looking good for Kerry.

Before you rip into my model, please remember that it's nothing more than a shot in the dark. It hasn't been tested or analyzed against historical precedents. I've just been using it as my barometer to try to get a feel for what might happen on November 2nd.

And right now, I'm a bit worried. The average U.S. gas price is $2.06 a gallon, and, even though it rallied nicely today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at 9888.48.

Does this mean that a Kerry victory is in the bag?

Of course not. But it does make me a little nervous.

Monday, October 25, 2004

The Sophistication And Nuance Of The Left

Is on display once again with these bumper stickers for sale on Ebay. But don't you dare call them unpatriotic.
She Knows It...

...when she receives it. As a campaign contribution that is.

Anti-porn candidate returns donation to 'erotic gift' store owner:

A $250 contribution to Democratic congressional candidate Teresa Daly's campaign from the owner of a store specializing in "erotic and risqué gifts" was sent back Thursday, her campaign manager said.

The discovery came amid Daly television ads suggesting that children are "barraged with porn."

Daly, a Burnsville City Council member, is running against GOP U.S. Rep. John Kline in the 2nd District, which runs across the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities area and some rural areas to the south.

The Sept. 14 contribution was from Colleen Bertino, owner of Minnesota-based Fantasy House Inc., which on its Web site advertises "naughty novelties," "liquid sensations," and "leather and bondage."

If you're interested in"researching" the matter further, you can check out the full line of "naughty novelties" and "liquid sensations" at Fantasy Gifts. After all, Christmas is right around the corner...
Speaking of Endorsements...

Ben Johnson provides a run down of foreign leaders who are endorsing Kerry or Bush in this piece at FrontPage. Who says endorsements don't have an impact anymore?
Post Cards As The Edge?

Craig at Lead and Gold has a suggestion for how you can still make a difference in the election:

Go to the post office and pick up 5 or 10 post cards. Send them to people you know but don't see every day. Tell them you are voting for George Bush, tell them the main reason why, and ask for their vote.

This is particularly effective when you write people who are not partisan and who may sit out the election. Works best of all when the recipient is a potential swing vote living in a deep-blue environment (got an aunt who retired to Florida? Or what about a friend's kid who is now away at college?)

And The Winner Is...

The winners of last week's Captain's Quarters caption contest have been announced. I understand the judge is a man of stellar judgment and character, so you'll want to be sure to check it out.
You And What Army?

It seems that the Democrats are willing to do just about anything to win Minnesota on November 2nd including destroying lawn signs, intimidating campaign workers, and stealing literature. Now John Kerry's stepson is promising to unleash a plague of Biblical proportions on our fair state. A horde of lawyers (Bart Simpson shiver of fear). According to the Republican Party of Minnesota web site, Andre Heinz made this statement today at Hamline University:

"And we will have lawyers at the polls, so if anyone tells you 'sorry, you can't vote here' you can say 'I'd like you to meet my lawyer' which is always a fun thing to be able to say."

Yeah, that's just a hoot ain't it Andre? I'm sure our hard-working election judges will find it oh so amusing when some smart-assed young punk who can't follow the simple rules of voting LEGALLY whips out that witty rejoinder. Instead of spending your time bringing in an army of nitpicking litigators, why not educate your "people" so that they vote at the right frickin' place to begin with? If you're not bright enough to figure where to vote, then you probably shouldn't be voting in the first place.

Unfortunately, the only way to respond to such legal thuggery (other than following Shakespeare's oft referenced advice) is to assemble your own goon squad of bullying barristers. Rumor has it that Hindrocket of Power Line infamy is being groomed for just such a role on a team of Minnesota GOP lawyers that will be working the trenches on election day.

On the other side of the aisle, Ember Reichgott Junge mentioned on the Taxpayer's League Show last Saturday that she will be active on the DFL's legal election team.

Hmmm...Ember vs. Hindrocket? I gotta like our chances in that one.

The Endorsements Hit the Dirt

The campaign season is in its final week, which means it is time for the editorial board of Fraters Libertas to momentarily drop its normal standards of fairness and objectivity and reveal our preferences for specific candidates.

Why is Fraters Libertas officially endorsing candidates? Unlike the St. Paul Pioneer Press, we are not endorsing to give our readers a look at how the institution Fraters Libertas might vote if it were to drunkenly stumble into the polling booth. No, we are endorsing so that our sheep-like readers will blindly follow our every dictate, thus increasing our power and influence over every aspect of their lives.

Like real editorial board members, we were too lazy to go out of our way to actually talk to anyone or engage in detailed policy analysis. No, we basically winged it. We did invite all candidates to take part in our candidate interview process. If they didn't happen to see our not entirely obscene, hastily scribbled overture on the men's room wall at Keegan's, that's their problem.

Without further ado, here are our official 2004 endorsements for Soil and Water Conservation Supervisors.

First, some more ado. With the possible exception of air and light rail transit, nothing is more important to our survival than soil and water. Yet the Main Stream Media rarely offers endorsements or even basic information about the non-partisan Soil and Water Conservation races. So once again we, the new media, are forced to fill the information vacuum.

Did you know each county in Minnesota is divided into five Soil and Water Conservation Districts? It's true, and each district is represented by a supervisor elected by, we, the people. The position is unpaid except for per diem. Candidates run in the district in which they reside, but the entire county elects the supervisors in all districts. After all, soil and water conservation does not end at the district boundary. It ends at the county boundary.

(Please note the Soil and Water Conservation Districts are not to be confused with the Board of Minnesota Water and Soil Resources. That's the unelected Star Chamber of jack booted soil and water thugs appointed by the Governor.)

Ramsey County District 2 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

The candidates for the open Ramsey County District 2 seat are Gwen Willems and Dorothy Waltz. Of the four contenders for the two contested Ramsey County seats, only Dorothy Waltz went to the trouble of filling out her campaign biography. She also has a website devoted to her candidacy. Ms. Waltz holds a Masters Degree from the University of Michigan and spent sixteen years on the Dakota County Soil and Water Conservation board.

We are concerned that Ms. Waltz may enjoy the sweet life of a Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor just a little too much. But we have uncovered even more damaging information on her opponent Gwen Willems. She is DFL endorsed.

Fraters Libertas believes that Ms. Waltz is ready to move up from Dakota County to the big time, and therefore endorses Dorothy Waltz for Ramsey County District 2 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

In District 3, incumbent Marjorie Ebensteiner is facing challenger Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson. There have been no major Soil and Water Conservation scandals under Ms. Ebensteiner's watch, and her last name is similar to that of Minnesota Republican State Chairman Ron Eibensteiner (though it is spelled differently). We do not take turning out an incumbent lightly, especially in time of war. But we can't ignore the fact that she is also DFL endorsed.

When we ask ourselves WWKRTUTE*, the clear answer is Jill Elizabeth Wilkinson for Ramsey County District 3 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

*Who Would Karl Rove Tell Us to Endorse

Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor

No fewer than four candidates are vying for the hotly contested Hennepin County District 5 seat. They are Gregory J. Bownik, Jonathan M. Burris, Kevin W. Rodewald, and Michael Wyatt. Unfortunately, we could find no DFL endorsements for this seat, so we are forced to exercise actual thought and judgment.

Gregory Bownik has twice run unsuccessfully for Mayor of Rogers, MN. He received 102 votes in 2000 and increased that total to 826 in 2002. We believe that Mr. Bownik was too quick to give up on the Mayor's Office - we prefer to see more persistence in Soil and Water Conservation Supervisors.

Jonathan M. Burris has no identifiable soil or water credentials. But he is a lawyer and a gay activist. The website for his law office,, lists one of Mr. Burris's areas of practice as "Gay Divorce". While we are impressed with the forward thinking on Mr. Burris's part, we prefer to see more persistence in illegal gay marriage covenants.

The domain of candidate Kevin W. Rodewald's e-mail address is While we admire dreamers of any sort, we fear that Mr. Rodewald may have a secret plan to use the bully pulpit of Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor for disseminating propaganda on the benefits of wearing Unisex Hemp Yoga Pants. As you may recall, this was the same criteria we used to withhold our endorsement of Roger Moe in 1998.

Michael Wyatt is a Planner for the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District with ample soil and water conservation experience. Fraters Libertas heaves a sigh of relief and endorses Michael Wyatt for Hennepin County District 5 Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor.

You have your marching orders. Now go out and vote properly. If you don't live in Ramsey or Hennepin Counties, find the addresses of those who do, hunt them down, and get them to vouch for you on election day. Thank you.

(Ace researcher Jim Styczinski assisted in the preparation of this of this report. Questions, comments, and subpoenas related to McCain-Feingold violations should be sent directly to his attention.)
Always On The Sunny Side

Right-wing bloggers are cautiously optimistic about the 2004 election according to this poll conducted by Right Wing News.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Mother Of The Disappeared

An exclusive interview with the mother of the goose that Kerry bagged is now available at This and That:

"Why did my daughter have to die for a Kerry Photo Op?"

Powerful, powerful stuff folks.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

That's Entertainment!

The Strib's hipster-in-residence Chris Riemenschneider
wrote up a little interview he did with Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy, referring to Wilco as "America's most critically lauded rock band" which apparently means something to some people.

I've always gotten a kick out of critics like Riemenschneider. Like so many of his ilk, he is so deeply immersed in an intellectual and pyschological (albeit subconscious) bog of Being Cool that he simply cannot cogently tell us, the reader, if a band is enjoyable or not.

To a critic like Chris, bands that people actually like (Matchbox 20 for example) are to be sniffed at like chain restaurants. The true geniuses are the bands that only Chris and his band of musician friends can appreciate, bands most people have never heard of, will never see and could care less about.

So I have to ask, why the hell does the Star Tribune employ this precious little guy? The City Pages isn't covering the hipster club scene properly? The 46 people who show up at the myriad crappy area clubs to revel in their own uniqueness on a given night are an untapped market for a major newspaper?

I would say less than 1% of the readers of the Star Tribune give a damn about what's happening at the Turf Club or 7th Street Entry, but week after week Chris appears to breathlessly inform us of Where We Should Go. The other music critic of the paper (boomer John Bream) looks like HE is being given the job writing up the stories about bands people actually listen to, like Toby Keith. Chris couldn't soil his rep with such hackery.

I can imagine a conversation when Bream--a boomer who came of age on classic rock and Riemenschneider--a hipster who nursed from the teat of punk, post punk and various assorted "important" music in his formative years first met:

After a few name-droppings of bands Bream has never heard of, he finally breaks down "You don't know the band Grand Funk? The wild, shirtless lyrics of Mark Farner? The bong-rattling bass of Mel Schocker? The competent drum-work of Don Brewer? Oh, man!"

So back to Jeff Tweedy. I've said before that owning a Wilco CD is more about how you want people to perceive you than it is about actually enjoying the music and reading the interview solidified that. Chris writes: "His cough was rougher on the ears than the 10 minutes of feedback at the tail end of his band's quirky new CD, "A Ghost Is Born."

10 minutes of feedback? That sounds like it would be fun to hear! Did someone set a guitar against an amp during a weed break and forget to turn the tape off? That, folks, is what it takes to be "America's most critically lauded rock band". Check out this exchange between Riemenschneider and Tweedy:

Riemenschneider: The song that people are saying is abrasive and challenging is "Less Than You Think," because of its 10 minutes of soft feedback. Explain that one.

Tweedy: We had this song that was a pretty simple, straight-forward kind of folk song that described a very specific kind of chill that you get when you start to feel your insignificance. Like a microscopic existential crisis. But it never felt like it quite completed the thought. I think time expands in those moments.
What happens afterwards was designed to comment on what we were just saying. So the song that might be the most contentious song on the record is in a lot of ways the most thoughtful song for us, and I think the most beautiful song, actually.

What the hell is "Soft feedback"? And I love it, "challenging" to describe atonal noise (which Tweedy thinks is "beautiful"). Are you up to the challenge of actually sitting through 10 minutes of feedback? I challenge anyone to do and tell me it was an enjoyable experience.

I guess the bottom line is why would anyone want to enter Jeff Tweedy's misfit world of such nerdy, dark, nihilistic, depressed (in the interview Tweedy refers to his severe depression, which is unfortunate) garbage? Everything doesn't have to be puppy dogs and ice cream all the time, but is it actually ENTERTAINING to enter the mind of a depressed hipster?

I Decided Not To Kill The Goose Before I Decided To Kill It

After reading a little about the Kerry goose story, I've got to hand it to him. He's done it again--he can now plausibly state both that he killed the goose ("Everybody got one") for his election hopes now and then later, when he is back in full lefty mode he can claim he never really killed one himself if ever challenged by animal rights types.

It's just like the medal chuckin' he did back in the early 70's.

And another thing, in previous interviews he has claimed that he deer hunted with his "trusty double barrel" a dubious claim at best, considering most hunters use rifles or shotguns with rifled barrels (which most double barrels don't have). But when he was out on his goose hunt, a time when his trusty double barrel would be appropriate, he had an over-under, which was referred to in several clueless MSM reports as a "Double-barrel".

If that gun was so special to him as he inferred earlier, wouldn't he have used it?

The NARN Light Is On II

If you live in the Twin Cities area and want to get involved in the election campaign, you'll have yet another opportunity TODAY.

Come on down and join the Northern Alliance Radio Network all-star calling squad at the Minnesota Bush/Cheney '04 headquarters in St. Paul. We'll be there from 4pm-6pm helping to get out the vote and we need your help. You'll have a chance to meet the gregarious gents from the show, win a collectors edition NARN t-shirt, and help President Bush take Minnesota.

The address for the headquarters is:
1445 Energy Park Drive St. Paul MN, 55108


Here's a handy map as well.

After the work, we'll be adjourning to a nearby watering hole for bantering and beer. If you're lucky, Mitch may even favor us with a song. "Muskrat Love" perhaps?
Political Gamesmanship

Clay Calhoun is co-sponsoring a contest to predict the winner of the election and the time (and date) of the loser's concession speech.

Today on Northern Alliance Radio

Another exciting, fascinating Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast is in the works for today. Hosting this week will be Captain Ed Morrissey, Mitch Berg, Chad the Elder and yours truly, 12 - 3 PM (Central) on 1280AM The Patriot. Those in the hinterlands can catch it all on the stream.

Today's highlight promises to be the second hour, John O'Neil from Swift Vets and POWs for Truth and author of Unfit for Command. The Swift Vets have been in the news a lot during this campaign season, but if you haven't personally heard O'Neil's testimony on the facts of John Kerry's service record, you haven't heard the whole story.

To be clear, the Swift Vets didn't form to merely criticize Kerry's war record, they came about as a response to John Kerry's attempt to use a distorted version of his record to mislead the American people into believing he was some kind of war hero, and not that other guy seen throwing his medals to the ground and calling American soldiers war criminals. The Swift Vets organized to counter John Kerry's attempt to use them, the very people he called war criminals, as a tool of his campaign. On several occasions, Kerry sent out the clarion call for his "band of brothers" to join him. And he's intimated that he has their support. This from his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:

Our band of brothers doesn't march together because of who we are as veterans, but because of what we learned as soldiers. We fought for this nation because we loved it and we came back with the deep belief that every day is extra.  We may be a little older now, we may be a little grayer, but we still know how to fight for our country.

Indeed they do. And overwhelmingly the Vietnam vets are fighting for their country by opposing the candidacy of John Kerry.

Tune it today and hear for yourself, it's compelling and persuasive stuff. And none of it has been discredited or "unsubstantiated" as the New York Times would have you believe. I particularly invite critics of O'Neil and the Swift Vets to listen and I defy you to call in and prove O'Neil wrong on a single point. And if you don't call in your silence will be interpreted as complete acceptance of the O'Neil thesis.

Northern Alliance Radio, today 12 - 3 PM, don't you dare miss it.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Floatin' Like The Heavens Above

You ever get a song in you head for no particular reason at all? You know, a song that you haven't heard in years, then BAM one day it breaks in to your conscious and loops endlessly. Usually it's an annoying little ditty that you never liked much in the first place. But now you just can't stop thinking about it. You catch yourself humming it throughout the day, and have to fight the urge to openly break into song.

Well, for some strange reason I'm currently being afflicted by the song "Muskrat Love", a song that no self-respecting man wants any part of. There's really no explanation for it. Out of the clear blue it seeped in and no amount of wishful purging can remove it. Odd, isn't it?

I've always associated the song with The Captain & Tennille, that edgy pop duo from the 70's (who actually have recorded an album as recently as 2002). I did not realize that the song was originally recorded by the melodic musicians of America:

The choice for the album's lead track and first single was "Muskrat Love," written by Oklahoma singer/songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey. "The idea was: each of us was working on three songs, and then we'd agree on a cover tune," Beckley says. "David Dickey had played us Willis Allen Ramsey's album on Shelter, and it had 'Muskrat Love (Muskrat Candlelight)' on it, as it was titled. And to us it sounded like a very bluesy, quirky tune. We just felt it was quirky and commercial, and we worked it up." Warner Bros. was less than enthusiastic about the song, and as a single it made it only to #67. But the "Muskrat" refused to die--Captain & Tennille released their own version in 1976 and scored a #4 hit. "You know that movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton, where you make a copy of a copy of a copy? Well, I think 'Muskrat Love' is a fine example of where the closer you go back to the original seed, the nicer it is. Ours was once removed, and the Captain & Tennille's was even more removed. They got their version from us--they assumed it was our song."

On a completely unrelated note, don't forget to tune in tonight to catch the Northern Alliance Radio Network filling in for Hugh Hewitt. 5pm-8pm CST. Since we've got more hosts than mikes, I believe that Saint Paul will be on the air starting at 6pm, while I'll join the fun at 6:30pm. If you feel the urge to participate, give us a call at 1-800-520-1234.

Happy to Take a Paid Day Off For A Better Minnesota

John Kerry's rally in the Metrodome parking lot yesterday is being hailed as one of the largest in state history. The Kerry campaign's estimate was 30,000. Inflated as that might be by spin, the pictures attest it was an impressively proportioned seething mob.

Big attendance and the pictures provided are the real point of these events. If you can portray an outpouring of genuine support and revved up excitement for a candidate, the independent swing voter might just be swayed. Because deep in his heart, all he really wants to do is support a winner. It's the bandwagon effect and this is partly why polls taken days after an election asking voters "who did you vote for?" typically result in the margin of victory for the winner far exceeding the actual vote tally.

Believe it or not, sometimes the press even helps out in creating the impression of a chosen candidate as Mr. Excitement. For example, the Star Tribune's breathless headline today "Kerry Ignites Dome Crowd" and the objective description provided by the professional journalist on hand was:

Tens of thousands of fans roared their way through an amped-up 34-minute version of the Massachusetts senator's stump speech.

This Kerry fellow does sound like he's some sort of Magic Man. From that description, even I may have to consider voting for him. But I hope his chances aren't hurt by voters confusing him with that other John Kerry. You know, that aristocratic, moribund Democrat we've seen on TV for the past 20 years.

Perhaps the Democratic partisans were really as fired up as the press reports. By their own "Anybody But Bush" philosophy, their standards for excitement are remarkably low. They'd probably be just as jazzed for an appearance by someone as coma inspiring as Walter Mondale. (Oh. Never mind.)

This is the point that is missed in the press reports. The crowd was almost exclusively comprised of rabid partisans. No one was there with an open mind or drawn there on the basis of Kerry's magnetism. The crowd is there to play the game as much as the candidate is. He pretends he's the fresh new voice of optimism and excitement and progress, they pretend they're reasonable, intelligent voters who've conscientiously weighed the issues and realized this man is what the country needs. And it all looks good on TV and in the quotes provided to the newspaper. Things like:

Kerry ignited thousands of supporters, many of whom waited outside the Metrodome in a light drizzle and steady winds for more than two hours. "We need change and we need help and I think he brought that to us tonight," said Marlys Fox, 43, of Columbia Heights.

Getting back to the alleged record crowd for Kerry, I wonder how much of the turn out was due to another event, conveniently being held at the same time. The teacher's union convention started yesterday in St. Paul. These days they call themselves Education Minnesota and their convention is their annual gratuitous demonstration of power to the people of Minnesota. Instead of holding their meetings sometime over their three month break during the summer, they shut down the entire public school system in the middle of the school year. By their own estimates (which again should be looked on with suspicion) 10,000 - 12,000 professional educators attend. This out of their entire membership of 70,000. So the education system grinds to a halt so 17% of the membership can attend a union meeting, while the rest enjoy a nice four day weekend at taxpayer's expense. Showing once again, being a monopoly is good work if you can get it.

I wonder how many in the crowd yesterday were teachers, fresh from their Excel Center meetings and seminars. Or simply teachers who had the day off, and no work the next day either, thus allowing them the luxury of taking hours to participate in a political rally on what is a work night for everyone else.

There's no direct evidence to support this speculation (the local press sure isn't on it), but the teacher's union unyielding support for the Democrats is well established. According to George Will:

one in 10 delegates to the Democratic [National] convention was a member of a teachers union

According to Free Republic (via the AP), the 2.7 million member national teacher's union (NEA):

... has never endorsed a Republican for president and typically spends $9 out of every $10 it raises on Democrats.

All of that money, by the way, provided by YOU. From your property taxes to teachers' salaries to the union to the campaign of John Kerry. Yet another reason to demand school choice - defund the Left!

For these reasons, I think it's entirely reasonable to assume the Metrodome parking lot last night was lousy with teachers. But in actuality, they didn't even need to go to Minneapolis to participate in a partisan political rally. There was plenty of that going on at their convention. Flash from Centrisity was there:

Bob Woodward was the keynote speaker at the Education Minnesota convention. I was fortunate enough to make it in time to get a nice center aisle seat, 5 rows from the front. He opened to a standing ovation, receiving a warm greeting from a crowd who wasn't really sure what he was going to share. He waved us down stating "Please sit down, it's not that good", which was greeted with a room full of chuckles.

Giving a newspaper reporter a standing ovation is a bit much (which even Woodward seemed to realize). But never underestimate the love of this crowd toward those who helped bring down a Republican. The Education Minnesota promotion of the Woodward appearance tends to support this:

Woodward first gained national attention when, as a young investigative reporter for the Washington Post, he teamed up with Carl Bernstein to investigate the burglary at the Watergate office building that eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Bravo! Bravo! Sure, maybe they were only applauding that whole 'speaking truth to power' thing. If so, I expect Matt Drudge to get a standing ovation for instigating the Clinton impeachment, next time he's invited to address Education Minnesota.

More from the Flash at the convention:

This spiel was no rah rah speech like those that preceded his keynote. Prior to him, both Senator Mark Dayton and Garrison Keillor pumped up the crowd in a 'Political Forum'

While it's good to see Mark Dayton has crawled out from his concrete bunker to make a public appearance, the whole idea of a "Political Forum" during a public employee union meeting, featuring a shameless hack like Garrison Keillor, is a little depressing.

Remember, these are the people taking your tax dollars, demanding more and more every year, so they can turn around and give millions to John Kerry's campaign. Who knows how much more of your money they spent on Bob Woodward's and Garrison Keillor's speaking fees. Good citizens, these are the people teaching your kids!

At least they will be on Monday. Remember, they have today off too.
First Thing I'm Gonna Need Is A Driver...

I had an enjoyable if all too brief lunch on Thursday with my nautically inclined Northern Alliance colleague Cap'n Ed. And, after much begging, pleading, and cajoling on his part, I have finally agreed to judge this week's Caption Contest.

Muh-wah-hahahahahahahahahaha! Eggsellent.

I am in charge around here. I will be the supreme arbitrator. I am the judge, jury, and executioner. I alone will separate the wheat from the chafe. All those who wish to curry my favor, must bow down before me. I am your Messiah now.

So get your entries in now so that they be subjected to the withering righteousness of my judgment. Keep 'em short, pithy, and to the point. Quality people, not quantity.
Rocket To The Crypt

Rick is preparing for a test launch:

This weekend I will be flying The Hindrocket; a 52" tall, 10 lb replica of John Hinderaker's Power Line Icon to an altitude of almost a half mile.

I imagine that even the Wonkette would be impressed by that rocket. Check out the details here.

There are unconfirmed reports that, in response to Rick's latest provocation, work has been stepped up on a rival missile project, also dedicated to a well-known figure in the blogosphere. Up to this point however, all previous tests of the Silver Sentinel have been miserable failures, as the rockets have veered off course shortly after launch and crashed into trees.
Sartorial Separated At Birth?

Blog celebrity John The Rocketman Hinderocker...(that's our man on the right)

And game show celebrity Gene Rayburn?

Friends of Democracy

Daniel Henninger has an update on the latest Spirit of America activities in Iraq:

Hope is justified, despite all one has seen and read about Iraq. Hope is justified because of the many Iraqis unseen and unwritten about. Jim Hake and his colleagues at Spirit of America have been working with these Iraqis since April. They have a new project, whose name, Friends of Democracy, was created by Iraqis who want to prepare their country for the idea and practice of democracy in the three month run-up to their January elections.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Real Lives of Country Folk

Sometimes reading Cathy in the Wright is like watching sausage get made. As a committed carnivore I say that in the best possible sense.

That's our Cathy, reminding us what the "red" means in Red State.
Vocabulary Separated At Birth?

Your typical fourteen year old girl and...

Presidential candidate John Kerry:

Kerry returned after a two-hour hunting trip wearing a camouflage jacket and carrying a 12-gauge shotgun, but someone else carried the bird he said he shot.

"I'm too lazy," Kerry joked. "I'm still giddy over the Red Sox. It was hard to focus."

Giddy? Giddy? Not exactly the word that most men would use when emerging from a duck blind now is it? No man that I know at least. How much effort or focus is required to carry a dead goose anyway?

Radio Blogger has more on Kerry's goose hunt.

Fraters Libertas: All waterfowl talk, all the time.
A Message From The Taxpayers' League

From the desk of David Strom:

Here is a shot of a bumper sticker we will begin distributing next week. It would be wonderful if they popped up on cars around the Twin Cities during the last week of the campaign.

Send requests to with name, address, e-mail, etc. and you too can have your very own Star Tribune bias "Mr Yuck" bumper sticker. Let's get these out there (the physical ones will probably be available Tuesday, they are being printed now).

It Ain't Rocket Science

The crew at have introduced a new search option that allows to focus your research efforts on blogs only.
Never Underestimate The Power Of The Curse

Okay, Red Sox fans...knock it off! Your team hasn't won diddley-squat yet. Sure, they beat the Yankees, but allow me to point out that the AL pennant does not come attached to the World Series trophy.

You can burn Beantown to the ground for all I care after the Sox win four more games this year but, until then, act like you've been there before. I know seeing the Red Sox in the Series is as rare as a blue moon on the eighth Tuesday of March, but please, for everyones sake, give decorum a try...and then give it a rest.

And would someone please tell that chucklehead Johnny Damon to get a flippin' haircut fer Chrissakes!

The Elder Adds: I am now being deluged with e-mails from Red Sox fans chastising me for ever doubting their team. It's interesting to note that I received ZERO e-mails of this sort before the score was 8-1 last night and the outcome was no longer in doubt. Yes, they're a confident, happy group of fans. AFTER their team has won. C'mon Red Sox boosters. Guarantee that your team is going to win the World Series and break The Curse once and for all. I dare you.

My Coke For Gin

Tomorrow night, the Northern Alliance Radio Network will once again be filling in for Hugh Hewitt on his nationally syndicated talk radio show. We'll be honoring Hugh's format and trying to stick to the same subjects that have made his show what it is. Expect lots of NASCAR, ice skating, snowmobiling, and USC football talk.

UPDATE: Saint Paul, the maven of the mallards, has just informed me that he wishes the third hour of Hugh's show tomorrow to be set aside for nothing but duck talk.
Ducks' Unlimited Arrogance

There's a lot to admire about ducks. They can fly and swim and waddle around on land. A triple threat of locomotion, unmatched by any other species on Earth. Which is probably what gives them their zest for life. If you ever spend some time watching ducks, the conclusion you come to is, they're having a great time, ALL the time (which, come to think of it, is also the motto of Spinal Tap's keyboard player Viv Savage).

In Minnesota you see a lot of ducks in the fall. Flying in formation, circling about, all of them cheerily quacking away. Driving into work today on Hwy 36, there were ducks everywhere. Naturally, I was inspired by nature's majesty and pleased to see these happy creatures. Pleased to see any sentient being actually happy to be alive during a midweek morning commute, actually.

But then I realized what these ducks were up to. They're leaving. The brisk north wind these past few days brought the first rumors of winter and just like that, they're bailing out on us. These ducks are off on a six month vacation in some balmy southern clime. And they're laughing it up, without so much as an empathetic squawk for us left behind to face January's shivers alone. They're like flying rats leaving the sinking ship. And they're happy about it. Those bastards!

Over the next few weeks you Minnesotans may wish to pause and listen to the next flush of ducks that passes overhead. Amid the excited quacking and flapping, I swear you'll hear the faint taunt of "so long suckers."
No, I do not know what shaden-frawde is

But Michael Nelson clearly does. You get the feeling that he enjoyed last night's game? Maybe a little bit too much...
Two Down, 50 Million To Go

In just under two weeks, citizens nationwide will be flocking to the polls in droves battling long lines, irritable election judges and litigious lawyer types milling about waiting for the chance to spew their bilious nonsense about the plight of the disenfranchised voter to nearest dimwitted television crew. Not me, friends. I'm out. I have decided here and now that I will not be casting a vote on November 2.

I'm sick of it. I'm sick of it all. I can't stand any more backbiting and sniping and the "He said this!" baloney countered by "He did that!" malarkey. I just don't think I have it in my constitution to drag myself to the polls a week from Tuesday and contribute to this ridiculous mess, so count me out.

Instead of putting myself through the torture of another election day nightmare, I have decided to spend election week relaxing in California's wine country with the lovely Atomizerette reason in particular. We're going there to relax and just be.

But, if I happen to come across a television screen on November 2nd, I may just give it a casual glance. If I stumble across an internet cafe or library, I might just log on know...check my mail. And if the laptop computer and Walkman (with TV band) just happen to find their way into my suitcase, I may fire them up for a minute or two, just for kicks.

And if I happen to walk by the kitchen table tomorrow morning, I just might remember to pick up the absentee ballots my lovely bride-to-be and I just completed and deliver them to City Hall on my way to work. Yeah...I just might do that.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

An Issue That Hugh Can Really Wrap His Sled Around

From the Republican Party of Minnesota web site:

Yesterday during a campaign stop in Hibbing, John Kerry's running mate, John Edwards stated that he supports allowing snowmobiles in national parks and national forests. Yet according to his own website, John Kerry would reinstate the "Clinton Administration's phase-out of noisy and direct snowmobiles" from national parks and "other sensitive areas." Republican Party of Minnesota State Chair Ron Eibensteiner issued the following statement regarding the Kerry campaign's latest flip-flop.

"John Kerry has been on both sides of just about every issue that is important to the people of Minnesota.

"Yesterday Kerry's running mate told northern Minnesota voters that he supports snowmobiles in national parks. Yet, the Kerry Campaign's own website says that Kerry would reinstate Bill Clinton's ban of snowmobiles in national parks.

"John Kerry will say anything to get elected."

I was for the snowmobile ban before I was against it?
Is It Really Over?

Does it get any better than a brisk stroll on a crisp autumn night, listening to playoff baseball on the radio? I think not. Temps in the 50's, no wind, and just a hint of moisture in the air. The kind of night that makes you regret having to ever go back inside.

When I turned onto the last leg of my walk and went into the home stretch (right about that time that Johnny Damon's grand slam was clearing the right field wall) I noticed a strange glow in the northwest quadrant of the horizon. At first I thought I was witnessing a display of the aurora borealis. Upon further reflection, I understood that what I was seeing was the gleam from King's smile. All the way from St. Cloud, his unbridled joy was (and still is) lighting up the night sky.

And he has good reason to be happy. 6-0 for his BoSox. It is truly over. Isn't it?

UPDATE: Now 6-1. But still, it's over right?

UPDATE II: 8-1 after six. I'm gonna go out on a limb and call this one for the Sox. See you in the World Series.
New Digs

Check out the new look and feel of DoctorZin's Regime Change Iran site. And if you get a chance, catch the good doctor, along with Roger L Simon and Dan Darling, on the John Batchelor Show tonight at 10:20pm CST. For a list of station go here. Catch the show via internet streaming here
Another One To Take To The Grave

Memo to the Red Sox Nation:

You know that there is not a chance in hell that your beloved Sox are going to win tonight, don't you? You understand that their gutty three game rally is merely setting the stage for another heart-wrenching failure, right? It's understood that by the end of the night you'll once again be sobbing in your beer and talking about next year, isn't it?

And yet, you can't turn away can you? You're going to let them tear your guts out and stomp all over them once again aren't you? You're headed for another emotional track wreck, but you can't pull the brake. Likes moths to the flame, you're irresistibly drawn to your own doom. And in some sick way, I think that you actually derive some perverse pleasure by your suffering. You claim that you want to win, but in your hearts you know that you're destined to lose. And you like it.

God only knows what excruciating fate awaits your squad tonight. If you were lucky, the Yanks would blow you out of the park early on, mercifully crushing your hopes. But given your history, we all know that won't happen. No, your loss will not be easy. It will be painful. Full of "could'ves" and "should'ves" that will haunt your memories for years.

As a Twins fan, I can't relate to your situation. Even though we've had a few years or frustrating playoff performances of late, we have won the World Series a couple of times in the modern era. Eighty-six years is a long time to wait isn't it?

But I will most definitely be tuning in to watch the drama unfold tonight. There is no doubt as to the final outcome, only how it will be arrived at. I'm sure there will be a bizarre plot twist or two, and I can only hope that one of them involves ex-Twin Doug "There's No Team In Mientkiewicz No Matter How Long You Look" Mientkiewicz having a Bill Buckner moment at first base. That would be a wicked pissah now, wouldn't it?
Another Purple Hooter, Dukakis?

New Nelson. But Democrats beware, it uses the name of patron saint Willie Horton in vain. Read at your own risk.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Yet another reason that being a swing state ain't all that it's cracked up to be. From

When your grandchildren ask where you were for the election of 2004, answer proudly -- the front lines! This historic election will be won or lost in the last 72 hours, in a few battleground neighborhoods. If you can spend a few days on the road, please come join us as we get out the vote in these critical areas. It's fun work -- MoveOn members tend to hit it off -- and it could make all the difference on November 2nd.

Can you travel to a battleground state for the final 72 hours of this campaign plus Election Day, or the final weekend, or even just November 2nd? We'll make it easy for you to effectively connect with our work on the ground.

God knows there aren't enough loony lefties in Minnesota as it is. Now we're importing them.

Remember, they're going to be out there folks. Are you?
Letters to the Blogger

Reader feedback from this past week in posting.

Tom adds his commentary on why supposedly nonpartisan newspapers feel the need to make endorsements of political candidates:

Your take on editorial endorsements reminded me of something your Patriot colleague Michael Medved had said regarding public funding of the arts and broadcasting (like PBS or NPR). (I'm very liberally paraphrasing here, so you might want to chat up Medved in the Patriot's locker room sauna regarding this issue.)

The "artists" would often claim that taxpayer support was minimal. When Medved would ask if they could do without the support, the artists would say that the support wasn't so much necessary as the funding implied that they were the arbiters of what was art and what wasn't. They were providing official public sanction that the crass private sector and uninformed proletariat could not.

I would submit that the Strib editorial board and the media in general see themselves in the same light. They give the endorsement as a way of being the official arbiter of what is good policy for "the masses".

Rush Limbaugh used to end his Friday programs with the admonition "not to worry about the news over the weekend - he'd be back on Monday to tell you what happened and what to think about it. It would set the unbiased dominant media culture off on a tirade against right wing hate radio and the dim bulbs who were led about by the nose ring listening to it.

But I would argue that editorial endorsements are really no different than telling Joe Sixpack or Sally Stenopool (read Lori Sturdevant and tell me she doesn't think of "working people" that way) what to think. Since they are sanctioned to do so (at least in their own minds) by their role as the establishment media, telling the people what to think is acceptable (to them).

Also, Dan writes in to tell us what he thinks is acceptable in male friendship behavior:

Regarding the Warrior Princess comments of a few days ago:

"I don't want female friendships to deteriorate to where the majority of men's friendships operate; where to prove to strangers they are heterosexuals all men can talk about is sports, women and beer."
Sorry, but it's not a front for strangers. That's all men talk about, because that's all men care about (although I'd add in cars and power tools, as well). The only stupid thing I can think of that (some) men do to prove they're not homosexuals is to sit apart from one another when they go to a movie together.

Dan is quite correct. For the record, let me state that on Friday night, the Nihilist in Golf Pants and I went to see Team America, World Police at Willow Creek and we did not feel it necessary to leave a neutral zone of theater seat between us. However, our arms never utilized the common arm rest at the same time. Because that would be fruity.