Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Things That Don't Mix

-Three bottles of Fat Tire Amber Ale

-A giant ribeye steak and Caesar Salad

-Playing on a trampoline with your eight-year old nephew

Just sayin'.
Starship Loser

It seems that Sharon Osbourne and Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson are involved in a rather nasty rock n' roll pissing match.

Sharon claims that Dickinson slagged her hubby Ozzy (and the U.S. in general, more on that in a minute) on stage repeatedly during the recent Ozzfest when IM was opening for him (and paying them $185,000 a night) and she wasn't having it.

So she apparently hired people to throw eggs, lighters, bottle tops and other sundry debris at IM during their performance and even went and pulled the plug on their sound during "dramatic points during the set." Sounds kind of interesting.

Sharon has issued her version of the events. Iron Maiden's tour manager, the unfortunately named Rod Smallwood covers their side here.

Another hilarious version of what went down can be found here, complete with the actual words Dickinson said to the crowd. Spinal Tap has got nothing on him.

So Sharon admits going after Dickinson and claims he had it coming. After Googling the rocker, I've come to the conclusion that Sharon was right. Bruce Dickinson is a jackass and a goofed-out leftist. A few choice words from the man:

I hate Walmart, and I hate the corporatization of everything in America. I despise it. People need to have their minds made up for them, at this moment, and they need to liberate themselves from that. It drives me nuts.


I was a kid and brought up with the Apollo missions. What I thought was cool was the whole concept that people were just doing all this because it was there. It was an exploration. Then I realized it had nothing to do with exploration, it was about domination of some other country and putting nuclear bombs in space. It sucks.

Typically deep political thoughts from your average 15-year-old.

So instead of hearing me go after Bruce (I think I hate anyone named Bruce), why don't we just let former Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde have a go (and this is profane, so bail now if this kind of stuff bothers you):

...Bruce Dickinson every night would be saying 'Ozzy sucks,' 'Ozzfest blows,' 'Corporate America sucks,' 'America sucks,' and all this other crap. He was bagging on America and bagging on Ozz.

Ozzy's the godfather of my son. It wasn't like Bruce said those things one night. This happened every night on the 'fest. If you got signed by George Steinbrenner to play for the Yankees and every day you say, 'Steinbrenner sucks,' 'Yankee Stadium blows,' 'I can't stand playing for this team ? it sucks ass,' then why are you playing for the Yankees? Shut your fuckin' pie hole.

All he had to do was go up there, play for an hour, whoop some ass and go home. The only thing Ozzy's ever done was given MAIDEN a stage to come over and play to the biggest audience in the summer. Ozzy would give you the shirt off his back. He'd never do a bad thing to anybody. Sharon didn't like him talking about her husband like that and talking about Ozzfest like that. It's just not kosher. The bottom line is Bruce was being a wad!

You act like a cunt, you get treated like a cunt! That's what happened. He's definitely not one of the guys. Everybody in their band and crew are cool. I love MAIDEN but he's talking about the godfather of my son, he's bagging America and all the troops are fighting overseas defending our way of life and freedom and fighting terrorism.

This dickwad's taking American money and then he's gonna go home. At the same time he thinks he can badmouth America. It's not cool. He got pelted with a batch of eggs and they turned the power off on him! Go home!"

Well said Zakk. We here at Fraters would like to raise a Makers Mark and Elder Bong Water to Zakk Wylde for putting that English wanker in his place.

Sunday Night Live!

Attention Beautiful People in the MOB and elsewhere:

The blow out, celebrity packed spectacular that is a Minnesota Organization of Bloggers function will be happening this Sunday Night. The location for this event is the terrific Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis, located in the heart of the 7 Corners area of the U of M West bank (near Bullwinkle's and the Holiday Inn). It is centrally located to the entire metro area, provides a scenic patio for outdoor consumption, and they brew 5 magnificent beers right on site.

The date is THIS Sunday, September 4th, and the fun starts at 5pm.
Remember, this is the day before Labor Day, so there's no need to plan an early night or to skip it because of work reasons. In an ironic twist, there is no work on Labor Day!

Per usual expect media celebrity appearances, the camaraderie of your peers, good conversation, and great food and beer. It's going to be the best party in town this Sunday night. So we can plan the appropriate amount of bacchanalia related supplies, please RSVP to your favorite Northern Alliance blogger. Don't you dare miss it!
How You Can Help

Instapundit has list of groups providing relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army would be my first choices.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Ballad of the Scotch Egg

(Sung to the tune of Ballad of the Green Beret)

Eating gluttons at the Fair
Shameless men without a care
Men who drink straight from the keg
The men who eat the whole Scotch Egg

Messy goo upon their face
These are pigs, disgusting and base
Five hungry men with hollow legs
But only one eats the whole Scotch Egg

Trained to live off fried food stands
Trained to gorge, with greedy hands
Men who eat by night and day
Can they finish the whole Scotch Egg?

Messy goo upon their face
These are pigs, disgusting and base
Throw in a gal with a hollow leg
Still only one eats the whole Scotch Egg

At the Fair the winner gloats
A whole Scotch egg in his belly floats
He has proved to be the best
Now he has but one request

Get messy goo on my son's face
Make him a part of the Fair's disgrace
To honor my name, to you I beg
Have him eat the whole Scotch Egg

If you missed last Saturday's live broadcast of the Forty-Third Annual NARN Scotch Egg Eating Contest at the Minnesota State Fair, you missed history in the making. A recording has already been submitted to the Pavek Museum for posterity's sake, along with artifacts for future generations to appreciate.

The Scotch Eggs were graciously supplied by a couple of gregarious gals, seen here being interviewed by Saint Paul. Once the eggs were in place and the condiments applied it was time for the six contestants to get down to business.

The stakes in Saturday's contest were high (a genuine Hugh Hewitt coffee mug!) and so was the drama. You could have heard a pronto pup drop at the Fair Grounds as the countdown began. The tension is evident in the hands of defending champion, JB Doubtless and in the face of Jo, our lone brave female competitor, as she sized up the coming challenge.

The action was fast, furious, and apparently funny looking enough to warrant a call to friends. When the dust and battered crust had finally settled, the table resembled the plains of Armageddon, with discarded egg sticks picked clean like carcasses set upon by vultures.

And a new man will carry the scepter of Scotch Egg King until next year. Congratulations the 2005 NARN Scotch Egg Eating Champion, Patrick "The Oreck XL" Campion, a true man among men.

As the newly crowed champion savored his victory by downing a celebratory corn dog, one thing was made very clear. Despite earning the respect and admiration of his peers, the winner of the Scotch Egg Eating Contest is no role model for today's youth as evidenced by the reaction of this young lady. Maybe the kids are all right after all.

(More from Power Line and Plastic Hallway.)
Invisible Airwaves Crackle With News

Limbaugh, Hannity moving to FM band; smooth jazz fades out on 100.3:

Smooth jazz station KJZI, 100.3 FM, will disappear from Twin Cities FM airwaves next year when owner Clear Channel Communications replaces it with a new talk station featuring the political riffs of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, currently heard on KSTP, 1500 AM.

"Starting January 1, we will launch KTLK FM 100.3 that will feature Rush Limbaugh's live broadcast from 11 to 2 p.m. and, next August, Sean Hannity live from 2 to 5 p.m," Clear Channel's local vice president and general manager, Dan Seeman, said in an interview. KTLK will pick up Hannity's syndicated show when his contract with KSTP-AM expires next year. Limbaugh's contract with KSTP expires in December. Most other time slots -- including morning, midday and late afternoon shows -- will be filled with live, local, not-necessarily-political shows, Seeman said.

"We're going to go out and hire the best talk show talent we can find, not the best conservative talk show host, or the best liberal, or the best car talk show host," he said. "What their political leanings are will be secondary to good talk shows."

Monday, August 29, 2005

Swimming Like Fish Among The People

Upon learning of my recent travels, an e-mailer offers his support:

Holy Sh**! Talk about a fish out of water. This what it must be like if Hugh ever walked into a strip bar. Or I am thinking the movie Blast From The Past. All I can tell you is I don't want you having a relapse like you did in your lawn jockey days, so if someone offers you some chronic just say no Elder. Also I recommend that you make sure you are not caught in the People's Republic of Boulder wearing something like a white T-shirt and 501 blue jeans while walking down the Pearl Street Mall. You might get some offers that would make a good Minnesota boy feel unclean and question his sexuality. Well watch your back Elder, if you see Ward say hello for me and shine on you crazy diamond. If you get into a major jam I can gather a SORT team to try to extract you ASAP just use your Little Orphan Annie Decoder ring and we will be in route. God speed Elder, God speed. Your brother in arms, Paul in Littleton, Co.

So far, so good. I've been able to remain relatively incognito. Tonight, I strolled the city streets wearing hiking shoes, cargo shorts, and sporting a back pack. My shirt did have a collar on it, which might have attracted attention had I not spilled coffee all over it on the drive from the airport. This helped create the illusion that I might be a mentally ill transient, and thus a member of a subgroup that the community would welcome with open arms, unlike say, a Republican traveling on business.

The funny thing about stereotypes is that there usually is a glimmer of truth in them. Just about every lefty stereotype you can imagine is readily visible in Boulder. I lost count of the number of Subaru's and Volvos I saw on my walk to a local watering hole for dinner. Seriously, it seemed as if ever other car were some variant of Subaru or another, many of the replete with anti-Bush sloganeering.

Making fun of the people of Boulder is easy. Almost too easy. It's like mocking Hugh for breaking his wrist when he recently fell down while running. If I were to even bother commenting on it, I would say that it has to be the lamest story of a sports injury that I've ever heard. If, that is, I even considered running to be a sport in the first place. Like I said, just too easy.

If one really wanted to embrace a true counter-culture life style within the city limits of Boulder, you'd have to drive a pick-up truck with gun racks and "W The President" and "I Love Wal-Mart" bumper stickers. Now that's what you would call true dissent.

But the scenery is beautiful and the beer is damn good. I stopped in at a bar near CU that has managed the difficult balancing act of hanging on to the charms of a college dive while still being acceptable to older folks (no puke in the bathrooms). I enjoyed a jumbo Sunshine Wheat and a pork sandwich with fries and cole slaw for all of ten bones. Total. We're not at Keegan's anymore Dorothy.

On the way back to my hotel, I dropped by a liquor store and picked up a six pack of 14'er ESB from Avery Brewing Co. The selection of locally brewed craft beers was outstanding and made my choice very difficult, especially since most of them are not available in Minnesota. So many beers, so little time.

Deep In Indian Country

The last few days in Minneapolis have featured gorgeous late-summer weather. Clear, sunny, warm but not hot with refreshing gentle breezes.

When I arrived in Denver today it was sweltering. Ninety-frickin-two degrees. Not exactly what I was expecting.

A couple of quick observations:

- Oil is over $70 a barrel. Hardly a news flash to most, but when I was driving to Boulder I only saw one of about thirty oil derricks actually pumping the black gold. What are you waiting for, a hundo a barrel? Get those babies going.

- Another nice feature of the DLO TransPod is its portability. I brought mine along on the trip and set it up in my rental car. Beats the hell out of trying to listen to Hugh's show on 710 KNUS, whose pathetic signal makes AM1280 The Patriot sound like KOA.

More later as time allows.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Stranger In A Strange Land

In preparation for my latest business trip, I've been doing extensive research on my destination. Apparently it's a hot bed of anti-Americanism and hatred for President Bush. I've been advised to not display any outward signs that I'm an American and under no circumstances wear anything as brazen as an American flag pin or a cross. If I happen upon an anti-American protest, I should move on quickly and avoid any conflict with local agitators.

Despite these warnings, I plan on smuggling in a copy of National Review and a pro-American political book or two. I'm hoping that I can make contact with members of the local underground to bring them news of the free world. It may be dangerous work, but I feel it is my duty to support those lonely voices of freedom. I will provide reports of my activities when the opportunity allows.

It will be a long, tense week. A week sure to be filled with moments of horror as well as hope. A week in Boulder. Courage.
Class Insecurity And Where You Buy Your Deodorant

Over the past several months Wal-Mart has finally gotten around to responding to the various public relations assaults waged against it over the past several decades. It's good to see they are answering some of this nonsense but I think it can only be described as gross management incompetence that they have allowed unions, democrats and liberal activists to position their brand in the minds of many consumers.

It is a matter of faith among the left that there is something wrong, if not immoral with Wal-Mart. Much of it stems from a simple elitism that allows them to make high-minded criticisms of a place they consider to be for the proles and the semi-washed. They realize it just doesn't sound right to admit that they hate Wal-Mart because they consider themselves superior to the people who shop there, but saying "I disagree with Wal-Mart's (fill in the blank) policy and therefore I go to Target" allows them to avoid the place (and the people) AND to make what passes in for an intelligent point at the same time.

Even those who aren't lefties and are in fact quite conservative can be heard making the case that Target is superior for this or that sundry reason and would never consider setting foot in a Wal-Mart. In the Twin Cities, part of this is the fact that Target has been around much longer, but the elitism of the left can affect conservatives as well (like people who somehow cannot find one item of edible food on a Friday's menu and moan about "chain restaurants").

I guess it comes down to the fact that Wal-Mart is perceived (correctly) as catering to lower class and lower middle class customers (one woman I work with said it was too "Bubba" for her). By shopping there and by telling (admitting?) others you do, you are positioning yourself with the lower class. For many people, they could care less how they are perceived by others, but for many others, this kind of decision is one of the ways (including the car they drive, their house, their Ipod) they tell society who they are. "Oh, we aren't one of those Wal-Mart families, Target is so much hipper and cosmopolitan" is every bit a part of the psychology of choosing where to shop and as important as rational reasons like location and price of the goods.

And of course it's subconscious--people don't consciously tell themselves they have class insecurity and don't want to be known as a Wal-Mart shopper--this works below the reasons that the non-Wal-Mart shopper would cite if asked why they shop where they do.

Personally, I shop at Wal-Mart and do so proudly as a big middle finger to leftists (and snotty conservatives) and because I am a cheap, cheap man. Plus it allows me a kind of reverse coolness that I can lord over others. I'm just glad they have put their top guy on the job of getting their story out and putting to rest the myriad of lies about a great company. Convincing Target shoppers that going Wal-Mart won't make them seem less sophisti-macated or cosmopolitan, now that is a much bigger job.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Better Early Than Never

Months after Michael Yon became prominent on the Internet for his Iraq war reporting and a full two days after his riveting Gates of Hell post drew near universal acclaim and exposure from the major blog outlets, the news hounds at the Star Tribune have picked up the scent of a story.

Their twin Washington Bureau Correspondents provide the article "Blog Brings the War Home." That title reveals the focus of this piece as the medium ("blogs") rather than the essence of the story (first-hand accounts of US soldiers in action). Here's their gee whiz summary:

In a sign of how technology is changing the way in which the war is reported, anyone with access to the internet can see the graphic episode that put [Lt. Colonel Erik Kurilla] in the hospital.

As if graphic episodes from war weren't known to the public until these "blogs" and the Internet came along. Photographic technology is over 150 years old and among the first images ever recorded for posterity (and rapidly disseminated by newspapers) were soldiers and combat and its consequences.

There is a natural demand by the public for these images. The real curiosity of this story isn't the new technology allowing greater information to get to the public. It's why the old technology (newspapers) have stopped providing it and have largely shirked the duty they once eagerly accepted.

Even Michael Yon's sterling reporting isn't a new thing. War correspondence has a proud tradition in journalism. Reporters like Ernie Pyle lived and fought and sometimes died, side-by-side with our soldiers (read some of his WWII columns here). They provided the kind of first-person, day-to-day accounts of the war the folks at home need to really understand what is at stake and how we're faring.

For whatever reason, the newspaper monopolies of today no longer provide that kind of coverage. Instead of Ernie Pyle, we have the likes of Hannah Allam, the Knight Ridder Bureau chief, getting plaudits for her reports of the war (which she files in between getting manicures and singing karaoke). And when the going got really tough, she left, only then expressing concern that perhaps she wasn't giving a full picture of what is going on in Iraq. (No word on whether that means she's returning her Knight Ridder Journalism Excellence Award.)

Yet Allam's brand of war correspondance is still considered unassailable truth by most of her colleagues in the press. A far different reception than what Michael Yon receives. Again, from the Star Tribune article:

As [Yon's] story finds an instant audience on the Internet, Paul Grabowitz, director of the new media studies program at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, says blogs are permanently changing war coverage.

"It's much easier, obviously, for a freelancer to publish information that they've gotten for a story, whether text or photos or whatever," he said. "And it's not like somebody standing on a street corner passing out flyers that they mimeographed of 'My thoughts on the war in Iraq.' The Internet has lent credence ... to people who are independent, being part of the sort of mix of coverage of an event. ... I don't know how far that's going to go."

Note the worry expressed by the professor about this development. His words no doubt a megaphone for the concern of the Star Tribune authors of this article. Why, the independence of these freelancers, they have no editors, they have no corrections policies, they have no journalism degrees! And now they're getting .... credence! How far can this go?!

Everybody at Berkeley's School of Journalism and Star Tribune should just relax. They have nothing to fear of course, except the unknown. Although, gauging from those comments, what they don't know is extensive. Anyone reading Yon's work knows it is anything but "easy" for him to publish his information. Beyond the physical risks he's taking daily by operating in a combat zone, he has no institutional resources to rely upon. He pays for his own travel and equipment and relies upon his own journalistic instincts and ethical code alone for the accuracy and quality of his reporting. In truth, what he's doing is more difficult than the work assigned to any MSM reporter in Iraq. And he's still far out performing them all. On second thought, maybe they do have something to fear.

Friday, August 26, 2005

You Got Your Snap-ons, They Got The Power

Two articles in today's Wall Street Journal on the Northwest strike.

Northwest Charts Rapid Recovery

Six days into a strike by its mechanics, Northwest Airlines said its operations are recovering rapidly from disruptions that began a few days before the walkout began last Saturday.

"We've clearly been challenged through the week," said Andy Roberts, executive vice president of operations, in an interview. But the replacement technicians and management employees who are tending to the carrier's 468 jetliners have been working through a backlog of maintenance write-ups and out-of-service aircraft. "We are certainly in the band of normal operations now."

A source at Northwest very close to this situation said exactly the same thing to me yesterday. The biggest worry for the airline was the first five days of the strike. They appear to have weathered that period with relatively minor disruptions and little overall impact on their business. Now they expect the replacement mechanics to become increasingly efficient as they become more familiar with the planes they're working on and the facilities that they're working in. The source explained that some of it is as simple as learning where various tools and parts are stored.

He also said that in the weeks leading up to the strike, the mechanics let some of the routine maintenance chores (I would imagine not any impacting safety) slip, creating a backlog of work which the replacement mechanics have been working to reduce this week.

The other article focuses on One Mechanic's Journey to Aid Northwest Air and demonstrates the quixotic nature of the strike:

Mr. Jones's path to Northwest offers a glimpse at why the airline's striking mechanics have considerably less clout that in years past to extract a better contract from the nation's fourth-largest carrier. Years of laying off workers and paring flights after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have created a vast group of skilled replacement workers, which the airline has tapped to keep its planes running during a potentially crippling strike.

Northwest officials have said they had no trouble lining up a cadre of 1,200 replacement mechanics, who the carrier claims have an average of 14 years' experience working on planes, many of the type Northwest operates, and are all federally licensed. Northwest is paying the replacements $26.53 an hour, slightly less than the $27.17 scale in its final offer to the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association union. Before the strike, top pay for an experienced AMFA mechanic with a federal "airframe and powerplant" license was $36.39, yielding annual pay of more than $70,000, near the top in the industry.

Once again, this was exactly what I heard yesterday. There were plenty of experienced, highly qualified mechanics out of work in the market that Northwest has been able to brig in as replacements. Many of them had been forced to take lesser paying jobs after being let go in the wake of 9/11 and jumped at the chance to come to Northwest. Some have left their families behind in other states for the opportunity to earn more money and many hope to end up becoming permanent employees at Northwest.

The person I spoke with has ridden the bus bringing replacement workers in to work (known as the "scab cab") and reports that despite the slurs and taunts from picketing mechanics, the replacement workers have not been deterred in their desire to show up. The availability, skill, and enthusiasm of these workers has all but doomed the union mechanics chances of staging a successful strike. It's only a matter of time (and missed paychecks) before a few of the union mechanics start trickling across the picket lines as they begin to comprehend the futility of their position.

AMFA's miscalculation of Northwest's ability to continue to operate with replacement workers and its alienation of the other unions at Northwest has resulted in a situation where they have no real hope of emerging victorious. The only question now is whether it will stubbornly drag its rank and file workers down with it. Plenty of replacement mechanics certainly hope so.


No, I'm not bitter at all that Ken Wells gets paid to drink beer and write about it in the Wall Street Journal. I'm sure the deadline pressures are intense and the expectations high. "C'mon Ken, finish that beer up and turn in your latest piece." Life is rough, isn't it?

This time around Ken has been tasked with taste testing craft beers that come in cans:

Can the lowly beer can and high-style craft beer coexist?

The mere juxtaposition of the two is an oxymoron to some and heresy to others. Yet after years of resistance, if not outright disdain, a growing number of small U.S. brewers are braving beer snobs' barbs and putting their beer in aluminum. To find out whether tasty beer can come from a pedestrian can, we held a blind tasting -- and found an interesting answer.

He goes on to provide an overview of the history of the beer can and why beer purists came to associate cans with everything wrong with the brewing industry in America. In recent years, more and more craft brewers have been looking into canning their brews for a variety of reasons:

Cans are user-friendly. They stack and store well in refrigerators and coolers; they chill quickly and have the tactile benefit of feeling cold; they make nice billboards for their contents; and they are welcomed in many places where bottles often aren't -- around swimming pools, marinas and beaches, on boats and golf courses and aboard commercial airplanes. Indeed, one craft canner, Portland Brewery of Portland, Ore., has gotten its MacTarnahan's Amber ale on Alaska Airlines flights. Cans also block out all light, which along with heat is a major spoiler of beer.

James Page, a local brewer has also come out with a canned product in order to get Northwest Airlines to offer it on flights. Those of us who fly Northwest on a regular basis certainly appreciate the expanded offering.

But what about the taste?

We assembled in The Wall Street Journal's downtown Manhattan offices, and I poured the beer out of sight, presenting it in a proper beer glass and then pouring samples for the panel. I provided only spare information: I would pour the beers by style, starting with lagers and ending with dark ales, and every style would include a mix of cans and bottles. I told the panel if they thought strongly that a beer was canned, they should say so. I asked them to rate all the beers on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.

The results?

Details are in the accompanying chart, but of the 16 beers tasted, canned brew, in average scores, rated four of the five top spots, though the top-rated beer was Stone's India Pale Ale in a bottle with a rating of 8.8. The canned Scape Goat Pale Ale popped an 8 and Old Chub Scottish Ale a 7.8. Two other canned offerings scored higher than 7.

One other thing became clear -- on the taste front, cans weren't much of an issue.

This is a definitely a topic that we will be bring up with Mark Stutrud from Summit on tomorrow's NARN show.

Meanwhile, I hope that Ken Wells gets a chance to relax and enjoy the weekend with a good beer. He's probably worked up a powerful thirst with all the backbreaking work he's been doing of late.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Soldiers' Story

Don't miss Michael Yon's extraodinary report of the US Army's continuing engagement with terrorists in Mosul, Iraq.

His prose and pictures are the closest we're likely to get to the real thing. This is the truth of the battle and not surpisingly the US solidiers are revealed to be astonishingly brave and skilled. First among them, Lt. Colonel Erik Kurilla. He's been a key subject of Yon's reporting, for both his leadership and physical bravery. In this latest engagement he was shot three times during a fire fight and was severly injued. At last report he was in stable condition, probably on his way back home for treatment.

Yon's reporting of his mettle under fire testifies that Kurilla is well prepared for the challenge of recovery. In case there was any lingering doubt, this should dispel it:

The truest test of leadership happens when the Commander is no longer there. Kurilla's men were taking down and boxing up his photos of his wife and children, and his Minnesota Vikings flag, when they decided to keep the flag so everyone could autograph it. It wasn't long before there was no room left to sign, but I found a place to scratch. I wanted my name on that flag.

A Minnesota Vikings flag? This man is well acquainted with suffering. Welcome back Colonel, the season starts in two weeks.

In Search Of...

The Minnesota Democrat Exposer has been on fire of late with his investigations and revelations of all sorts of inside information, rumor, and innuendo about the DFL. As a bonus, some of it even appears to be true. Check out his potential bombshell revelation about the love between two of Minnesota's most powerful Democrats:

Within the past couple of months, House Minority Leader Matt Entenza hired a private investigative firm from Chicago to look into a fellow politician's background...

That politician-- Mike Hatch.

I don't know if that's true or not, MDE's credibilty hangs in the balance. But some folks are getting ansty over this pseudonymous muck racker, now trying to discredit him by revealing his identity to prove some sort of paranoid, daisy chain connection to right wing power brokers. Something called Checks and Balances apparently has the story. I've never heard of that site before, but it appears to be a blog requiring registration (!?!) to read. Not bloody likely!

It seems the all-knowing, all-seeing MDE had a contingency plan ready to defeat this strategy of his opponents. Now you too can proclaim to be the (wo)man by purchasing one of these fine wardrobe enhancements.

The Kool Aid Report has become the clearinghouse for other MDE sightings. For the record, let me state no one at Fraters Libertas is MDE. But at least one of us are swamp gas.

UPDATE: Mitch Berg is promising an interview with MDE tomorrow. The private investigator I have watching Mitch confirms this story as correct.
Top 11 Reasons Hugh Hewitt Was Not Invited To My Bachelor Party

11. Michael Savage said he wouldn't show if Hugh was there

10. Afraid he'd no show and send Carol Platt Liebau and Tim Taylor in his place

09. Local hunters would mock the Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle he takes everywhere

08. Diet Coke shots are NOT cool

07. Strippers make him "Uncomfortable"

06. He was already attending a "Wonderful" Joan Baez concert that weekend with Scott Johnson

05. JB refused to give him the title "Gymnasiarch of the Bachelor Party"

04. We already had five hate-filled white guys shooting their mouths off

03. Speaking fee? For Hugh Hewitt?

02. With The Nihilist in Golf Pants attending, the dork quotient was already too high

01. No protestants allowed

UPDATE: An eerily similar list available here.
The Daisy Chain Has Spoken

And you the people have declared Catherine Bach to be the better looking Daisy Duke in a landslide. The final vote tally reads:

Catherine Bach 69%
Jessica Simpson 31%

Talk Radio On A Stick

Today marks the opening of the 2005 Minnesota State Fair. Saturday marks the opening broadcast of The Northern Alliance Radio Network from the Fair. Two weekends, four shows, twelve hours of sometimes intelligent radio.

The schedule for Saturday includes a return appearance at 1pm by Mark Stutrud, founder of Summit Brewing Company. Mark will be talking about the latest Summit news and brews, answering questions on everything you ever wanted to know about beer but were afraid to ask, and handing out a prize or two to audience members able to answer trivia questions on beer.

In the third hour, we'll be joined by St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly. But the real excitement will center around the 1st Annual NARN Scotch Egg eating contest. Originally, Saint Paul thought it would be funny to have five or six human contestants compete against one of the prize hogs from the animal barns. Unfortunately, all the best pigs have a strict no compete clause in their contracts with WCCO, so we were unable to land one. But we have something even better.

Our own JB Doubtless will make a rare appearance at the Fair to participate in the Scotch Egg eating contest. You may recall that JB set the standard for Scotch Egg feeding with his sweaty feats of gluttony at the 2003 Fair. He's tan, rested, and ready to take on all challengers.

If you feel like you're man (or woman) enough to compete against JB, drop me a line at and we'll reserve a spot at the trough table for you. The winner will receive some fabulous Patriot swag and, more importantly, Scotch Egg bragging rights for a whole year.

On Sunday, James Lileks will dropping by the booth to offer his observations on the sights, sounds, and smells of the Great Minnesota Get Together. Such as:

Ever gone to the fair alone? I have. There's always a day with friends and your family, yes. But when you work at the fair -- be it a hog slopper in the barns, a vendor in the food booths, a radio yammerer, a media figure standing for an hour with a wan smile -- you get used to experiencing the fair alone. It's a different thing. No kids to mind; no spouse to drag, no date to impress. You can do whatever you want and look all you like. You're invisible. Don't worry about what anyone might think; they'll assume you peeled off from the rest of your party to visit the Stinky Barn Quadrants, or they'll just think you're some friendless loser. Who cares?

The AM1280 booth a.k.a. The Patriot Plantation is located on Judson Ave close to the International Bazaar. You can find a map of the Fairgrounds here.

UPDATE: Check out Plastic Hallway for the best in "behind the scenes" Fair coverage as well as eating recommendations from a guy who knows a thing or two about Fair food.
One Night In Bangkok

Joe appreciates the public service that we have provided by posting Atomizer's "what not to wear" picture:

Ouch. I am currently scheduled to attend a bachelor party in the early Summer of 2006 in Bangkok - a destination nearly as dangerous to personal virtue as Northern Wisconsin. I will print out this picture to bring with me as a cautionary reminder...

If we can help just one man avoid Atomizer's sad fate, it will all have been worthwhile.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Submitted Without Comment

Star Tribune columnists at the fair
The Exception To The Rule

Remember what I said about the rule that "what goes on in Northern Wisconsin stays in Northern Wisconsin" in relation to salacious revelations from last weekend's bachelor party? I'd like to add an addendum to that rule so it now reads, "What goes on in Northern Wisconsin stays in Northern Wisconsin, unless it involves Atomizer wearing a feather boa and coyly vamping for the camera:

Speaking of Atomizer and feathers, given his history with members of the avian species, I imagine that he's almost as panicked as Hugh is over the latest news on the bird flu.
Steven Vincent's Homecoming

Steven Vincent was buried last week back home in his East Village neighborhood in New York. Alternative weekly The Villager provides an account, testifying to the non traditional context which produced this first rate political journalist.

The crowd was diverse, reflecting Vincent's wide-ranging interests. There were people from the art world, including from Art & Auction magazine, where he formerly worked, and from Sotheby's, where [his wife] worked. One of the twin hosts from "Antiques Roadshow" was among them.

The circumstances of his murder are still unknown, and may be never be fully understood in the maze of motivations, opportunities, and means that is Iraq under siege by terrorism. There was some speculation by the London Telegraph and professor-blogger Juan Cole that it was a so-called "honor killing," based on a romantic relationship between Vincent and his female interpreter. Cole's commentary included these unwarranted barbs:

Vincent did not know anything serious about Middle Eastern culture and was aggressive about criticizing what he could see of it on the surface, and if he was behaving in the way the Telegraph article describes, he was acting in an extremely dangerous manner.

Vincent's widow has responded to these allegations. She confirms the curious fact that Vincent had an agreement to marry his translator, but for reasons other than the salacious tabloids and university professors assume. He was trying to get her out of the country because her safety was at risk.

Regarding Cole's dismissal of Vincent's expertise and behavior, his wife's response bears mentioning:

Yes, Steven was aggressive in criticizing what he saw around him and did not like. It's called courage, and it happens to be a tradition in the history of this country. Without this tradition there would have been no Revolutionary War, no Civil War, no civil rights movement, no a lot of things that America can be proud of.

He had made many friends in Iraq, and was afraid for them if the religious fundamentalists were given the country to run under shari'a. You may dismiss that as naive, simplistic, foolish, but I say to you, as you sit safely in your ivory tower in Michigan with nothing threatening your comfy, tenured existence, that you should be ashamed at the depths to which you have sunk by libeling Steven and Nour. They were on the front lines, risking all, in an attempt to call attention to the growing storm threatening to overwhelm a fragile and fledgling experiment in democracy, trying to get the world to see that all was not right in Iraq.

And for their efforts, Steven is dead and Nour is recuperating with three bullet wound in her back. Yes, that's right - the "honorable" men who abducted them, after binding them, holding them captive and beating them, set them free, told them to run - and then shot them both in the back. I've seen the autopsy report.
Morning Is Broken

Cleaned out the previous days spent grounds.

Positioned the pot in its proper place.

Filled the tank with filtered water.

Retrieved the grinder from cupboard. Filled it with fresh beans. Plugged it in to the wall receptacle. Pushed the top down to activate the blades and...


Tried a different plug in. Still nothing.

Emptied the beans out. Made sure the piece that engages the motor was clean and functional. Walked to the other side of the kitchen to try a different outlet.

A brief whirr of hope and then nothing. No grinder. No ground beans. No coffee. Sigh.

Stopped at a coffee shop on the way to work. Stood in line, ordered my beverage of choice, paid for it, and walked out to my car.

Climbed in behind the wheel. While trying to set coffee in cup holder somehow managed to spill a quarter of it all over center consol, car seat, and my pants. Sigh.

The day can only can better from here on out. Right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

On the Air

There is some excellent local airline-related blogging going on over at MOB member Marty Andrade's blog. Not from the eponymous blogger himself, who's more known for his radio airwaves commentary (Race to the Right, Sundays 1 - 3 PM on St. Cloud's 1450). It's from his new second fiddle, Captain Boggs, who is a pilot with military and commercial experience (and apparently Marty's father, meaning he has combat experience as well). His insider's accounts make him the local go-to guy for all your airline strike or accident related commentary needs.
Quite Hoarkin' Our Island, Eh?

The most recent edition of The Economist reports that those cowboy Canadians are up to their unilateral ways again:

AS DEMONSTRATIONS of military prowess go, last month's visits by Canadian troops and then by the defence minister, Bill Graham, to an uninhabited Arctic rock claimed also by Denmark fell firmly into the Ruritanian category. But the planting of a Canadian flag and the erection of an Inuit stone marker on Hans Island, as the rock near Greenland is called, was deceptive. Behind it lies a new toughness in Canadian defence policy.

In all seriousness, a toughening up of the Canadian military would be much welcomed by us neighbors to the south. The good news is that the True North appears to be intent on getting stronger:

The minister's Arctic foray was followed a week later by a more significant deployment: the first units of a 1,500-strong Canadian task force arrived in Kandahar, one of the least secure parts of Afghanistan, where they will take over leadership of a provincial reconstruction team from the Americans. More such ventures may follow. Paul Martin's Liberal minority government plans to increase annual defence spending over the next five years from its current meagre level of C$13.5 billion ($11.2 billion, or 1% of GDP) to C$19 billion and add another 5,000 troops to the 62,500-strong forces.

Monday, August 22, 2005

You Think He Ain't?

Scott e-mails to pass on this picture and ask:

Think he's campaigning yet?

Brownshirts Debating Short Pants

Suffice it to say that a good time was had by all during the festivities this weekend to commemorate the end of the carefree, shirtless, block of cheese eating days of bachelorhood for JB Doubtless. The appropriate sacrifices were made to appease Bacchus (or Dionysus as Saint Paul prefers). Great issues of the day were discussed. No farm animals were injured during the production (although I think Atomizer is still a little sore today). And most importantly, the cardinal (and really only) rule of bachelor parties was observed: we brought the would-be groom back alive.

In fact, it was the best man who came the closest to slipping this mortal coil when an errant tee shot off the driver of JB came way too close for comfort. If there was any doubt that being hit by said drive could have proved life threatening, it was quickly dispelled when JB took a mulligan and drilled his next drive in almost exactly the same place, this time nailing a golf cart hard enough to dent one of the steel roof supports. It's a bit disquieting to think what might have happened had one of his drives made contact with less resistant material. My head, for instance.

The already married among us also took the opportunity to advise JB on the keys to a successful marriage. The most important being to always remember that marriage is not a battle. No, it's more like a war. A long, hard slog that you have no hope of ever winning, but most definitely can lose. The best strategy to pursue is one of containment. Clearly demarcate your areas of influence early on and zealously resist any intrusion upon them.

This approach is more than figurative when it comes to the home front. The garage is clearly your base of operations and, in worst cases, your last refuge. It must be held at all costs. Lose the garage and you might as well start watching Oprah and talking about your feelings because it's over. Never yield an inch of the garage.

Your second bastion of freedom should be the basement. When you first move in to a house together, you should stake a claim to as much of the basement as possible. I'm not talking about the laundry room or storage spaces. I'm talking a shop, a place to watch sports, and, if you can manage it, a bar. Within the house itself, the basement bar will become your fortress. It's not always possible to control the entire basement, but it should definitely be considered your sphere of influence.

The rest of the house? Other than an office, you're probably not going to be much of a factor. You can pretty much write off bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, and any other space above ground. If you can score an office of your own (or even better a den) it would be a major coup. More likely, you'll have to compromise somewhat here and settle for joint control of any office space.

But just because you've ceded most of these areas, doesn't mean that you should ignore them completely. It's a good idea to occasionally make a feint to draw your wife's attention and distract her from other activities (like your plan for the dish on the garage). "Honey, I was thinking that the wall in the living room is looking a little empty. What about hanging up that great poster from the movie 'Jackass'?" This gambit will be even more effective if you approach your wife with hammer and framed poster already in hand. It's obvious your suggestion has about as much chance of becoming reality as Chuck Hagel winning the GOP endorsement for president, but sometimes the battles that you lose are as important as the ones you win.

Armed with this knowledge, and may other pearls of wisdom offered by the assembled crowd, the road to marital bliss should now be clear for JB.

Of course there was much more than just matrimonial musings going on. The Nihilist In Golf Pants has already ably documented the Top 11 Debate Issues This Past Weekend. (By the way, it's nice to see that Hugh has finally noticed the fine work being done at Nihilist In Golf Pants by the Nihilist and his loyal sidekick, Sisyphus. NIGP is one of the many "Fraters inspired" blogs out there--we prefer to call them "Spawn of Fraters"--and is probably the second funniest among them next to this guy.) With one notable exception.

Inspired by an in-depth expose in Star Magazine that offered various theories on Why Jessica's Butt Has Gone Flat, we did indeed have lengthy and animated discussions on that burning issue of the day. This talk invariably lead us to evaluate the talents of Jessica Simpson in the role of Daisy Duke compared to Catherine Bach, the original Daisy from the TV series. Since we were not able to resolve the matter ourselves over the weekend, we now turn to you. Catherine Bach (in her prime) versus Jessica Simpson (in her pre-flat butt days)? We report (based on what we read in Star Magazine), you decide (by voting in our poll).

Almost As Good As Free Beer

Stacy from Mind and Media e-mails with an offer for bloggers:

My online publicity company has literally exploded and I need more reviewers. Would you be kind enough to write a plug for me and let your readers know I exist and that they can get free books, dvds, music and magazines if they join me and have a blog they are willing to review products on?

The word "free" causes a Pavlovian reaction amongst most bloggers. If you're drooling with interest, check out Blog For Books to find out how you can punch your ticket for the book review gravy train.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Speaking of the road, this weekend the entire crew here at Fraters Libertas will be gathering in the woods of Northern Wisconsin to celebrate the last few days of JB Doubtless' bachelorhood. It's not the wine country of California and none of us is a depressed struggling writer with a problem with alcohol who steals money from his mother and pines for lost love (although Saint Paul comes pretty close at times). No, it's not exactly going to be "Sideways", which is probably a very good thing.

The rule of law on such excursions is "what goes on in Northern Wisconsin stays in Northern Wisconsin" (especially if it involves dairy cows) so don't expect to read a Kitty Kelly-like tell all recounting the weekend's activities. However, I am considering live blogging my entire three-and-a-half hour ride up there with the Nihilist In Golf Pants. That should make for some riveting reading.
Two For The Road

Recently I discovered a couple of ways to make the grind of the daily automobile commute a little bit easier to take.

The first is to pick up a course on CD offered by The Teaching Company. They have an amazing selection of topics and top notch instructors who deliver the lectures. It's a great way to learn more about a subject that you're interested in, but probably would never have enough to sit down and read about. I just got through the eighteen CDs containing thirty-six lectures on the history of China called, From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History. My knowledge of Chinese history, especially pre-twentieth century, was scant and this course provided a comprehensive overview which puts me on far solider footing on the subject.

The other find was the TransPod All-in-One Car Solution for iPod (made by Digital Lifestyles Outfitters). If you own an iPod, this is a great way to take your tunes on the road with you. The package includes a transmitter to play your iPod on your car's stereo, a recharger that plugs into your car lighter, and mounting kits which offer you a couple of alternatives. I've been driving around with it for the last few days and am impressed.

Hardcore audiophiles will likely grumble that the sound isn't CD quality, but I think that's a small price to pay for the luxury of having thousands of songs at your fingertips. I actually found the sound quality to be good (it will vary of course depending on the quality of the sound files on your iPod). It was simple to "install" (if you even call it that) and use. When I initially set it up in my wife's Jetta it was in the way of the stick, but after a few adjustments, I found a workable position. It's easy to disconnect the iPod at any time which is nice. You don't want to be leaving a tempting target like that in plain view.

You can find the TransPod online for as little as $75. I picked mine up at Target and paid a bit more. It's definitely a good investment for anyone who has an iPod and spends any amount of time behind the wheel. The way iPod sales are skyrocketing and traffic congestion worsening, I'd say that's a fair number of people these days.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Off We Go...

This Saturday, Michael Yon, who is doing some truly incredible war reporting in Iraq, will be a guest on the financial scandal free Northern Alliance Radio Network. Michael will be appearing at 1pm central time. If you don't live within easy listening range of the mighty AM1280 transmitters, fear not. You can catch all the action live via the web stream.

Even though Saint Paul and I (often referred to as the Tango & Cash of the NARN) will not be available this weekend, it should be a great show.
Responding To The Raida Hatas

William from Eagle and Elephant is urging people to go see the The Great Raid:

To show support for this movie (and support for our troops, lest anyone read into the low numbers of folks viewing this movie as some sort of apathy or anti-attitude towards the war), go see it and do it this weekend. And next weekend too. Let's make it the next two weekends: Aug. 19-21 and Aug. 26-28.

Spread this around the blogosphere: see The Great Raid the next two weekends.

Send a message to the film industry about the types of movies we will support: the good ones with more accurate portrayals of our nation's past events, especially those that entailed extreme sacrifice and courage ... and moreso when these events happened while in the pursuit of doing good for others.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What's In A Nickname?

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt had University of North Dakota President Charles Kupchella on his radio show to discuss his letter to the NCAA, which essentially tells them to go pound sand over their threat to make the school cover up their logo at all NCAA sposnored championship events.

Today Nick Coleman has a column in the Star Tribune titled, Ralphie still runs the show at UND. Connect the dots people. Connect the dots.
Quick Note To Nick

Nick Coleman, I mock your value system. You appear foolish in the eyes of others.

Past instances in which I professed to like you were fraudulent.

I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other.

We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas

We've tried nothin' and we're all out of ideas

JB Doubtless may turn out to be more than just the "fun" uncle who corrupts my son with fireworks, pornography, and alcohol. After hearing about the recent troubles with the boy, he reminded me that a local institute of higher learning offers a program that might provide the perfect remedy for the situation.

Yes indeed, I think that the University of Minnesota Spankological Protocol could be just what the doctor ordered. Look for an update in eight months.
When I'm Pilled You Don't Notice Him

I've been in about a month long funk. Lately, I haven't had the energy to do much of anything and paying attention to the whole blogging thing has been a primary casualty. That all changed yesterday. My incredibly disruptive seasonal allergies finally forced me to skip a day of work and do the unthinkable for a guy who has always preferred self-medication over professional advice when feeling a bit off. This time, I felt I had suffered enough and made the trip to the clinic.

The Doc noticed immediately that I was incredibly dehydrated and, blaming it on the Claritin-D I had been popping over recent days, ordered me off the stuff immediately. Of course, I didn't mention that I had spent the last two days in northern Minnesota under the hot sun drinking nothing but Summit beer and Irish whiskey. It was the Claritin....absolutely. Who am I to argue with a man in a lab coat?

He scribbled out a prescription for some Nasonex and a steroid treatment called methylprednisolone. That's right, steroids...and ever since I have been on the juice, I've been on a creative bender like you wouldn't believe. I've been hammering out essay after essay like Mark McGwire pounding the baseball in the middle of a twenty game hitting streak. I've got so many handwritten notes in front of me that it'll take days just to post them all.

This steroid stuff is simply incred...hold on just a minute...I just noticed on the pharmacist's instructions that methylprednisolone is actually a corticosteroid...okay. Corticostreoids have very little in common with the anabolic steroids used by athletes...uh huh. Use of methylprednisolone can actually result in diminished mental alertness and can even cause depression with drowsiness and coma...oh, crap! Well then. Never mind.

Looks like it's back to Dr. Jimmy for me. If my mental alertness is going to be diminished, I'd rather have it be the result of several very dry martinis than a box full of very dry but very tasteless pills.

See you in three weeks. Now, where did I put those olives....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Puppet Master

Evangelist Pat Robertson has been accused of having blind allegiance to unseen forces. Who knew all this time it was Hugh Hewitt Show producer Duane Patterson?

From left wing scandal mongers Media Matters, the story of how Duane's satirical blogging ended up being mouthed as gospel by a religious icon during to a national audience on the Hannity and Colmes program:

On the August 15 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, Christian Coalition of America founder Pat Robertson blasted Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for comments she never made. Purporting to quote Boxer regarding the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to the Supreme Court, Robertson falsely stated that Boxer had said, "I've got to wait on Ralph Neas of the People for the American Way to see what he says about it [Roberts's nomination]"; and that Boxer said, "I'm going to follow the lead of [Sen. Charles] Chuck Schumer [D-NY]. I trust him." Robertson said he was "absolutely appalled at what she had to say," noting, "She's supposed to be a senator from the biggest state in America."

Media Matters for America could find no record that Boxer actually said anything like what Robertson attributed to her. A search for her purported comments turned up the weblog Radio Blogger, which on August 8 posted a transcript of Boxer's appearance on the August 7 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. Radio Blogger included a self-styled "translation" of what Boxer said in bold font that closely resembles the comments that Robertson falsely attributed to Boxer. Robertson appears to have mistaken this "translation" for Boxer's actual words.

I don't know what more demeaning to Robertson's reputation, the fact that he's espousing false information on national TV or that he's been caught reading Radio Blogger. For the latter, I recommend a tearful Jimmy Swaggart-like apology to the congregation:

"I do not plan in any way to whitewash my sin or call it a mistake. I have sinned against you and I beg your forgiveness. I have sinned against You, My Lord, and I would ask that Your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgiveness, never to be remembered against me."

Failing that, this one may suffice (Pat Robertson note, it includes one strategic edit):

The Media is ruled by Satan (Duane Patterson). But yet I wonder if many Christians fully understand that."
Better Than Sack Anyway You Translate It

A Frenchman who loves America cranking out political cartoons? There really is a blog for everything (and anything) that you can imagine under the sun. Check out Marcel and French Frie for a unique perspective on events of the day. Just don't get too wrapped up trying to dissect the deeper meaning of every effort. Remember, cartoons are like gossamer and one doesn't dissect gossamer.

Hard Truths

This Saturday on the NARN broadcast, we discussed Cindy Sheehan and her vigil outside of President Bush's compound in Texas. My colleagues were united in saying the President agreeing to meet with her would be pointless. The spectacle would only be enflamed by succumbing to her politically motivated demands.

I, the lone voice of brave dissent, made the point that Bush should probably meet with the woman, if for no other reason to undercut the publicity storm she's brewed up with her ghoulish enablers in the media. Our beloved W. is an adult, an intelligent man with truth on his side. He should respect this woman's position, take her questions and answer them thoughtfully and maybe do some persuading of her and the country.

Truth be told, I hadn't followed the Sheehan case very closely. I skim read the media reports, knew her thumbnail bio, and that was enough to inform my dissent. And now, upon further review, I must admit, I was wrong.

One of the few lessons I've learned in this life as irrefutable truth is that there is no good to be achieved in arguing with crazy people. Craziness, which can be defined more broadly than actual mental illness, to include consuming, obsessive passion that causes a degradation of logic and reasonable adherence to factual argument.

May God bless Cindy Sheehan and the sacrifice her family has given for this country's defense, but she fits this definition. Her words, as reported by James Taranto:

I'm gonna tell them, "You get that evil maniac [the president] out here, cuz a Gold Star Mother, somebody who's blood is on his hands, has some questions for him."

You tell me the truth. You tell me that my son died for oil. You tell me that my son died to make your friends rich. You tell me my son died to spread the cancer of Pax Americana, imperialism in the Middle East. You tell me that, you don't tell me my son died for freedom and democracy.

Cuz, we're not freer. You're taking away our freedoms. The Iraqi people aren't freer, they're much worse off than before you meddled in their country.

You get America out of Iraq, you get Israel out of Palestine

Holy Moses. Christopher Hitchens has more on Sheehan's political analysis, calling it "sinister piffle." And he's right in that characterization, no matter how sympathetic the bearer of that piffle is. Which is why the President of the United States has no business giving credence to this ranting, malevolent rhetoric. Meeting with her would be the equivalent of giving an official audience to the likes Michael Moore or the Daily Kos, serving no purpose other than amplifying the grotesque political theater of these destructive fools.

So, in regard to my first hour commentary last Saturday, never mind. As usual, King Banaian, John Hinderaker, and Mitch Berg were right (extremely right). And this time, they were also correct.

I have to believe many of Sheehan's supporters have a similar basis for testimony as I originally did. That is, the skim review of sympathetic mainstream reports. With alternate information streams now filling in the gaps, hopefully a broader picture of the antics down in Crawford will be revealed to the masses. If not, and ignorance continues to guide public opinion and embolden her sponsors and advocates, the sad exploitation of vulnerable Cindy Sheehan will continue. Which wouldn't be surpsing. Ignorance and exploitation are the stuff media sensations are made of.
You Know What They Say About The Size Of A Guy's Poll...

While it's not nearly as pithy or witty as our poll on a similar subject matter, Generalissimo Duane is asking "which blogger would crack first in jail?" over at Radio Blogger.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Now let's you just drop them Dockers

Hugh Hewitt speculates on how long various bloggers would hold out behind bars before they cracked and gave up their sources. Forget the cheap shots against us, the Professor of the Vines (who has already prepared a response), and James Lileks. The real question to ask is how long a candy arse like Mr. Hewitt would last in the joint without the creature comforts that he's become addicted to. I'd guess that the answer would be expressed in hours rather than days.
The Boy Ain't Right

There are some disturbing developments to report on the baby front. Recently I've observed the following behavioral patterns:

- Whining, whimpering, and wailing at even the slightest hint of a problem without ever offering constructive solutions.

- Complete dependence on others for all forms of sustenance. There's nothing he enjoys more than suckling at the teat.

- No respect for personal property rights (as evidenced by the number of "accidents" involving my shirts).

- No concept of personal responsibility: he's consistently making messes that he has no intention of cleaning up

Yes, the signs are all pointing to one thing. And as much as pains me as a parent to admit it, I can no longer deny the obvious truth:

The boy is a liberal.


I also suspect he's involved in illicit drug activity as well. How else to explain the many pacifiers I've found in the boy's room? I may not be as hip to the jive as I used to be, but I'm no fool either. I've heard all about these "rave" parties that are all the rage with the kids these days.

So far my exhortations to Nathaniel to "pull yourself up by your onesie snaps" and that "the Lord helps those who help themselves" appear to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm going to have to step up my nightly readings from The Road to Serfdom and complete that application for the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

Fortunately it's not too late. What's that old adage again? If you're not a liberal at twenty days, you have no heart, and if you're not a conservative at forty days, you have no head.
Bush Keeps Woman In The Kitchen

Woman chef wins White House cook-off:

Cristeta Comerford, a naturalized citizen from the Philippines, has been named the White House executive chef, the first woman to hold the position, First Lady Laura Bush announced Sunday.

Sure it's fine to have them in the kitchen performing their "womanly duties" but when is this good ol' boy administration going to wake up and put women in real positions of power?

Oh yeah, I forgot about her. And her. And her.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lager? I Don't Even Know Her

Summer and a man's thoughts to turn to refreshing, easy drinking brews. Ken Wells, a staff reporter from the Wall Street Journal, got together with a few of his poker buddies to rate some of the more popular lager beers from around the world:

I thought it would be good fun to compare lagers of all stripes -- pitting versions from the Big Three (Anheuser-Busch, Miller and Coors) against a slate of European imports and a handful of craft-brewed lagers. My picks ranged from German Beck's and the Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell (yes, the famous beer is still being brewed) to U.S. lagers available in my local New Jersey shops -- including Brooklyn Pilsner from New York, Samuel Adams Boston Lager from Massachusetts and Yuengling Traditional Lager from Pennsylvania.

To see which lagers would go over best with a sampling of beer drinkers -- and whether they could discern a difference between them in a blind tasting -- I enlisted the guys in my monthly Friday-night poker group. These were open-mined tasters, who have sampled a good number of imports and microbrews but aren't averse to Budweiser, either.

And the winner is...

And our best beer? Heineken narrowly beat out Pilsner Urquell and Samuel Adams for the top spot. The panel called it smooth and drinkable but not cloyingly sweet, and with enough body and a hint of hops that it seemed a substantial member of the class. No one scored it lower than 6, but also not higher than an 8. No beer rated a 10 from any panelist, though Pilsner Urquell and Sam Adams each got one 9. "What this tells me," Jim said afterwards, "is that we are a middlebrow crowd who want beer that is a little special -- but not too special."

Not too special is a fine description of Heineken. Let's just say that it's not one of my favorites. I visited the Heineken brewery museum in Amsterdam last year and could barely finish the free tasting samples. I'll drink your free beer, but I won't enjoy it damnit.

I guess I should be happy that these yahoos didn't pick Bud, Coors, or Miller as their favorite lager. I would rank Heineken ahead of them but far behind the others that I have tasted, especially Sam Adams Lager and Pilsner Urquell. I'm never tried the Brooklyn Pilsner or the Victory Prima Pils (although I have enjoyed a couple of other Victory brews), but I can almost guarantee that I would like them more than Heineken. The same holds true for the Saranac Lager. I have sampled twelve different offerings from Saranac, including a Chocolate Lager and Dunkel Lager.

Something tells me that the crew that Wells selected to conduct these lager ratings have not developed much of a beer palate.

As for the guessing game, most of our long-time beer drinkers were unable to identify their favorites. One panelist correctly guessed three (Miller, Coors and Sam Adams), one got two correct and everybody else got only one. As for the King of Beers, only two of the five panelists were able to pick it out of the crowd.

If you can't pick out the distinctive (though far from pleasing) taste of Bud from a pack of beers, you're probably not exactly a go to guy when it comes to rating beer.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Gather 'Round The Philco

This Sunday night, Michael Yon, who is doing some great reporting from Iraq, will be a guest on Pundit Review Radio. Michael will be on at 9pm eastern time and you can catch him live on the PRR stream.

It's a perfect window of opportunity for Sunday night radio as we all know what we're tuning in come 10pm eastern time. That's right, a reply of Saturday's award winning Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcast.
Darling Nikki

The post on Nick Coleman at The City Pages Blotter that Saint Paul referenced earlier today, includes a comment on Coleman's departure submitted by a Nikki Carlson:

It was pretty clear that the station was trying to muzzle Nick Coleman all along. You could hear it in the show. I mean, what the heck happened to poor Cubby, his loyal and sometimes outspoken sidekick?

Nick has a dna-level connection to the twin cities: history, politics, religion, education and people that is irreplaceable. If Janet Robert doesn't object to Nick's choice of topics, then why the heck did she can him? Note to Janet: it's okay to change your mind - hire him back!

I miss the show and don't tune in for the morning drive-time anymore. Somebody please call me when he's back on the air, and I'll reset my radio dial.

Nikki Carlson? Hmmm...those initials seem awfully familiar, don't they? In fact, the name is even pretty close. You don't think...No, he wouldn't do that. Would he?
Gone, But Not Forgotten

The rumors of his demise have been ... largely correct.

What was first reported on Shot in the Dark has been corroborated by the horse's mouth. The City Pages interviewed Nick Coleman and he confirms his tenure on the Air America Morning Zoo is over.

In a telephone conversation with City Pages, Nick Coleman cited "ongoing management interference" as his main reason for leaving the left-leaning talk station after only six months.

The reason, he claims he was General Manager Janet Robert's monkey:

Coleman describes a work environment where Robert regularly imposed content restrictions. "Gays, guns, and abortion" were off-limits, Coleman says. And he was expected to minimize the airtime he devoted to the war in Iraq, which he claims Robert supports. Coleman was also chided for criticizing Democrats, including Sen. Mark Dayton and tycoon Vance Opperman, instead of reciting the prepared Democratic talking points.

Anyone who spent any time listening to the Coleman show may find the claim that he was restricted from talking about Iraq or "gays" to be highly curious, as they were his twin obsessions for conversation topics. And his listeners aren't the only ones scratching their heads about his departure story.

Janet Robert strenuously denies most of Coleman's claims.

Yikes. Forget those public schools, Nick Coleman look out - your bridges are burning!

UPDATE: Flash from Centrisity is a personal email correspondent with Nick and has more details. Including this Zen-like koan from the man himself:

Can "liberal" or "progressive" talk radio prosper under an ownership that is neither?

There it is, Air America, not liberal enough for Nick Coleman. Maybe they're hiring over at Radio Rebelde?

Craig Westover has the answer to his question:

... if Nick is defining "liberal" and "progressive," the answer is probably "no." To "prosper" in a free market, one has to appeal to a wide enough audience that one can entice advertisers and consequently make enough money to support operations if not show a profit. That probably means appealing to a wider audience than is interested in "speculation on the size of the genitals of the Power Line guys." It doesn't mean a station can't have a point of view -- it does mean its host ought to be able to frame the point of view so it's possible to have a discussion not just a bashing.
Where The Streets Flow With Beer

Scott e-mails to report on a blow for freedom struck on behalf of Green Bay Packer fans:

The village of Ashwaubenon has corrected an ongoing injustice. Beginning on August 12th, 2005, drinking on the streets in the Lambeau Entertainment District will be permitted. Ashwaubenon is located near Lambeau Field and for years Packers fans were outcasts in this tiny community.

"They're always hassling us" slurred one green and gold clad victim who had trouble recalling his name. "They let people drink Cokes there, but they won't let us knock back a couple of the state beverages. They're always on our case."

Fortunately, we live in a country where justice prevails.

We learn more from a story in Wednesday's Green Bay Press-Gazette

ASHWAUBENON--The Village Board on Tuesday loosened its rules on open intoxicants near Lambeau Field--but that doesn't mean you should pop open a cold one for Thursday's preseason Packers game.

The board unanimously agreed to allow people to drink on sidewalks and in public parking lots in a designated Lambeau Field Entertainment District on Packers home game days and for other special events.

But beware--the new ordinance isn't official until it's published Friday. That means things won't change till the Packers' Aug. 26 home game.

And it still will be illegal to drink on the streets or while driving.


While on the subject, JB Doubtless points us to a paper by Radley Balko titled The Back Door to Prohibition: The New War on Social Drinking:

Taken together, the well-organized efforts of activists, law enforcement, and policymakers portend an approaching "back-door prohibition"--an effort to curb what some of them call the "environment of alcoholism"--instead of holding individual drinkers responsible for their actions. Policymakers should be wary of attempts to restrict choice when it comes to alcohol. Such policies place the external costs attributable to a small number of alcohol abusers on the large percentage of people who consume alcohol responsibly. Those efforts didn't work when enacted as a wide-scale, federal prohibition, and they are also ineffective and counterproductive when implemented incrementally.
A Friend In Need

Gary Metz, who provides a great daily run down of events in Iran at the site Regime Change Iran, is looking for a little help to procure a new laptop:

Monday, I had a disaster. My laptop died and cannot be repaired. This is the second laptop I have gone through this year.

Given the nature of my work and the extensive hours put into this news service (I have invested 6-10 hours daily, 7 days a week since 2003, plus a full time job), I need a new laptop if I am to be able to continue.

Why a laptop? So I can post throughout the day. But I have been using a laptop because if I spend 6-10 hours after work in an office and can't be around with my wife and family I won't have either.

I have never made a specific request before, but I love this work and want to continue. Therefore, am asking you for help.

If you can spare a dime or two, drop by his site and make a donation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Deep Thinking Bumper Sticker Of The Day

Spotted yesterday on my way to work on a Volkswagen Jetta Wagon that also had an 89.3 The Current decal:


Quite a Shermanesque statement for the young gal behind the wheel to be making, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Night and Day

Michael Yon's riveting report today from Iraq about US military engagements around Mosul is the finest piece of battlefield journalism I've read during this entire war. Maybe that's only because I've just stared reading Michael Yon this past week.

Unfortunately, I've been prone to read guys like Nick Coleman instead. This institution of Minnesota mainstream media has been against the Iraq war from the start, gleefully spreading conspiracy theories about the motivations of the President, and doing all he can to erode the people of Minnesota's will to support our country's noble efforts over there. His column today on an alleged groundswell of Democrat candidates for office who are also Iraq war vets and ardent critics of US policy is his latest effort. His cheerleading summary:

They are on the leading edge of a growing political awakening that may help bring the country to grips with the war, with the lies that paved its way, with its failure to make us safer, and with its squandering of resources -- blood and billions -- that might really help win the war against terror.

That perspective has been the relentless position of Coleman and the Star Tribune over the entire course of this war. A perspective that is shared by many MSM outlets, most enjoying monopoly status in their respective markets. Given that, it's not surprising to see the polling numbers Coleman proudly trumpets: 57 percent of Americans believe the war in Iraq has made us less safe and similar proportions believe that the war is going badly (56 percent) and that it was a mistake (54 percent).

Think about those numbers and the kind of people embracing them as evidence of our failure, then read Michael Yon's first hand account of what's happening on the ground in Iraq. Of particular note is this distressing observation of what those fighting this war are beginning to feel about the home front:

I walked back through the dark and did the radio interview by cell phone. During such interviews, I get the impression that people at home are losing faith in the effort, though we are winning. But at home they cannot see it, and when I said goodbye that time, I sat in the dark. The birds began singing and twilight broke to sunrise; another day was born. I watched Strykers coming in, and Strykers going out: the missions rolled on and I wanted to go.

There's not much we can do about the Star Tribune and its MSM commrades' efforts to undermine the American people's will to win this war. That's what they yearn to do. But we can, as individuals, communicate our support for the men doing the fighting, so they can know not everyone is losing faith. One of many worthy charities out there providing such opportunities is Soldier's Angels. If you're inclined to get personally involved, the time is now.
Thanks For The Memories

Mitchell Berg is reporting that the Nick Coleman Radio Experience, which was broadcast on Minnesota Air America affiliate AM950, is kaput. The news has stunned local right wing bloggers, who have come to rely on Coleman's inane radio rantings as a rich source of material. Sisyphus is already waxing nostalgic for the good old days of the golden Coleman era with his list of Top 11 Things I Will Miss about the Nick Coleman Radio Show.

Oh well. Nick had a nice run. What was it six, maybe seven months? I'm sure he's a little disappointed that he couldn't outlast Chris Krok, but nobody ever said that radio's an easy business.

Now, he can sit back, relax, and wait for the inevitable summons to join fellow radio legends like Harley Flathers in the Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Given the footprint left by Coleman on the local broadcasting community, it would not surprise me at all to see the Museum of Broadcasting grant a waiting period exemption for Nick and add him to the class of 2005 Inductees (by the way, there's still time to get your tickets for this year's event).

The demise of the Nick Coleman Show means that local listeners will get to hear an extra hour of Air America's "nationally" syndicated Morning Sedition with Marc Riley and Mark Maron every morning. On AM950's web site, they promote Morning Sedition by advising that it's:

Time to wake up, brush your teeth and stick it to The Man.

As a regular listener, my experience has been that a couple of cups of coffee and some good reading material makes it easier to "stick it The Man" every morning.

UPDATE: Sometimes at moments like these, words just get in the way. King Banaian shares his thoughts on the bittersweet goodbye in song.

Conservatively Speaking

Congratulations go out to our friend Captain Ed Morrissey for his increasing encroachment into the world of mainstream media. His latest advances include getting selected to cover the Justice Sunday II program in Tennessee and also being added to the stellar roster of contributors to the
terrific Weekly Standard.

Not only is Ed nipping at Bill Kristol's heels in the world of punditry, he's fast breathing down the neck of Billy Crystal. Yes, the LIVE wit and wisdom of Captain Ed is now available via the Premiere Speakers Bureau.

Skimming through the ranks of other talent available through Premiere, I see another close personal friend of mine. No, not Kim Alexis--our relationship is probaby best described as "friendly acquaintances." Instead, I speak of John Hinderaker from Power Line, now available for your bar mitzvah or Gap grand opening for a mere $5,000. Some have questioned the value of Time Magazine's Blogger of the Year award. Now we have an answer: $2,000, the marginal rate of increase over Captain Ed's fee.

And both seemed to be woefully undepriced, at least according to Premiere standards for other talent. For example, Don Pryor, aka The World's Worst Waiter. His price $3,000.

Apparently Don does an interactive bit where he drops plates, stumbles into wedding cakes, and interrupts the real speakers scheduled to address your event. With hilarious consequences. For example:

[the speaker] begins by telling a joke at the end of which Don (from the banquet hall floor) yells out his punch line! The speaker then tries again with another joke whose punch line is stolen by Don!

If we ever lose John or Ed to the speaking circuit permanently, this guy sounds like he might fit right in on Northern Alliance Radio.

Or for $2,500 you can get Shellie Warren. She's a self-described: "Post abortive author and national speaker on sexual identity and misuse." Plus I understand she's a really lousy waiter.

Or, for that same price of $2,500, you could get eating disorder specialist and author Constance Rhodes. Who's dinner presentation seems to be a natural to be repeatedly interrupted by a lousy waiter.

Or for $7,500, you could get Rabbi Bob Alper and Ahmed Ahmed. Their act is described as:

One Arab. One Jew. Two Very Funny Guys.

Which, coincidentally, was the tag line for the Northern Alliance Radio Network, before JB Doubtless and Scott Johnson left the show.

In any regard, we salute the success of both Hinderaker and Morrissey. And we pass along this good news to all the radio listening public. You can hear both of these gentlemen for FREE on the Northern Alliance Radio Network every single week. Yes, every Saturday from 12 - 3 PM on AM1280 the Patriot, it's $8,000 of pure listening enjoyment. When you deduct the opportunity cost for the time spent listening to the utterances of Mitch Berg and Chad the Elder, you're still like 4 grand ahead. What a bargain! And we'll see you Saturday.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fair Warning

Don't look now, but guess what's coming just 'round the corner? That's right, the Great Minnesota Git Together a.k.a. the Minnesota State Fair opens its gates (and more importantly its Porta-Potties) in less than three weeks. Minnesotans will soon be flocking to the Fairgrounds in St. Paul for the fun, the food, and most of all, the FREE crap. Your typical native of the North Star State would trample his grandmother without a second thought if it meant getting a better spot in the line where a local TV station is handing out free ice scrapers.

There are those who claim that absence of the freak shows (Lobster Boy and his ilk) has caused the Fair to lose some of its appeal. I disagree. While it's true that we've reached a sad state in our history when we're no longer allowed to publicly marvel at the physical deformities of our fellow man, I say there is no shortage of freaks at the State Fair. You can easily find them on the Midway, in the Ag Barns, under the Coliseum, or anywhere else on the Fairgrounds. In fact, they're all around you. Sometimes they even are you.

From politically motivated seed art to fried ____(fill in the blank) on a stick to displays of animal genitalia that would make Paris Hilton think twice, there's something for everyone at the State Fair. Including live radio broadcasts.

For the second straight year, The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be coming to you live and in person from the State Fair on AM 1280 - The Patriot. Once again, we'll be cranking out four reaallly beeg shows from noon to 3pm live from the sprawling Patriot Manor facility at the Fairgrounds (conveniently located only steps away from the Summit beer garden):

- Saturday August 27th
- Sunday August 28th
- Saturday September 3rd
- Sunday September 4th

Make your plans now to come on down and join the festivities. Meet the NARN hosts and our fabulous lineup of guests. Sign up to win a car (technically speaking the use of it for two years) from the White Bear Lake Super Store. Play along with our audience participation contests. Ask King Banaian what he thinks about Iraqi Dinars. Tell Captain Ed what you think about his Notre Dame jersey. Laugh as Saint Paul get disrespected by costumed mascots. Watch as Mitch Berg makes radio history and milks a prairie chicken live on the air.

Best of all, reflect on what a truly great and egalitarian country we live in where a high-powered corporate attorney and force in the new media enjoys wolfing down a corn dog as much as the next guy.

See you at the Fair.