Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Smoking Ban Can

After reading of the glorious world that we are about to enter into as a result of the smoking ban that will take effect at midnight tonight in Hennepin County (which includes Minneapolis and many surrounding suburbs), the staff here at Fraters Libertas decided that the best way to welcome the dawning of this gilded age was with song. And so, without further adieu, we give you the extended-play dance version of "The Smoking Ban" (to be sung to the tune of "Candy Man").

[Lyrics by JB Doubtless, Saint Paul, Chad the Elder, and the Nihilist In Golf Pants. Accompanied by Atomizer pulling on a Camel Light.]

What can cure lung cancer?
emphysema too?
reduce heart attacks and a venereal disease or two
the smoking ban can
the smoking ban can
the smoking ban can 'cause
it's legislating love and makes your clothes smell good

Is it based on science?
or wishful thinking junk?
it really doesn't matter, when the DFL's in charge, punk
the smoking ban can
the smoking ban can
the smoking ban can 'cause
your habits are obscene and ruin our good mood

The smoking ban makes
every business quake
their property is the government's possession
talk about your left wing lesson
you can even call it an obsession
(or naked aggression!)

Smoking Ban, Hey it's the Smoking Ban
Everybody put out them smokes, cuz
It's the Smoking Ban....

What can take your freedom?
with regulations new?
Cover it with bs throw in a power grab or two
The smoking ban,
oh the smoking ban can
The smoking ban can 'cause
the gubmint has the power to make us all do good

What can take science?
tell people they will die?
From second hands blowing while they're eating Shepard's pie
The smoking ban,
the smoking ban can
The smoking ban can 'cause
the gubmint has the power to make us all do good

The smoking ban makes
health study toting fakes
Reek worse than a Camel pack
Talk about your fascist hacks
Next they'll likely ban Big Macs

Oh what can take jobs,
make them vanish like a blip
To help those poor waiters finally finish their movie scripts
The smoking ban,
oh the smoking ban can
The smoking ban can 'cause
the gubmint has the power to make us all do good
Theresa Marie Schindler Schiavo, 1963 - 2005

Rest in Peace.
Great Moments in Hyperbole

Greg Wallace (from What Attitude Problem?) writes in with this observation on the slippery slope of continuous variable exaggeration:

Interesting post you have on Dr. Cranford and his 105% certainty of his diagnosis. It reminds me that George McGovern was 1,000 percent behind Thomas Eagleton when the story first broke that he had received electroshock therapy for depression. And we all saw how that turned out.

Greg refers to the star-crossed 1972 Democratic ticket and George McGovern's unyielding support for his running mate, Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton. More from the History Channel:

Controversy soon arose when it was revealed that Eagleton had been hospitalized for nervous exhaustion three times during the 1960s and had twice received electric shock therapy as a treatment for depression. Eagleton confirmed the reports, and McGovern defended his running mate, saying, "I'm behind him 1,000 percent." However, just a few days later, McGovern changed his mind and asked Eagleton to step down under pressure from party leaders and the press.

I guess that's what 1,000% certainty buys you in politics, a few days. A hard lesson learned for Eagleton. And that wasn't the only one. More from Snake Soup for the Presidential Candidate's Soul.

The sad story of Thomas Eagleton is a story with many lessons, all of them worth their weight in Zig Ziglar seminars. His is the story, however, of one great lesson that every man who would seek the highest office in the land (or the number two spot) should learn: If you need help, for God's sake don't get it!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The First Lady Walks The Walk

On the streets of Kabul:

Under heavy protection in this dusty, dangerous capital, Laura Bush expressed support Wednesday for Afghan women freed from Taliban repression and urged more educational opportunities and greater rights. Afghanistan's leader said the first lady's visit mattered more than international aid.

Not bad for a woman who has never held a "real job", eh?

Mrs. Bush met with women who are training to be teachers and gave presents to Afghan children on the street. She visited President Hamid Karzai and thanked U.S. troops for bringing down rulers who kept girls from school.

"We are only a few years removed from the rule of the terrorists, when women were denied education and every basic human right," Mrs. Bush said at a teacher training institute. "That tyranny has been replaced by a young democracy, and the power of freedom is on display across Afghanistan."

"We must be mindful though, that democracy is more than just elections," she said. "The survival of a free society ultimately depends on the participation of all its citizens, both men and women."

Mr. Continuous

University of Minnesota Neurologist Ronald Cranford is one of Michael Schiavo's designated neurological experts, previously testifying in court to the state of Terri Schiavo's condition. On Monday he appeared on MSNBC's Scarborough County and testified further, this time to reporter Lisa Daniels:

DANIELS: Are you 100 percent correct in your opinion that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state? Do you agree with that?

CRANFORD: I am 105 percent sure she is in a vegetative state. And the autopsy will show severe reversible brain damage to the higher centers, yes

I certainly respect Dr. Cranford's credentials and expertise in this matter. But considering he's willing to abandon the discrete nature of the volume of his certainty, 105% seems kind of paltry. Why isn't he, say, 110% sure? Frankly, I'd be hesitant to accept his diagnosis until he was - at a minimum - 200% sure on this issue.

UPDATE: Flash from Centristy emails with this incongruity:

Your post includes the quote: "... severe reversible brain damage ... "

I believe the transcript more accurately states "irreversible" (as listed in the transcript at Media Matters). Kind of makes a difference.

A good catch. In context, I'm sure Cransford intended to say "irreversible." But reviewing the MSNBC transcript, it does say "reversible." Which is almost certainly a typo by the transcriptor or an accidental misstatement by Cranford. If curious, see for yourself on the video linked at the Media Matters post (being bound by the cords of dial up prevents any independent verification on my part).
There They Go Again

The gentleman at Power Line have once again been compelled to perform a vital service to the cause of journalism, this time debunking the nature of the infamous GOP Talking Points Memo which ostensibly exposed the Republican Party's attempt to exploit the Terri Schiavo case for political gain.

The rush to judgment by certain media institutions in propagating highly dubious evidence and conclusions as fact, with the result of smearing the Republican party, draws inevitable parallels to the Rathergate scandal. Playing the role of CBS News in this new ginned up drama were those paragons of accuracy and integrity at ABC News and the Washington Post.

If you haven't been following the case, check out John Hinderaker's Weekly Standard article and the update from today's Power Line, which includes the denials and obfuscation of the principals.

You'd think dirty tricksters from the opposition would have already learned this immutable law of the new media era - you need to get some better memo forgers! At least good enough to fool a couple of lawyers with a blog.

Failing the understanding of that lesson, I think Xcel Energy gives the best advice to aspiring document forgers and their media mouthpieces:

If you ever come across a ... [Power] line, leave the area immediately

If a power line has fallen onto a vehicle, stay away from the vehicle. Seek help immediately by calling 911. If you are in the vehicle, wait inside the car until help arrives. If you must leave the vehicle due to fire or other life-threatening reason, leap clear of the vehicle, landing with both feet together. Never hold onto the door while leaping and once on the ground, hop away - do not run.

You go that CBS News, ABC News, Washington Post? For your own good, just hop away already!

Satan Hits The Trifecta

North Korea
Unimaginable evil

Regime Change Iran reports:

Security forces across the Islamic Republic are on alert today. They have been authorized to exert " more control" across the country in order to shut down pro-democracy demonstrations they fear may follow today's soccer match with North Korea.

The game which is being played in North Korea will be viewed by millions of Iranians watching on television. The game has already started ( it is scheduled to run from 11am to 1pm Tehran time). It appears the regime is hoping that since the game is being played early in the day and will be viewed on television, rather than at a local stadium, they will be able to better control pro-democracy demonstrations. Post soccer game celebrations have been an opportunity for such demonstrations in the past, such as those last week.

Something tells me that Dubya didn't kick out the honorary first ball at today's match. And I gotta think that rioting at soccer games in the People's Republic is not a big problem either.

Pistol Packin' Principals?

Yesterday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Mark Yost suggested that only a gun could have stopped Jeff Weise:

In the week since teenage gunman Jeff Weise walked into Red Lake Senior High School and killed five students, a teacher and a security guard before killing himself, the usual voices from the usual precincts have been asking: What can we do to keep this from happening next time? How about arming security guards, as well as a handful of administrators and teachers who volunteer to be properly trained?

I can hear the gasps echoing from Mac-Groveland to Crocus Hill. But if we think any legislation is going to stop the next Jeff Weise, we're fooling ourselves. Indeed, the idea that with the right legislation and an unlimited pot of money we can take the risk out of any of life's endeavors is simply wrong.

Bob Davis picked up on this and discussed it extensively on his radio show this morning.

Of all the post-Red Lake suggestions, this is one that actually has a realistic chance of at least limiting the impact of school shootings. I don't have much faith in the power of the schools to stop someone like Weise from deciding to go on a shooting spree in the first place. I have much more faith in the power of an armed person in the school (security guard, teacher, principal) stopping them once the shooting starts.

UPDATE: Nathan e-mails to remind us that some Body floated similar ideas in the wake of the Columbine shootings.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Right Wing Radical Update

The latest prominent voice, in support of feeding Terri Schiavo:

The parents of Terri Schiavo met and prayed Tuesday with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who called her impending death "an injustice."

"I feel so passionate about this injustice being done, how unnecessary it is to deny her a feeding tube, water, not even ice to be used for her parched lips," said Jackson, who has run for president as a Democrat. "This is a moral issue and it transcends politics and family disputes."

Indeed it is, and it has been from the beginning. Those prone to basing their judgments of the bipartisan nature of this movement on evidence will believe the likes of Jesse Jackson, Tom Harkin and Mark Dayton.

Those preferring faith-based pronouncements and wishful thinking instead can listen to the Star Tribune editorial board, who believe in their souls, despite all evidence to the contrary:

... Americans should be embarrassed on [Terri Schiavo's] behalf to see Washington's right-wing radicals seize this permanently unconscious woman for a totalitarian fibfest.

If the Star Tribune and their cult of delusional partisanship happens to be correct, we heartily welcome Jesse Jackson to the right wing.
Wild Wacky Stuff

If you haven't had a chance to catch the video of Tyler Hirsch crashing the net after the Gophers were shut out by Colorado College in their WCHA Final Five semifinal game on March 18th, you can check it out here. Hirsch has not played since the incident and his status for the Frozen Four in Columbus remains unclear.

Gopher coach Don Lucia will be participating in a live web chat today at 10am (CT) hosted by You have to think that a question or two will come up regarding Hirsch.

(Thanks to Scott for the video tip.)

UPDATE: Patrick e-mails with a possible explantion for Hirsch's antics:

I heard [Patrick] Reusee say on [Joe] Souchery's radio show that Tyler had been benched on the power play in the third period and when Tyler asked the coaches why he was benched and was told "because he wasn't going to the net." Well he seems to have taken care of that. Makes the video make a lot more sense.

It's one of the oldest, yet truest cliches in hockey, "You HAVE to go to the net."

During today's web chat, Lucia sounded optimistic about Hirsch playing in the Frozen Four:

Coach Lucia: I think right now there is a good chance Tyler will play in the Frozen Four. We have closely monitored his situation over the last week and will continue to do that. He is getting better every day. Coming back to practice last week was great for Tyler and great for our team. We will continue to give him support with the hope that he will be in our lineup for the Frozen Four, but that will probably not be decided until late this week or this upcoming weekend.

Meanwhile, defenseman Alex Goligoski's status is not yet known:

Sarah (Saint Paul): Will Alex Goligoski be playing in the Frozen Four?

Coach Lucia: It is too early to tell. He will resume practice later this week, but we will probably not make a determination on his status until gameday.

Getting Hirsch and Goligoski back would definitely help the Gophers power play, which was anemic last weekend (0 for 15) in the West Regional games. I have a hunch that we won't have to worry about Hirsh going to the net again.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The Politics of Tragedy

In the aftermath of last week's horrific school shooting in Red Lake, Minnesota a lot of theories have been floated about what might have motivated Jeff Weise to commit has terrible acts. What or who was to blame for the tragedy? It began with many of the usual suspects:

- Drugs: Weise was taking Prozac.

- Music: Initial reports claimed that Weise liked to listen to music with dark, violent messages. Recently this seems to have refuted, as I heard an interview with an relative who said that Weise enjoyed the likes of Johnny Cash and John Lennon (imagine that).

- Movies: Weise was said to have watched the school shooting movie "Elephant" just a few weeks before the shooting.

- Neo-Nazi websites: Weise appears to have had a fascination with Nazis and posted messages on Nazi themed web sites.

- Bullying: Apparently Weise was not the most popular kid in school and may have been the victim of bullies.

- Family history: Weise's father committed suicide when he was ten and has mother was left paralyzed after an auto accident in which one of Weise's cousins was killed.

The simplest explanation of course is that he was a very F'ed up kid who lost his tenuous connection with reality and snapped. But you can't have continuous media coverage based on such simple premises. There has to be more.

Late last week, I noticed the emergence of a another theory to explain the unexplainable. A theory that I predict will gain credence as we go forward because it will allow its proponents to use the tragedy at Red Lake for their own political purposes.

The reason that we had a school shooting at Red Lake is because Governor Pawlenty refuses to raise taxes.

Outlandish you say? No one would dream of trying to get away with such an obvious shameless politicalization of the issue, right? Don't be so sure.

You should never underestimate the lengths that the pro-government, pro-spending, pro-confiscating your money crowd is willing to go to. Remember that it was only last year that Governor Pawlenty was being blamed because people's commutes were slower when it snowed. For a while it seemed like every problem that came down the pike was being laid at Pawlenty's feet because of his cold-hearted indifference to the need to spend more of your money.

For now, the fingers aren't being pointed directly at Pawlenty. The talk is about lack of funding for early childhood education or that we don't have enough counselors in our schools to help kids like Weise. Not to make light of a serious subject, but when I hear talk of more counselors, I can't help but imagine Mr. Macky from "South Park":

Mr. Macky: Uh, Jeff...Don't shoot kids in school, m'kay?

But give this thing a week or two and the dots, they'll be a connected. A troubled kid shoots up a school....That troubled kid could have been helped by counseling and/or ECE....Governor Pawlenty cut programs for school counselors and/or ECE in the last budget instead of raising taxes....Governor Pawlenty's refusal to raise taxes is the reason for the Red Lake shooting.

And it won't be limited to the Guv either. Republicans in the MN House and Senate will fall in for their share of culpability as well. Then there's David Strom of the Taxpayers' League. Although it doesn't seem possible that they could demonize him any more (he already has been unfavorably compared to Satan after all), I would imagine that the Strom haters in the local media will use the Red Lake shooting as another excuse to sully his good name.

Although the behavior of the pro-government folks in this regard is inexcusable, it is really not all that surprising. When you believe that government is the ultimate provider and the answer to life's problems, then the mere fact that something like Red Lake occurred means that somewhere along the way government failed. And we all know what the answer is when government fails, don't we?

That's right, more government. (See the debate over education funding.)

UPDATE: Dan e-mails to point out a cartoon which lays the blame for Red Lake at the foot of another political leader; President Bush.
The Case for Intervention

During last Saturday's broadcast of the Northern Alliance Radio Network the Terri Schiavo case dominated discussion. And for the first time in our one year history, we found ourselves in the position of being at odds with the majority of the callers. Not on the specifics of the case or the sentiment that in an injustice was being perpetrated. Instead, the disagreement was on the legal propriety of the popular will (as manifested by elected legislators and executives) overruling a court order and intervening to save an innocent life.

I'm still of the mind that any such intervention would have been illegitimate in a civil society dependent on the rule of law. For this problem to be resolved, the law needs to be clarified and/or amended by constitutionally prescribed channels. (Channels which are being pursued, as discussed by Captain Ed today.)

But that will take time, years probably. And the end result is that an innocent woman will die because the law, as interpreted by a few judges, was inadequate to protect her. I'm not such a zealot for reason and procedure alone that I don't recognize the moral paradox that puts us in. Nor to question the complicity in her death that our entire society must face, because whether you agree with the judge who ordered her starvation, or disagree with him but are willing to let the gears of government grind out a superior resolution, she's gong to be equally as dead.

Our reader Mike Beach listened to the NARN show on Saturday and was among the group that felt we may have been too compliant in accepting Terri Schiavo's court mandated fate. His comments:

Although this correspondence is inspired by the representations made on the radio program Saturday and similar expressions by Hugh Hewitt last week, it is not a rebuttal or counterpoint or argument. We're of the same mind regarding the impropriety of what has happen to Terri Schiavo. and lack of proper Judicial conduct. It is simply for your consideration.

Much has been said, but is only the start, of what is to be a long attempt to reconcile what has happened in Florida. This tragedy is not a "symbol" of the power struggle, it is not an affectation. This is a catastrophic victory for those who believe that government is god, against those who know what are the proper role, size, scope, and limits of government - ours above all others.

As a constitutional conservative I retain the belief that sovereignty ultimately is retained by the individual expressed en masse via elections through the electorate. Government is a by product of the founding core principles expressed by the constitution. I neither love nor hate my government. I evaluate it against its purpose expressed the constitution and also against the degree infraction of and natural right of individual liberty. The current inflexible widespread single-mindedness of the judiciary is not accidental. As an organization they have taken this methodology as a means to an end. The end being that the judiciary is in charge and nothing can be allowed to, in fact or perception, be seen to truncate their, as they believe own, "manifest destiny".

In courts today, and in the tragedy of Terri the party with the biggest agenda, is neither of the combatants, it lies with the court(s). The contestants are mostly irrelevant - the game rigged, the outcome secure before it began. Therefore, since justice is not the goal, once a decision, always a decision save for the rare self serving exception.

On the show Saturday, the adamancy and regularity of the phrase "rule of law" was disturbing and discouraging. From the dialog on the show it is clear that we feel similarly on facts, circumstances, failings, etc. Apparently where we disagree is the most critical point. In this civil (as opposed to criminal) court matter, does catering to "law" trump a citizen's absolute, unassailable right to live? Founding principles as expressed in the Constitution are incontrovertibly clear that this result was void of justice, leaving an innocent, victimized, woman to die. We starved a woman to death simply because we did not have the commitment to intercede against the obdurate will of the judiciary. Essentially, this is a wrong that cannot be corrected. Dead is dead, and for that fact this was the case where the now systemic over-reach of authority by the judiciary must have been stopped, and we failed. Clearly, they are in charge.

The most committed win - NOT the most well armed. We are a nation of laws. There are plenty of laws that either by their nature or by agency implementation, or by perversion of judiciary are in fact or practice unconstitutional. It happens with regularity that laws are rightfully revised, overturned, supplanted. In this case all that was necessary was to push back a little, to save an innocent person from a wrongful state ordered merciless death. A result of which was nothing more than judicial civil contempt for the principles of Law with which we have entrusted them and they swore to uphold. Sometimes you have to know which law must rule and risk what may come of it. The judicial "victory" is terminal for Terri. This "victory" is also clear and convincing evidence that we are so far out of touch with how much control they have I fear this battle may have been the last in a war we didn't really even engage in.

The judiciary and their likeminded, and the sycophants are clearly in charge, we do not have the conviction and commitment to truncate this deadly wrong. Reagan would never have allowed it.


Now that Glen Reynolds is discovering the power of razorblogging, perhaps it's time for those who mocked our interest in the topic to eat some crow. I believe that LF is becoming quite familiar with the flavor.

No Joy In Twinsville

The mighty voice of Bob Casey has fallen silent. R.I.P.
Separated At Birth?

Todd submits the following SAB for your consideration:

Sci-fi conspiracy buff favorite William B. Davis as the "Cigarette Smoking Man" from the "X-Files" and...

Left wing conspiracy nut favorite Paul Wolfowitz as "Neo-con Man" from the World Bank?

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Enter The Condor

Sixteen college hockey teams entered the weekend hoping to win a place in the Frozen Four in Columbus on April 7th and 9th. Five teams from the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) qualified for the NCAA playoffs. It was my opinion that they were the best teams in the country and that the WCHA was easily the best conference in college hockey.

But in my wildest dreams I would not have imagined it possible that we'd see an all-WCHA Frozen Four. I did predict that Denver, Colorado College, and North Dakota would win their regionals, and despite some rough spots, they did just that. All in all I was ten up and two down on my regional picks, missing the Cornell/Ohio State game (a game that OSU probably deserved to win) and the Minnesota Gophers earning a trip to Columbus.

Despite that fact that they would be playing on home ice, I had my doubts about the Gophers. One of my main concerns was their ability to put the bisket in the basket, which turned out to be a well founded worry as the Gophers scored all of three goals over the weekend. They faced tough goalies in both games and needed overtime to best Maine 1-0 on Saturday and Cornell 2-1 on Sunday.

I attended Saturday's game against Maine, but was not able to make use of my tickets on Sunday (it was Easter after all). Fortunately my in-laws have a big screen television and, despite the fact they are not hockey fans, they didn't mind me watching the game (except perhaps after my joyous screaming after the first Gopher goal rudely roused my father-in-law from his nap).

Cornell employed a rope and dope style of hockey, playing a conservative, defensive game and relying on their excellent goalkeeper, David McKee. McKee turned away the Gophers time after time and late in the second period the Big Red took advantage of a Gopher breakdown to score a short handed goal, which briefly gave them a 1-0 lead. The Gophers tied it less than two minutes later when Andy Sertich swept a backhander past McKee. That was the end of the scoring in regulation.

Overtime hockey is the best and worst of times for a fan. The tension is incredible and the fact that at any moment you could experience the highest of highs or the lowest of lows is gut wrenching. Gopher fans were lucky in this regard in the games this weekend as the both contests ended early in the extra session.

Evan Kaufman was the hero on Saturday. Today it was Barry Tallackson's turn for glory. The big winger has been something of a disappointment for Gopher fans over the years. He seems to have the talent to be a star, but only shows it in frustratingly irregular spurts. Fortunately most of those spurts take place in the post-season and once again Tallackson came through today when he banged a rebound past McKee less than five minutes into overtime.

An all-WCHA Frozen Four that includes the Gophers? It doesn't get much better than that. The Gophers will be hard pressed to continue their success in Columbus, especially since they face North Dakota in the semifinals and the Sioux might be playing the best hockey in the country right now. But for now Gopher fans can certainly savor a very special weekend of hockey. No one more so than the President of the Barry Tallackson Fan Club. Cheers Sisyphus!
The Razor's Edge

Now that razorblogging has broken out into the mainstream, I thought I'd take the opportunity to further the discussion. I've been using my Mach 3 Power Razor for over two months now and it rocks. Now only does it provide the cleanest shave I've ever had, the blades seem to last much longer than other triple bladed razors.

For more on the topic of blade life, we turn to an e-mail from Tim:

Just a little fodder to keep The Great Razor Debate going. Check out the following website:

They cryogenically treat commonly available razor cartridges so they last longer. Some of these cartridges are getting up there in price, so anything that extends the life of these little beauties may be worth it.

At the very least, the purchase of these cryo-blades would allow you to trump JB?s Mach 3. You would own a Cryo Mach 3.

Cryogenically treated razor blades? Is this a great country or what?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Two Tickets To Paradise?

Attention hockey fans in the Twin Cities area! I have two tickets for Sunday's NCAA Regional hockey final between Minnesota and Cornell that I won't be able to use. The winner of the contest advances to the Frozen Four. The game starts at 2:30pm and is at Mariucci Arena. Drop me an e-mail if you're interested in them.
The Sincerest Form Of Flattery?

I see that Glen Reynolds is now razorblogging.

Let's not forget where that trend started. We were razorblogging before razorblogging was cool.

UPDATE: The razorblogging continues here.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hail Columbus

For the third straight year, Bill from Rocks Off and I will face in off in our NCAA college hockey challenge. Two years ago, I came close to running the table, missing only one game in the NCAA tourney. Last year, Bill bested me, evening our series at 1-1.

Bill has posted his picks already and we definitely are not on the same page this year. In fact, we only have one of the same teams in the Frozen Four. This should make things very interesting.

Anyway, here's my take.

East Regional


Mercyhurst 1
Boston College 5

Boston University 2
North Dakota 3


Boston College 3
North Dakota 4

Midwest Regional


Colgate 2
Colorado College 4

Wisconsin 2
Michigan 3


Colorado College 5
Michigan 3

West Regional


Maine 3
Minnesota 4

Ohio State 3
Cornell 2


Ohio State 4
Minnesota 2

Northeast Regional


Harvard 3
New Hampshire 4

Bemidji State 3
Denver 6


New Hampshire 1
Denver 3



North Dakota 5
Ohio State 4

Colorado College 2
Denver 1

National Championship

Colorado College 4
North Dakota 2

Yes, my picks do reflect a definite WCHA bias (as does the poll we're currently running). But I don't think that there is any doubt that the WCHA is head and shoulders about the other conferences. WCHA teams have won the last three national championships and North Dakota was only inches away from winning it in overtime 2001. This year they have three of the four #1 seeds, and even though you can debate whether the Gophers really deserved one or not, it's hard to argue with the notion that the WCHA has the best teams in the country.

For me, it comes down to CC and Denver. Both are strong, evenly matched teams and if they played a seven game series it would no doubt go the distance. This time I'm giving the nod to CC, but it would not shock me if Denver were to repeat.

What of the Gophers? This is not their year. The defense is young and needs more experience. The goaltending is now a question mark after Briggs' shaky performance last week. Johnson is solid, but not the goalie you want to ride in the playoffs. They also lack scoring punch and don't get consistent play from enough of their forwards. I could easily see them losing to Maine in the first game, especially if Howard (the Black Bears goalie) plays well. But I just can't pick them to lose to Maine. My heart will not allow it.

I'll be down at Mariucci for both of Saturday's contests, but will have to settle for watching Sunday's regional final on television. 2:30pm on Easter Sunday? Nice timing.
Four For Forty

Another Thursday night at Keegan's Irish Pub...

(you know the drill)

...another trivia victory for the Fraters squad. The triumph was our fortieth at Keegan's in the last eighteen months or so. It's been a nice run. But you know what? It never gets old. As usual, we were magnanimous in victory, even going so far as to let some of our fellow competitors, who may never experience the thrill of holding the championship trophy themselves (I'm looking at you Mr. Strom), share in our joy.

There were a number of prominent local bloggers on hand and LearnedFoot from The Kool Aid Report also made an appearance. Time doesn't permit me to list all of them, but I did have a nice chat with Andy from Residual Forces and Gary from TBFKADVK, who has become a regular at Keegan's on Thursdays.

I had a chance to buy Robin from The Power Liberal a beer to mark her recent birthday (Tuesday). We also learned that Robin's beau popped THE question on Tuesday and wedding bells will be chiming for the happy couple come September. Congratulations to Robin and her betrothed.

Just remember that being married is no excuse not to make it down to Keegan's on Thursday. Right LF?
Cut to the Chaser

Regarding the perils of being socially dead, the Warrior Monk from Spitbull shows that living wills and flirting aren't the only ways to ensure lively companionship. He does it the old-fashioned way. Booze.

As reported by his wife:

The Warrior Monk made me a Manhattan in a juice glass (yes, he's still alive, and claims he will re-enter the blogosphere someday). It's about 75% consumed and I'm 100% wasted. If I were a boy, the other boys would make fun of me.

Yes, but if you were a boy Eloise, the Warrior Monk never would have given you that drink.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

There's A New Sheriff In Boulder

Or at least there would be if the readers of Fraters Libertas had anything to do with it. Yes, the polls are closed and the results are in. And the person that you feel should be the new president of the University of Colorado (CU) is...

...Eric Cartman from South Park. Cartman captured 29% of the votes cast easily outdistancing King Banaian and Hugh Hewitt who both finished with 23% of the tallies (King narrowly edged Hugh to finish second). Here are the complete results:

Eric Cartman from South Park 29%
King Banaian of SCSU Scholars 23%
Hugh Hewitt 23%
Pam Dawber (Mindy) 12%
John Elway 5%
Ward Churchill 4%
Glen Reynolds of Instapundit 2%
Professor Bainbridge 2%

Choosing a cartoon character over a field of highly qualified candidates to head up a renowned educational institute speaks volumes about the perception that much of the public has about the state of higher learning in our country. Or maybe it just speaks volumes about the maturity level of our readers. Either way, the people have spoken. Respect their ah-thor-a-taay.

Where in the World Was Your Congressional Representation?

As noted on this fine Internet site earlier this week, the House of Representatives vote for supporting the Terri Schiavo appeal was remarkably bi-partisan in nature. 78% (203 of 261) of those voting were in agreement to support the Federal court review of the Schiavo starvation order. This included 46% (47 of 102) of Democrats present to vote. Despite what the relentlessly shrill partisan voices of division in the media are trying to tell you, Democrats and Republicans came together on this one, put their principles above their party ID, and tried to do the right thing.

Those voting "nay" on this bill weren't even the second largest voting bloc on Monday. Those morbid nabobs only mustered 58 votes total. Far outnumbering them was another, more mysterious caucus. Those who didn't even bother to show up.

Fully 174 US Representatives--a staggering 40% of the total--were unable to come to Washington to vote on the Schiavo bill. No doubt different circumstances contributed to this systematic absenteeism. It's likely that the controversial nature of this bill spooked more than a few weather vane politicians who would rather not have to go on record supporting either side in this case. (And if they were forced to come in and vote, I suspect the ratio of Democratic votes in support would have been severely eroded.)

The more common explanation has to do with the Easter recess Congress had already begun (when you're in government you can never start those vacations too early). The story goes, many of our public servants had fled the city and had trouble getting back in time for this previously unscheduled vote.

But, really, how difficult is it for these people schedule a flight with a few days notice in order to do the job they begged us to have? Not very. Unless they had something they'd really rather be doing instead.

Like, for instance, exotic world travel.

That certainly seems to be the case with the missing members of the Minnesota Congressional contingent. Four of our Representatives did vote, Democrat Jim Oberstar and Republicans Mark Kennedy, Jim Ramstad, and John Kline. (It's interesting to note, all four supported the bill, giving MN a perfect clean sweep in support of Terri Schiavo.)

But the other four suspects were no where to be found. At least not around Washington.

Democratic Representative Colin Peterson from the 7th District and Martin Sabo of the 5th were traveling in Europe, according to the Star Tribune, "on Congressional business". It's hard to imagine what Congressional business is more important than a floor vote. But we'll assume a trip to Europe during a vacation period was indeed vital. Although not vital enough to be listed on either of their official Web sites (or anywhere else to the full extent of my Googling abilities.)

Next up is Gil "I Love This Job" Gutknecht, the Republican from Congressional District 1. He was in .... Europe. According to the Star Tribune, Germany "on Congressional business". The nature of this business was not specified in the article, nor is it on his web site. MPR reported last year that Gutknecht has a prior record of German travel obligations:

Rep. Gil Gutknecht, a Republican from Rochester, traveled to Germany twice last year, although one of the trips was a combination of an official and private trip. He flew to Europe on a taxpayer-funded flight to visit U.S. troops in Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Germany, and while there, accepted $850 worth of food and lodging to speak to the German Chamber of Commerce.

Gutknecht's spokesman, Bryan Anderson, said the congressman had legitimate business in going to Germany.

"He is the chairman of Congressional Study Group on Germany," Anderson said. "With his interest in prescription drug prices, it fits in with his work."

I'm sure it does. Let's just hope someday his work can fit in with his interest in Germany, so he can make sure to vote when he's supposed to.

Finally, there's 4th District DFLer Betty "I Have a Job That I Love" McCollum. She was too busy to come back due to .... a Congressional junket touring Mexico and Panama. Another nice place to spend a spring break, I must say. No wonder she loves her job so much.

McCollum was good enough to mention her trip on her web site. Her schedule includes this appearance: McCollum will also attend Palm Sunday Mass at the Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

In between Church and all that junketing, at least Ms. McCollum did have time to release a statement from beautiful, balmy Panama indicating what she might have done had she the time to come back to work:

Ms. Terri Schiavo deserves the right to human dignity and respect.  Instead, this brain damaged woman and her family are being used as political pawns. Republican Leader Tom Delay has decided it is in his interest to exploit Terri Schiavo's misery and the anguish of her loved ones for political gain. Nothing I have witnessed in Congress has been more cynical or distasteful.

Not that she actually "witnessed" Tom Delay do anything from all the way in Panama, but her hyperbolic attempt at partisan exploitation is well taken.

Let's hope Catholic Betty McCollum had time to say a prayer for some personal guidance during her promoted appearance at the Bascilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Her statements indicate some gaps in her understanding of the Faith, as articulated by this recognized expert in Catholicism, Pope John Paul II:

I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory, insofar as and until it is seen to have attained its proper finality, which in the present case consists in providing nourishment to the patient and alleviation of his suffering.

The evaluation of probabilities, founded on waning hopes for recovery when the vegetative state is prolonged beyond a year, cannot ethically justify the cessation or interruption of minimal care for the patient, including nutrition and hydration. Death by starvation or dehydration is, in fact, the only possible outcome as a result of their withdrawal. In this sense it ends up becoming, if done knowingly and willingly, true and proper euthanasia by omission.

... such an act is always "a serious violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person"

No word yet on whether Rep. McCollum believes the Pope is being exploitative, cynical, and distasteful as well. Hopefully she'll have time to comment on that when she gets back from Mexico.
King Banaian: Ex-Red Sox Fanatic?

Sorry King, but sometimes the truth hurts.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Dawn of the Socially Dead

Vox Day, commenting on the absurdity of the new standards being devised for living in dying in the USA:

If the new bioethic standard for an intolerable life is "socially dead", then we're soon going to see mass emigration on the part of engineers and programmers that will rival the Irish fleeing the potato famines.

Not to mention guys allegedly writing anonymous and withering social commentary in the boxer shorts/pajamas.

The day "socially dead" becomes the recognized term for the conditions allowing euthanasia will be a dark one in this country. If for no other reason, its use as a vindictive punchline for hundreds of Maureen Dowd aping media pundits throughout the land.

I hope that day can be avoided entirely, but just in case, fellow bloggers, get those living wills ready now. Or, better yet, read these tips on flirting from Kathy of the Cake Eater Chronicles (yet another fine MOB member), and kiss those funeral blues away forever.
Set Them Free

Skip e-mails regarding my post on overprotective parents and passes on some advice:

Interesting article about parents and worry and faith. I have a son in Iraq (he's a Marine) and that's a real test of faith, but I wish to relate an encounter I had recently with a young man who'd like to be a Marine.

He was bagging groceries at the Vermilion Farm market and wearing a knit cap with "Marines" in bright yellow stitched to it. I asked if he planned to enlist and the cashier, also his Mom, said "definitely Not!". Mom was gonna keep her son out the service to assuage her own fears.

I told her about my son's current duty station. yes, it is quite scary, but at some point you have to let them go. The kids have to go and face the world on their own. She wanted nothing to do with that. Her son could stay close by so she wouldn't have to worry. "Don't you worry when he gets into an old beat up car with his teenaged friends? Is that really any less scary?" My theory is that at least in the service the kids get a modicum of adult supervision.

I didn't connect so I gave up on her, but as the young man was finishing up the bagging I gave him some unsolicited advice: "Tell you Mom you love her, but you have to do what you have to do. Hang on to your dreams, and, what the hell, dream big. If you think you've got what it takes to pass this ultimate test go for it otherwise you'll question yourself for the rest of your life."

I'm not a recruiter but I have to agree parents have to let go, show some trust, some faith and some separation. The kids need room to be kids.

Words of wisdom from someone who knows firsthand just how hard it can be. Kudos Skip.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Strib Broadens Its Horizons

A memo from Minneapolis Star Tribune editor Anders Gyllenhaal has been posted at Poynter Online:

I'm pleased to announce that Katherine Kersten, a high-profile newspaper and broadcast commentator in the Twin Cities and a Star Tribune editorial page columnist for eight years, will join the newsroom staff as a Metro columnist.

Katherine brings a wealth of experiences and local connections to the job. In addition to writing for the Star Tribune and other newspapers and magazines, she has worked as a commentator for "All Things Considered," practiced law, co-written a book, worked as a banker, home-schooled one of her children and served as a fellow for the Center of the American Experiment.

Katherine will join the Star Tribune in May, writing two columns a week, plus a Sunday column every third week or so, working in a part-time role, four days a week. This will mean our rotation will now include columns every day of the week, along with multiple columns on most Sundays.

While I welcome Kersten's political viewpoints to the pages of the Strib, I have to question whether this is really the proper venue for her. She's always struck me as more of a policy wonk type, rather than a general interest columnist. I could easily see a place for her on the editorial pages, but am a bit skeptical about how she will handle three columns a week in the Metro section.

Of course, I'll give her a chance to show what she can do and hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised by what she cranks out. Although the chances of seeing a column devoted to the travails of standing in line for free burritos seem pretty slim. Sigh.

(Thanks to Eloise for the tip)
Get It In Writing

Professor Bainbridge has been providing extensive coverage of the Schiavo case, including a thoughtful post on how the actions of Congress jive (or don't jive) with some of his first principles:

As I see it, Congress' act implicates four first principles I hold dear:

1. The culture of life
2. Limited government
3. Federalism
4. The rule of law

He concludes that while he can justify the first three, he can't reconcile the fourth:

In sum, the culture of life and the rule of law appear to be in unavoidable conflict. Both are central values of a free and just society. All of which makes it extremely difficult to decide where one stands on this issue.

Today, he highlights a post from MNKurmudge&DCKid which looks at The Statute of Frauds and the Schiavo case:

So now we see the comparison of what is too morally risky to leave to one persons unsubstantiated assertion. If you are buying a used Geo for $600, you need a written contract signed by the car dealer. If the object is the life of your wife, you don't need anything in writing from her--you can just suddenly remember that she had said once, by strange coincidence not long before having a tragic accident, that she wanted you to kill her if she ever had just such an accident. And the judge, having just finished ruling that a writing is needed in a dispute regarding sale of a used drum set, will pat you on the head and say that he will do everything he can to help you starve her to death. Even though her parents have asked you to simply divorce her, give them custody to care for her, and go on with your own life.
You Can't Tell the Right Wing Radicals Without a Program

According to the institutional voice of the Star Tribune, it was unnamed "right wing radicals" who supported the Terri Schiavo bill signed into law on Monday, in a "totalitarian fibfest." (Which is not to be confused with Totalitarian Ribfest, being held down on Harriet Island, July 28 - 31. Their motto: "You don't need to worry about BBQ sauce stains when you're wearing a brown shirt.")

In the spirit of stamping out the scourge of fibbing in all forms, we review the House roll call vote from Monday, to identify exactly who these Star Tribune branded right wing radicals are, once and for all.

It is true, Republicans showed remarkable unity of principle in this matter. Of the 161 GOP Representatives present to vote, 156 of them supported the bill to provide Federal judicial review of the Florida state court's decision to mandate Terri Schiavo's death by starvation. Right wing radicals all, I'm sure. At least that's what we're left to believe when blanket slurs are cast down from the journalistic pulpit.

But it's interesting to note the bill received far more votes than the 156 provided by the Republicans. Joining them were 47 fellow totalitarian fibbers. And in a two party system, that means those folks happened to be (gasp) Democrats. Which I think makes this the largest exercise in bi-partisan right wing radicalism in history.

100 Democrats showed up to vote (of the 202 in the Democratic caucus) and a nearly half of them (47) supported the bill. These weren't just any old Democrats either, their number included such leftist luminaries as Chaka Fattah (PA), Jose Serrano (NY), and that old Karl Rove disciple himself, Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL).

And let's not forget our own Jim Oberstar, from Minnesota's 8th District. A life long DFL member, loyally serving his party in the House for 30 years. And because he had the courage of his convictions to look beyond political partisanship and stand by his long time moral commitment to pro Life issues, he's slapped with the label of "right wing radical." Not to mention vulgar, vile, silly, tyrannical, and totalitarian.

Does the Star Tribune really believe that about Jim Oberstar and the 46 other Democrats supporting the Schiavo bill? I suppose it's possible (such is their commitment to ideological purity), but unlikely.

The only other explanations are, they simply weren't aware of the magnitude of Democratic support for this bill (if so, they need to hire more researchers, fact checkers, and editors immediately). Or they were just slinging partisan mud, beyond the level engaged in by even the Congress itself. An amazing feat that, and one that would prove the Star Tribune editorial board doesn't need to leave their offices to find a fibfest.
Hewitt Campaign Breaks Out

Despite the fact that Hugh is trailing both King Banaian and Eric Cartman in our poll to pick the new CU president, his campaign appears to be picking up momentum as James Phillips advises us that his candidacy has now been noticed by a TV station in Denver:

Conservative Internet blogger Hugh Hewitt says he would like the opportunity to be the next President of the University of Colorado.

Oh, Hugh's one of the "Internet bloggers" as opposed to the many other types. Thanks for the clarification.

Hewitt says CU needs a president who can do a good PR job for the school.

"I've been a professor for 10 years at Chapman University Law School so I know about faculties, but I think the most important thing is that you listen to the public," Hewitt said. "You be aware of what they expect out of the university and you communicate that to the people who make up the faculty and you take care of the students."

And if they act up, you place them on double secret probation.

The good news is that Hugh's relentless self-promotion appears to be paying off.

CU Board of Regents Chairman Jerry G. Rutledge says he has received some e-mails recommending that the board consider Hewitt.

On the other hand, he does face some stiff competition.

Carrigan said e-mail recommendations have run the gamut from former pro-wrestler and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura to Focus on the Family founder and chairman James C. Dobson.

Jesse Ventura? Isn't he a Harvard guy too?
The Opposite of Sweeps Week?

So I tune in KSTP-AM1500 this morning to listen to the Bob Davis show. Instead I hear the "Polichicks" filling in for Bob. Too early in the morning and way too sober for their fingernails on a chalkboard tone.

Oh well, I figure. There's always that guy who knows stuff on the local Air America affiliate. He's always good for a larf (when he's trying to be serious).

So I dial 'er down to 950 only to catch the smugly dull stylings of guest host Brian Lambert. Yes, that Brian Lambert.

Sigh. What's on MPR anyway?
Rage, Rage In Favor of the Dying of the Light

The Star Tribune's latest unsigned editorial on the Terri Schiavo case indicates that the "institutional voice" reflected in their work increasingly has less to do with their iconic stature and more to do with the fact it sounds like someone who is actually institutionalized may have written it. Prepare your most empathetic bed side manner for this seething, frothing tantrum:

But Americans should be embarrassed on her behalf to see Washington's right-wing radicals seize this permanently unconscious woman for a totalitarian fibfest.

And how can America's chief champions of "the sanctity of marriage" justify their brazen intrusion into the personal lives
(by lives they of course mean "deaths" - SP) of Terri Schiavo and husband Michael?

And so it is that House Majority Leader Tom Delay, R-Texas, has seen fit to call Michael Schiavo's attempt to honor his wife's wishes
(honor her by killing her) "an act of medical terrorism" and of "homicide" -- a characterization so vile it may qualify as slander.

It's a silly obstructionist game, and if American liberty means anything, it will soon end.

Thanks to Washington's bosses, the private business of a Florida man and his vegetative wife is headed for a trip through the federal court system. For Terri and Michael Schiavo it's likely to be a victory tour
(You got that Terri? You're dead, you win!)

How can the champions of "small government" -- the very authors of this vulgar, tyrannical escapade -- possibly disagree?

Well, you could always ASK THEM and find out? Isn't that what journalists are supposed to do?

It's easy to mock the Star Tribune for this kind of output. And to suggest the new Conservative editorial voice they are looking to hire to balance their image should be recruited from the Kool Aid Report.

But the sobering reality remains, the Star Tribune is the monopoly newspaper in Minneapolis. It's by far the most dominant news outlet in all of the state of Minnesota. And the above is merely a sample of the extreme and misleading viewpoints they endorse and the gutter level of discourse they engage in from the editorial page. All of it hand delivered to the doorsteps and into the homes of hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans every blessed morning. Believe it or not, many of those Minnesotans (nearly half according to the last election) actually vote for Republicans. Many of these folks also hold moral beliefs in concert with Terri Shiavo's parents and siblings and support the House Republican attempts to overturn a single judge's order to starve that poor woman.

And the institutional voice of the dominant newspaper in the state disrespects them, ridicules them, castigates their motives, and calls them vile, brazen, vulgar, totalitarian, tyrannical radicals.

Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, we know the Star Tribune has its little firewalls set up here and there, and a layer of bureaucracy to deal with reader complaints, and a corrections policy and j-school degrees hanging on the walls, and for all that we're happy for you. But if you're ever up late at night wondering about conservatives and why they seem to hate your paper, let me ease your mind with this little hint.

That editorial right there - this is why they hate you. Now go back to sleep. Pleasant dreams.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Carefree Days of Youth?

Beth Hawkins has a timely article in last week's City Pages on the overprotective nature of many of today's parents. She believes that part of the explanation is that it's not really all about the children:

But we also fear their independence. We're up there in the climber because we can't afford to miss a minute of face time, you see. We believe our physical presence is the linchpin to the children's emotional well-being and, although we never say so out loud, we want it that way--because it's central to our well-being. We're scared the kids will grow up to resent the fact that Mommy works, or--the biggest golem on the list--they just plain won't like us. And in an age of high divorce rates and transient communities, kids who don't like us suggest the possibility that we might really end up alone.

She also talks about what has become a cult of worrying:

Worrying is a secular form of prayer, according to David Anderegg, a psychology professor at Bennington College in Vermont, and the author of Worried All the Time: Rediscovering the Joy in Parenthood in an Age of Anxiety. Earlier generations coped with the thought that they couldn't control what happened to their offspring all the time by reasoning that once the kid walked out the door, God took over. But accidents are no longer seen as divine intervention, and the parents Anderegg now sees in his private practice often equate worrying with being devoted.

And God forbid if you let the kids out of your sight for even a moment:

My generation, meanwhile, won't drop Jr. off at the neighbor's for an afternoon. No, much like the squad of grownups policing Adventure Peak, parents these days stay for the duration of the kids' "play dates." If they permit them to occur at all, that is. This business of treating kids like hothouse flowers seems to go hand in glove with the idea that we should endeavor to keep them away from the rest of the community.

I've written before of my distaste for the oxymoronic concept of "structured fun." Kids need to be given the chance to play on their own. It encourages creativity, imagination, cooperation, and teaches valuable lessons about the need for compromise, the power of persuasion, and the value of shared understanding.

When kids get together with other kids to play games, they need to agree to a set off rules, assign roles, and resolve disputes. I think that half the fun of the games that we played as kids was coming up with the rules and then arguing about them. When adults hover around making rules and adjudicating the conflicts, the kids lose out.

When I was growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis in the '70s and '80s, stories from my Dad's childhood on a farm outside of Ladysmith, Wisconsin in the '30s and '40s seemed straight out of a different universe. But despite the many differences, I wonder if my childhood experience has more in common with my Dad's than with a kid growing up in the same Minneapolis suburb today. It really is a different world.

I don't agree with everything in Beth Hawkins' piece, but she raises some excellent points that merit further discussion and I encourage you to read the whole thing. And for the parents out there, I encourage you to let your kids be kids. Let them play.

Remember (Why You Hate) The Maine (Hockey Team)

Outside of the WCHA, I can't think of a college hockey team that I dislike more than the Maine Black Bears. There's just something about the squad that rubs me the wrong way. There's an arrogance and attitude that they carry that transcends individual players and seems to be a trademark of the program. Perhaps it's the painful memory of the 2001 NCAA East Regional quarterfinal game in Worcester, MA (which JB Doubtless attended), when Adam Hauser literally handed the game to Maine in overtime. Hauser's choke led to my prediction that just as the Vikings would never win a Super Bowl with Denny Green as coach, so the Gophers would never win a NCAA title with Hauser between the pipes.

Of course, just a year later Hauser would prove me wrong by helping the Gophers win the 2002 National Championship. And as sweet as it was to end a twenty-three year championship drought, it was all the sweeter for me because the Gophers beat Maine in the title game in St. Paul. The way that some of the classless Black Bears conducted themselves after the game did little to change my opinion of the team.

Now the Gophers will get another crack at Maine in this Saturday's West Regional at Mariucci Arena. I'm not all that excited about the Gophers chancing of reaching the Frozen Four this year. Their defense is inexperienced and prone to make mistakes and they don't have enough scoring punch up front (memo to Gino Guyer: Exactly how many great chances do you need to score anyway?). Which is okay, because with Kessel and Wheeler on the way, the future looks pretty damn bright.

But if they are going to fall short, all I ask is that don't do it against Maine. Just beat Maine baby. Everything after that is gravy.
Lies, Damn Lies, & Exit Polls

Rick has posted a paper, A Critical Review of "The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy" at Stones Cry Out:

Dr. Steven F. Freeman, visiting University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) professor is not an "expert" on exit polls or the 2004 Presidential exit poll discrepancies as suggested by this UPenn press release. In fact, his paper, The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy, is highly flawed. His argument that "in general, exit poll data are sound" fails having suppressed evidence and the conclusion that "it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in" Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania was not substantiated statistically. Nevertheless, Dr. Freeman is right in concluding that explanations of the discrepancy to date are inadequate and Edison/Mitofsky should address the concerns of US Count Votes in subsequent analysis of their data.

Dr. Freeman wrote a book based on his research that is due out in a couple of months and has a couple of working papers in progress that are not yet available for public review. If The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy is any indicator of the quality of research included in these forthcoming works, I suggest that his publishers take a closer look at the manuscripts.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Peaceful Easy Feeling

There's a myth floating around out there that Terri Schiavo will die a peaceful death now that her feeding tube has been removed. Without food or water, Schiavo is doomed to die by dehydration and there's very little about that process that can be described as peaceful.

In this Daily Standard piece from November of 2003, Wesley J. Smith has neurologist William Burke's description of death by dehydration:
A conscious [cognitively disabled] person would feel it just as you or I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucus membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water! Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death.
Smith's piece also relates the story of Kate Adamson who, like Terri Schiavo, was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. In Adamson's case, nourishment was suspended to allow doctors to perform bowel surgery. She eventually recovered and had this to say about her peaceful ordeal:
The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted not several hours like my operation did, but several days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, "Feed me. I am alive and a person, don't let me die, for God's Sake! Somebody feed me."
Soon, Terri Schiavo will echo these silent screams for help. Her cries will go unanswered for days as her respiratory tract becomes dry and her bladder burns. Her functioning eyes will recede back into their orbits, her loosely hanging skin will become dry and scaly and she'll begin to convulse as her brain cells dry out. Her major organs will then give out one by one until the day, maybe three weeks from now, Terri Schiavo will die.

Thank God it's going to be a peaceful death, though. How else could we all sleep at night?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Deep In Indian Country

A Macalester grad living in Hollywood with conservative political views? Believe it or not, he does exist. Check out reelcobra does hollywood. A rare bird indeed.

Crashing The Net?

Last night, my wife and I attended the WCHA Final Five Semifinal contest between Colorado College and Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. The Gophers fell 3-0 to the Tigers, but, contrary to the opinion of the drunken idiots seated around us (no Atomizer was not there), the Gophers didn't play that bad of a game. It's one of the oldest clich├ęs in the hockey book yet it's very true: one team took advantage of their opportunities and one did not.

A major momentum swing in the second period didn't help Minnesota's chances either. It appeared that the Gophers had taken a 1-0 when Mike Howe ripped a wrist shot into the top corner. But upon further review, the goal was disallowed because of a man (or in this case a skate) in the crease. Mere seconds later, Brett Sterling made a great one on one move and then beat Gopher netminder Justin Johnson to give the Tigers the lead. Sterling was very impressive last night and is a worthy Hobey Baker finalist.

Perhaps the most interesting moment of the evening took place after the game. As my wife and I waited for the crowd to dissipate a bit, I noticed that Gopher forward Tyler Hirsch was still on the ice even though everyone else had already hit the dressing room. He was standing at center ice asking for a puck. After receiving one from one of the off ice officials, he motioned for the doors behind one the nets to be closed. Then he rushed towards the net, blasted a shot into it, and dove into it, knocking it off its moorings and crashing on top of it into the end boards.

He then got up and skated off the ice.

Some of the crowd applauded Hirsch's strange little display, but most of us were left scratching our heads and asking, WTF?

Here's how US College Hockey Online described it:

After the game, Tyler Hirsch was apparently enacting some ritual to exorcise the lack of scoring that plagued his Gopher teammates after Friday's 3-0 loss to the Tigers. It was the first shutout against Minnesota in 82 games, dating back to a 4-0 loss to Maine on Oct 10, 2003.

Standing at center ice, Hirsch motioned the maintenance crew to shut the Zamboni doors. He proceeded to skate in on the empty net, taking a slapshot from 10 feet and then driving the net into the boards.

He then skated to center ice, laid his stick down and went to the locker room.

My wife ascribed his unusual behavior to frustration at the result of the game. Frustration is understandable, but usually more spontaneous. You might see a player break a stick on his way off the ice or kick the boards. But Hirsch's actions were very deliberate, and as the USCHO reporter noted, appeared to be part of some sort of ritual. My guess is that is somehow related to the fact that Gophers had been shut out, but I have never witnessed anything like it before. Today, before my own hockey game, we discussed Hirsch's antics and, although none of my teammates were absolutely certain, they agreed that it must have been some sort of ritual designed to chase the evil shutout spirits away.

Hirsch's actions were clearly not endorsed by the team as evidenced by the head coach's reaction:

"It was bizarre -- let's leave it at that," said puzzled Minnesota coach Don Lucia.

Not surprisingly Hirsch was not in the lineup for the Gophers in today's third place game against North Dakota (a 4-2 loss). The explanation for his absence was given as "personal reasons."

Friday, March 18, 2005

What's Really Wrong With Kansas

Their basketball squad just got bounced by noted basketball powerhouse Bucknell. Buck-frickin'-nell?

Ouch. That's gotta hurt. Jayhawk fans probably feel almost as low tonight as those who had Kansas in their Final Four tourney pools. You know who you are.
The Fear Is Apparent, Can The Loathing Be Far Behind?

The magnitude of the desperation of the Hewitt for CU President Campaign is amply demonstrated by news that Hugh is traveling to Colorado today in what can only be seen as a last gasp at reviving his moribund campaign. The latest polls show Hugh mired in third place with a mere 22% of the vote, trailing both Eric Cartman and King Banaian from SCSUScholars by substantial amounts.

Hugh's pathetic pandering to the various (BTW, interesting color choice for today's "Blogfest" event) members of the Rocky Mountain Alliance in order to seek their endorsement is a transparent ploy to reverse the fortunes of his fast sinking candidacy. I'm sure the astute members of the RMA will see Hugh's shameless shilling for what it is and not allow it to affect their endorsement decision.

Meanwhile in other campaign news, King Banaian has accepted Hugh's challenge to participate in a debate with the short but sweet response, "Bring it on, girlieman." But the current front runner Eric Cartman refused Hugh's offer, saying the he would not be seen on stage with "that G*d**m hippie." Instead Cartman proposed that he and Hewitt settle there differences in an alternative manner. He seemed to be speaking directly to Hugh when he explained, "I'll Rochambeau you for it."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Local MOBsters Do Good

The Minnesota Organization of Blogger's MOB Roll continues to add members at an alarming rate. If you haven't run the roster in a while, please do, there are all sorts of interesting new voices and new perspectives to be heard from.

I have the distinct vague memory of at least a couple of others from Keegan's last week expressing an interest in getting on the roll. There are of course few requirements for joining, the most important one is making sure we remember to put you on. An email with the URL is highly effective in this regard.

A few of our own are making waves in the other media as well.

Matt Abe (of the Scholar's Notebook) published a guest column in the Plymouth Sun Sailor, entitled "Is Integrated Math Right for Your Child?" Not having children in the Plymouth school system (or anywhere for that matter), I must admit I don't have an opinion on this matter. Although I share Martin Luther King's dream of someday having all integers judged on the content of their character and not the color of their skin.

Also, Marty Andrade, of the appropriately named Martin Andrade blog, was featured last Sunday on KSTP's amateur radio talent search, The Next Big Thing. (Not to be confused with AM1280 The Patriot's amateur radio talent search called the Northern Alliance Radio Network.). I wasn't able to hear the show, but Marty's site includes several audio clips. Probably not of the radio show itself (given my dial up limitations, I'll never know for sure), but they are surely a flavor of what you might have heard last week. For those not aware, Marty is also a regular columnist at the Minnesota Daily.

And of course, Craig Westover, who was MSM before getting MOBed up, published his latest Pioneer Press column this week, entitled "Objective look taken at vaccines, autism." Apparently it was research for this article that made him "forget" his responsibilities last Saturday to pay tribute to the NARN on our first anniversary. Due to the excellence of the output, we are inclined to withdraw all implied threats and suspensions.

Nice job all. Other MOB members distinguishing themselves in other forums, let us know and we'll get the word out.
Flown the Coop

Breaking news from Bill Tuomala (of Rocks Off fame), the GNR-Buckethead experiment (referred to yesterday) is no more:

Alas, it appears Buckethead quit GNR last year due to (big surprise) "personal differences." I continue to be amazed by Wikipedia.

Further research confirms, Buckethead has excused himself from the band. Or he was excused by the band. Axl Rose wrote the announcement (last March) so it's hard to tell what exactly happened in this star crossed partnership. But Axl's attempt at PR did win Gawker's recognition as Worst Press Release Ever. Excerpts and commentary.

Guns N' Roses will not be performing as scheduled at Rock In Rio - Lisbon.The band has been put in an untenable position by guitarist Buckethead and his untimely departure.

Getting put in an untenable position by a guy wearing an empty chicken bucket on his head. Who could have seen that coming!?

During his tenure with the band Buckethead has been inconsistent and erratic in both his behavior and commitment - despite being under contract - creating uncertainty and confusion and making it virtually impossible to move forward with recording, rehearsals and live plans with confidence.

In Buckethead's defense, the band's past precedent clearly implied erratic and inconsistent behavior were requirements for the job.

We as a whole, definitely feel that we afforded Bucket every accommodation perhaps so much so that it may be that we or more precisely, I may have done Guns a disservice and unintentionally allowed Guns to be put in this position.

Reading between the lines, Axl Rose will never again yield to an employee's demands to perform while standing in a chicken coop. They don't teach you that at Wharton. Experience is indeed the greatest teacher.

A Perfect Storm Brewing In St. Paul?

What happens when you mix North Dakota Fightin' Sioux hockey fans with Wisconsin Badger hockey fans [link now fixed] on St. Patrick's Day in St. Paul? We'll find out tonight as the two squads meet in the opening game of the 2005 WCHA Final Five. The real fun should start when the snow hits.

UPDATE: Tim from Colorado e-mails to report on another potentially volatile mix:

I don't know if this tops the ND-Wisc. game, but it's got to be close....

...the DU Pioneers and Colorado College hockey teams shared the charter flight up to St. Paul for the WCHA hockey tournament.

UPDATE II: If you listen closely you hear stil hear the chants, "94 East, 94 East, 94 East..." Sioux 3 Badgers 2
You Heard It Here First

Captain Ed reports that the notion of "South Park's" Eric Cartman running CU may not be all that far fetched after all:

I'm watching South Park on the Comedy Channel right now, and Cartman is fighting an infestation of hippies in the town. They've convinced Stan, Kyle, and Kenny to hate corporate America and the "little Eichmanns" of capitalism. Guess where they go to college?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Strib Embraces Diversity?

David e-mails to advise us that the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a job opening:


In the interest of adding more voices and perspectives to the paper, we are seeking candidates for a new Metro columnist position. As with all columnists, the emphasis would be on deeply reported columns, story telling off the news, pieces that can best be told with a columnist's leeway. This columnist would have the added goal of bringing a conservative perspective to the paper in story topics, circles traveled and views explored. Like the other Metro columnists, this person will write 3 columns a week and special projects from time to time.

A conservative perspective to the paper? The saints be praised!

But whoever could fill such a lofty position?


The columnist must possess excellent writing and reporting skills and knowledge of Twin Cities events, people, culture and politics.

In other words, they must know stuff.

This person must have the ability to write insightful commentary on a variety of subjects, often on deadline.

Sounds like the same qualifications for writing here at Fraters. Which reminds me Atomizer, I need that piece on binge drinking on my desk by 8am tomorrow morning. And I don't care if you have to stay up all night to finish it!

Experience in daily newspaper column writing is preferred.


The columnist should evoke reaction from readers, whether writing humor, hard-hitting commentary or personal profiles.

You mean like Nick Coleman? Except for the humor part I mean.

The columnist should be a strong reporter who can bring new insights and original reporting to the section, who can cultivate sources and occasionally break exclusive news.

An ear for baloney and a built in BS detector is a definite plus.

The columnist should be out in front of the issues of interest to our readers and be able to build a following among readers who both agree and disagree.

Given the Strib's readership, be prepared for a lot of the latter.

The columnist should have the ability to work collaboratively with other members of the Metro staff.

Long lunches with Jeremy Iggers? Clubbin' with CJ? Talking leaf blowers with Doug Grow? Bus rides with Nick Coleman?

Where do I sign up?

In all seriousness, this is a good sign. The Strib has come around to the realization that having Nick Coleman and Doug Grow as your Metro columnists is not exactly the definition of diversity. But you gotta wonder why they didn't just stay in-house and tap the man who is easily the most talented writer in town. And maybe they tried. Who knows?

In lieu of having James join the Metro conservative beat, my next choice would be Craig Westover. He's had some MSM experience and certainly has the reporting chops to handle the gig. Plus the staff meetings with Captain Fishsticks would a riot. And I meant that literally.

And if Craig doesn't fit the Strib's bill, how about our own Saint Paul? He'd probably have to give up the pseudonym as well as his tour of duty here at Fraters, but for the greater good sacrifices have to be made. I might even be willing to let him out of his non-compete without excessive penalties.
The Invisible Head

Fascinating article appearing in the March 6 New York Times (which I just cracked last night) on the never ending, downward spiraling production trajectory of the Guns N Roses comeback album Chinese Democracy. It seems after 11 years (and $13 million worth) of trying, the album is no where close to being finished. So the continuing reports of any "comeback" appear to be greatly exaggerated. At this rate, people actually living in China are more likely to be holding a referendum on adding Viagra to their retirement benefits before this album hits the retail floor.

This excerpt details the low point of productivity and the high point of excess - the Buckethead sessions:

But [Axl] Rose's renewed energies were not being directed toward the finish line. He had the crew send him CDs almost daily, sometimes with 16 or more takes of a musician performing his part of a single song. He accompanied [lead guitarist] Buckethead on a jaunt to Disneyland when the guitarist was drifting toward quitting, several people involved recalled; then Buckethead announced he would be more comfortable working inside a chicken coop, so one was built for him in the studio, from wood planks and chicken wire.

Which just goes to prove an inviolable law of business (I think first identified by Adam Smith in 1778) - never trust a $13 million project to a guy wearing an upside down chicken bucket on his head. Speaking of which, I think Buckethead could use the services of a good career counselor. Forget this rock star thing, if he really wants to work in a chicken coop, for the right price, my cubicle is available.

Read the whole thing (for $2.95 on the NYT site, or, strangely, for free on the Houston Chronicle or International Herald Tribune). It's fascinating and probably a little sad for any late 80's pop metal enthusiasts still holding a torch for the next "Back Off B*tch!"

Then, for the other side of the story, read GNR manager Merck Mercuriadis's heated response. Excerpt:

Sir, I find it remarkable that the New York Times - a newspaper of some repute - has chosen to run an article on the making of the forthcoming Guns N' Roses album, 'Chinese Democracy', without even bothering to talk to anyone who has actually been involved in the making of the album. You quote five people on the record, all of whom, with the exception of Tom Zutaut, have been out of the picture for between six and nine years, and like the author of your article, have never even heard the album! Tom Zutaut himself has not been involved for three years and has heard virtually none of the actual record.

Your journalist Jeff Leeds - is this the return of Jayson Blair under a pseudonym?

Another lesson learned, you hire one guy who makes up stories on the front page for years and years and the next thing you know you're getting ridiculed by the guy who manages a guy with an upside down chicken bucket on his head. I guess everyone gets to be a media critic these days.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Letter Never Sent

"Honey, did you mail that letter to the editor on Lebanon I wrote the other day?"

"Yes, Dear"


From today's Star Tribune Letters From Readers:

Now that Hezbollah appears to be more popular in Lebanon than the U.S.-supported anti-Syrian parties, is the Bush administration still calling for democracy there?

George M****, Minneapolis.

Lebanese in Beirut for anti-Syrian protest:

A powerful turnout was key for the opposition movement, whose credibility was on the line after the Shiite Muslim guerrilla group Hezbollah last week brought out a half-million people in support of Syria and after the Lebanese government brought back pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami, whose resignation had been the opposition's most concrete accomplishment.

And by all accounts, the opposition showed its pull on the street. More than 1 million people joined the rally, according to Lebanon's leading LBC TV station and some police officials. An Associated Press estimate put the number at over 800,000.

Respect Ma Au-thor-a-taay

At this point, Hugh Hewitt is clinging to a narrow lead in our poll to pick the new president of the University of Colorado. That fact that Hugh is ahead of the pack is not all that surprising given that he's been shamelessly begging for the job on his national syndicated talk radio show. What is a little stunning is that King Banaian from SCSUScholars, the other candidate who has openly thrown his hat in the ring, is wallowing in third place behind Eric Cartman, a cartoon character from the popular animated show "South Park." Cartman only trails Hewitt by a few votes and appears to have the momentum to pass Hugh shortly. Screw you guys, he's going into the lead.

Another interesting angle in the poll results is that Ward Churchill is beating both Instapundit Glen Reynolds and Professor Bainbridge by a substantial margin. Don't blame me, I'm voting for Mindy.

The Monikers Need Work Guys

Filipino police have ended the standoff with Islamic militants at a jail in Manila:

Police said they regained control of the prison building about an hour after starting the assault. Troops outside fired tear gas as teams of police commandos scaled the walls of the four-story detention centre and overpowered the militants.

At least three leaders of the Abu Sayyaf rebel group accused of involvement in high-profile kidnappings of foreigners were among those killed in the assault, police said.

Television reports said 300 policemen had stormed the building, where more than 400 prisoners, including 129 suspected Islamic militants, were detained.

Police say a core group of 10 suspected Abu Sayyaf members had been holding out since killing three guards in an escape attempt on Monday.

Talks with the group broke down late on Monday.

Several loud blasts and gunfire were heard around the police detention centre in a Manila suburb shortly after an ultimatum issued by Reyes to the militants expired.

Tear gas still shrouded the building as television showed hundreds of prisoners milling around on the top floor.

Reyes said Alhamser Limbong, alias "Kosovo", Ghalib Andang, alias "Commander Robot", and Najdmi Sabdula, alias "Commander Global", were among the Abu Sayyaf leaders killed.

I realize that the Abu Sayyaf are a ruthless and dangerous terrorist group with ties to Al Qaeda, but "Commander Robot" doesn't exactly strike fear in the heart, does it? It sounds like something an eight year old playing Transformers would make up. "I am Commander Robot. Your weapons are useless against me." Yeah, sure you are junior. Now get upstairs. It's time for your bath.

For much more on the prison standoff and what it says about the ability of the Philippines to fight terrorism, be sure to check out the Belmont Club.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Happiness Hour(s) of Power

Last night, my wife and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the latest and greatest AM1280 The Patriot Forum. This time the guest of honor was Dennis Prager. I have never had a chance to hear Dennis speak in person before and was very impressed. He's an intellectual powerhouse who's not afraid to bring some much needed moral clarity to issues of the day. He demonstrated this last night by fielding questions on a wide array of topics and answering them in a thorough, insightful, and thought provoking manner. All of this was done pretty much off the top of his head, which made his performance all the more impressive.

When you think about the lineup of hosts that The Patriot offers to listeners each day, comparisons to the '27 Yankees are in order, especially the middle of the order. Prager, Medved, and Hewitt (when he's not off shilling his book) provide nine straight hours of intelligent, entertaining, and informative talk radio that cannot be rivaled. Other stations may be able throw a power hitter or two at you (I hear this "Rush" guy isn't half bad), but they can't touch the consistent quality provided by the titanic trio.

If you have not attended a Patriot Forum before, I encourage you to check the next one out. Michael Medved will be in town at the classy St. Paul Hotel on April 7th and tickets are on sale now. For thirty bones you get a ticket to the shindig and a copy of Medved's new book Right Turns: Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life. As usual, the boys of the Northern Alliance will be in attendance. Considering the location, I would expect that you'd be able to find us in the St. Paul's beautiful bar (one of my personal favorites) before and after the event.