Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Hanging Chad

While Chad the Elder sleeps soundly somewhere in the Dutch countryside, it bears noting he's become the poster boy for National Pancake Day.

UPDATE: Derek from Freedom Dogs adds more flour to the mix.

UPDATE: More from Andy at Residual Forces.

They Also Serve

Canada takes command in southern Afghanistan:

A Canadian general took command of coalition forces in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday.

Control was passed to Brig.-Gen. David Fraser in a ceremony at the Kandahar air base, where U.S. Gen. Karl Eikenberry had been in charge.

There are 2,200 Canadians in the multinational force responsible for southern Afghanistan that also includes British, Dutch and U.S. soldiers.

The force's mission includes supporting reconstruction efforts, but Eikenberry offered a dire warning for his successor: "There will be an increase in violence in the spring, and we can forecast an increase in violence in the summer."

Stage Two: Anger

It's not all that surprising to see Hugh acting up and lashing out. It's never easy to lose someone with whom you feel a special connection. Someone who was almost a father figure to you.

Now is not the time for payback, but rather pity. Give it a little time, Hugh. It becomes a little better every day. Only three stages left.

Strange Bedfellows

All right, this is starting to get out of control:

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak have been together so much that aides are calling them Brokeback Mayors.

More than once, aides have been reminded of the movie's signature line: "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Back in my day, a mayoral aide implying such a thing about their boss would get him fired, not approving headlines in the paper. I guess times have changed. At this rate, the guy who proposes Coleman and Rybak stage dive, hand-in-hand, off the Gay Men's Chorus float in the Pride Parade is liable to get the keys to the city.

Separated at Birth?

The Hanson Brothers


These three schmucks?

Although I don't recall any of the Bros. Hanson blow drying their hair before hitting the ice, like that guy on the left, standing next to St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Good news for hockey fans in the Milwaukee area, one of the trios featured above will be making appearance at a Milwaukee Admirals game THIS FRIDAY:

The first 2,000 fans 16-and-older will receive a one-of-a-kind athletic supporter. Yes, that's right, a jockstrap, courtesy of Hockey Haven. Plus, the Hanson Brothers from the movie Slapshot will appear, courtesy of Miller Lite.

Free jockstraps and the Hanson Brothers. I think that ranks even below "Puppet Show and Spinal Tap" on the ladder of show business humiliations.

But don't expect Senator Kerry to be in attendance. He's already got a jockstrap.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Rod Dreher over at Crunchycon:

But I know others who, it seems to me from the outside, have imagined that their luxuries are necessities, and who are in a position to make certain material sacrifices for the moral and spiritual betterment of their families. I don't at all condemn people who are doing the best that they can with what they have. I'm struggling to do the same thing, and have been blessed to be in an economic position where my college-educated wife can stay home with the boys - even though giving up that second income means that we can't have as big as house as we might like, or even take vacations like other families (we haven't been on a family vacation in four or five years). I'm not complaining; we prioritize within the means we have, and we are always trying to look for ways to make our material lives fit our spiritual ideals. All I ask conservatives - all conservatives - to do is to rethink in a serious way whether the various ways we live today are consistent with what we say we value as conservatives, especially with regard to the integrity of our families.

A Mouse In My House

I left the abode yesterday to meet a former co-worker for a drink and while I was out a friend of my wife's stopped by with a crib for us to borrow, husband in tow.

Apparently, upon seeing the various pictures of Reagan, Bush and Churchill (my wife made me take down the Pinochet shrine) on our fridge along with the NRA accoutrement about the place he grew quite agitated and was not afraid to tell my wife what he thought of our (my) politics.

She tried to handle the situation by noting that these kinds of discussions were not appropriate for people who don't really know each other and since I wasn't there to defend myself, perhaps he should just drop it.

But it sounds like he just couldn't. He told her that he felt it was some kind of leftist duty to tell give every conservative he encountered The What For. He was going to Speak Truth To Power, even if that power was just (an absent) middle class cubicle dweller and his pregnant wife.

I guess this little anecdote should not come as a surprise to any conservatives who have been in these type of situations before. It seems to happen to me quite a bit where I'm having a conversation that has NOTHING to do with politics (I have a life you know) and someone just can't help but throw out some leftist drivel as if it were common knowledge.

My first response is always to ignore what they said and hope they shut up. But often they won't and then I'm forced to say a little something, which often turns into a little something more and pretty soon we've got a nice little conversation fracas going.

Personally, I never bring up "politics" unless I'm sure the people I'm talking to are on my side and even then I try to avoid the topic. Decorum is part of it, but a bigger reason is the discussions are often dreadfully boring--I mean have you MET half the MOB members?

For whatever reason a lot of lefties just can't keep it to themselves, so it's probably best for all that I wasn't around yesterday. But it sure would have been interesting...

Brokeback Oak Tree

Saturday's discussion on NARN of the book Why Mommy Is a Democrat? is up in podcast form on Power Line. As John Hinderaker mentions in his summary, it was highly entertaining.

And for those wanting to read even more about it, I'm happy to see the discussion continues in earnest on a blog called Dr. Helen. The blog proprietor (and Andie McDowell impersonator) listened to the podcast, blogged her cogent observations, and then her readers take it from there in her comments section, including a few cameo appearances from the book's author Jeremy Zilber.

It quickly spins off into side arguments, subject changes, personal agendas, and personal insults. In other words, the typical dynamics of any blog comments section debate. But, unlike many, these are all quite entertaining.

All the usual topics are covered of course, the My Lai massacre, Alan Colmes Syndrome, gratuitous bashing of economists. But my favorite subplot is the attempted outing of the mommy squirrel featured in the book. What exactly do we know about that squirrel's personal habits and when did we know it? Excerpts:

Helen: The author said that since most of the kids lived with their mother's, he wrote the book for them to read to the kids. All I can gather from this is that mom is gay (which Zilber hinted at on the radio show) or maybe dad left because mom is a controlling socialist, or Zilber doesn't give a damn about men and what they think (because they might be Republicans)or most likely, he is pandering to female Democrats, the only group most likely to buy into such a bunch of propaganda.

Jeremy Zilber: You also claim that I "hinted" that the Mommy squirrel is gay. In fact, I was asked where the daddy is, and I said: "I don't know. Daddy may just be at work. Daddy may be taking care of the house. He's ambiguously missing." Later I was asked "is it possible that the mommy squirrel may be a gay squirrel? Is that a possibility?" My answer: "Could be. I don't know. I haven't talked to her." (The host and I both laugh.) This, you think, is hinting that she's gay?

Assistant Village Idiot: The comment about gayness did not originate with you, but you allowed it's possibility -- from this you make the accusation that it was a lie that you hinted at gayness?

Helen: As far as whether the squirrel is gay, who cares? Certainly, as a tolerant Democrat--you should be the last person to be making an issue of this.

Jeremy Zilber: Perhaps this is a joke, but I'll treat it as if you're serious. As you'll recall, it was one of the show's hosts who first made an issue of this, and then YOU felt the need to discuss it further. I only mentioned it as evidence that you were lying (oops -- I mean you were "confused") about what I'd actually said on the air.

Full disclosure, that "host" referenced, who asked the original question about the squirrel's orientation was your truly. Which may explain why I'm known, in some circles, as the Joseph McCarthy of alternative squirrel lifestyles.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Separated At Birth?

James kindly submits the following SAB:

Clueless rocker who has an amp that goes up to eleven because it's one louder, Nigel Tufnel and...

...clueless reporter who wore blaze orange to become even louder, Dana Milbank?

Double Dutch

I'm sitting in the Minneapolis airport waiting for my flight to Amsterdam, which departs at 3:40pm. It's about an eight hour jaunt and we'll get in to Amsterdam at 6:30am Monday morning, pick up a rental van at the airport, drive two hours to the city where our distribution hub is located, and tour a new facility. Then three days of meetings and back home on Friday. It's going to be a long week.

And it's not getting off to a great start either. Between my business class trips to Asia and elite status upgrades on domestic flights, I haven't flown coach for nearly a year-and-a half. It reminds me of the classic "Seinfeld" episode:

I've flown first class, Elaine-- I can't go back to coach. I can't... I won't...

That's exactly how I feel. But, despite my best efforts to wrangle an upgrade, I will indeed by flying coach in just over an hour. In steerage class with the teeming masses. It's going to take a lot of free drinks and watching several Simpson's episodes on my laptop to get me through this one. Courage.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Only In Wisconsin

Thieves make off with $26,000 of beer:

WEST BEND, Wis.--Authorities are hoping to break up what must be quite the party after beer thieves made off with almost $26,000 worth of suds from a delivery truck.

A semi trailer loaded with cans and bottles of Miller beer was stolen from a trucking company in Richfield, according to a Washington County Sheriff's Department report. The trailer was found four days later--sans beer--at an Oak Creek trucking firm.

The trailer had been dropped off at the Millis Transfer Co. sometime on Feb. 17 for delivery to a beer distributor in Menomonie, authorities said. Later that night, the trailer was discovered missing.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Mommy Dearest

You're read the mocking reviews and satirical swipes (and related follow ups). You probably know that some even consider it a set up. Now meet the man behind the book that everyone is talking about.

Tomorrow, we will welcome Jeremy Zilber, author of "Why Mommy is a Democrat" to the Northern Alliance Radio Network show (you can listen live here). He will join us at 12:00 noon (central time) to discuss the book:

"Why Mommy is a Democrat" brings to life the core values of the Democratic party in ways that young children will easily understand and thoroughly enjoy. Using plain and non-judgmental language, along with warm and whimsical soft illustrations, this colorful 28-page paperback depicts the Democratic principles of fairness, tolerance, peace, and concern for the well-being of others. It's a great way for parents to gently communicate their commitment to these principles and explain their support for the party.

"Why Mommy is a Democrat" may look like a traditional children's book, but it definitely isn't just for children. With numerous subtle (and not-so-subtle) satirical swipes at the Bush administration and the Republican party. "Why Mommy Is A Democrat" will appeal to Democrats of all ages!

Finally, a portion of the profits will be donated to Democratic candidates and party organizations, so your purchase will help make an immediate difference!

If you haven't seen them yet, you can check out some sample pages from the book here. This should be a lot of fun and, as always, we encourage you to join in. All you gotta do is call 651-289-4488.

We'll also be talking about safe harbors and why Republicans are happier than Democrats. Rumor has it that the Vol II boys will be joined by a very special guest host. When the King's away, the Generalissimo will play. The NARN is heard every Saturday from 11am-3pm on AM1280 The Patriot in the Twin Cities and on the internet.

Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty

In the aftermath of the US Olympic hockey debacle in Torino, it's time to take a good hard look at the roster. And then blow the hell out of it.

There are some who pine for a return to the days of an all amateur lineup. Tim from Colorado is one:

Now that the Soviet Empire has been broken for a decade or so, can we please go back to letting true amateurs participate in the Olympics, including hockey, and basketball?

If I'm only going to see one goal scored, I'd rather see it scored by a kid who, at that moment, is living the dream of all dreams.

Is that so wrong?

Yes Tim, it is. Very wrong. Don't misunderstand. Watching these overpaid, oversexed NHLers go over there and then bitch and complain about having to make their own travel arrangements is not exactly my idea of the Olympic ideal. But from what I understand they will be participating in the 2010 games in Vancouver. And I'm not real crazy about the amateur angle either. Why?

Because you gotta consider where this amateurs would come from. College hockey teams. Good college hockey teams. Which means that the WCHA would be stripped of many of its top players for most of the season. Oh sure, just to be nice that's probably throw a token player in from the ECAC, Hockey East, and the CCHA. But c'mon, we all know that the best hockey and therefore the best players in college hockey are in the WCHA. And I don't want to ruin a season of WCHA hockey just for the Olympics. No sale.

So we're back to a Team USA composed on NHL players. But not the current crop of desiccated husks that have long since withered on the vine. It's time for fresh blood. It's time to go Logan's Run on the roster:


Rick DiPietro--Not an impressive performance in Torino, but he's young. Keeper.

Robert Esche--Esche? Meh. He's cut.

John Grahame--He's thirty so he's the cutting edge. But with such a boring name, why keep him? Cut.


Chris Chelios--Old as the hills, but what a warrior. It's been a great run Chris and we thank you for service. But it's time to hang 'em up.

Derian Hatcher--His best days are far behind him. Cut 'em like he cut Selanne.

Jordan Leopold--Probably the second best USA defensemen in Torino. Definite keeper.

John-Michael Liles--Another good young blue liner. He stays.

Aaron Miller--Cut

Brian Rafalski--I like your hustle Rafalski. That's why it's so hard to cut you.

Mathieu Schneider--Cut.


Jason Blake--Known as "Rat Boy" in college. Another hustler, but just a bit old. Cut.

Erik Cole--Part of the wave of the future.

Craig Conroy--See ya.

Chris Drury--On the edge, but worth keeping.

Brian Gionta--How can you not love this guy's work?

Scott Gomez-Ditto.

Bill Guerin--Bye bye Bill.

Mike Knuble--Later Mike.

Mike Modano--I like Modano's speed, but after his whining about not being treated "princessy enough" I'm don't want to see this primodano again. You won't have to worry about your hotel in Vancouver Mike, you'll be at home.

Mark Parrish--Keep him, but get him on the ice more.

Brian Rolston--Rolston played well in Torino, but he's just a tad too old.

Keith Tkachuk--Thanks for showing up Keith. I noticed that you even made it on the score sheet a few times. By taking lazy, dumb penalties. Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Given your lethargic play in Torino it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

Doug Weight--Time to toss this dead weight overboard.

It's high time for a youth movement for Team USA. They might not necessarily win, but at least they would play with passion and intensity.

UPDATE--Modano skips final meeting for U.S. team and heads home:

Mike Modano packed up his stuff and left Italy on Thursday morning, skipping a final meeting with his Olympic teammates after they were eliminated a night earlier in the men's hockey quarterfinals.

USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said the longtime Dallas Stars forward -- who sharply criticized team management after the Americans' elimination Wednesday -- was the only member of the 23-player squad not to gather at the arena where the Americans were knocked out by Finland.

Classy Mike, real classy. I guess he had to catch an early flight. That's what happens sometimes when you have to book on Priceline.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sadly, Hugh is limited. But he is beautiful, is he not?

This is rather disturbing in a post-modern Eurotrash way.

"Vould you like to touch my monkey? Touch him! Love him! Liebe meine abst-monkey."

A Harbor in the Tempest

When Bill Clinton was in the White House, he was often criticized (and usually rightly so) for being far too concerned with polls and public opinion on even the smallest of matters. His decision making process appeared to be based more on how the decision would be received rather than on any underlying core principles or values that he might hold. But if Clinton had his finger in the wind (among other places) too often, his successor appears to once again be suffering from a stubborn unwillingness to consider how his decisions will play in the prevailing political winds.

From a national security/economic/war on terror perspective the decision to approve the DP World ports deal may very well be entirely defensible. I've heard a lot of good arguments from both sides of the issue and it's obvious that we need further discussion to clarify matters. Frankly at this point, I don't know enough about all the particulars to conclusively declare it good or bad and I think many people freely opining on it are talking out of their pieholes.

But I do know that from a political position, it's a friggin' disaster. The reality of whether this is a good deal or not doesn't matter because the perception out there is that it isn't. And in politics it's all about perception.

After stumbling badly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Miers nomination debacle, the Bush administration finally seemed to be back on their feet at the end of 2005, beginning of 2006. Now, they've managed to once again tee off a good chunk of their base and hand the Democrats a golden sledge hammer with which to pound them with on an issue that Democrats are usually viewed as being weak on. Talk about a lose-lose situation.

Why does the administration display such a political tin ear at times (usually critical ones at that)? And what can they do to make sure they're more hip to the vibe on the street in the future?

My modest if somewhat corny sounding proposal is to set up some sort of citizen's advisory forum. Pick twelve party people (Republicans) from around the country. Twelve politically aware and active people. No wonks allowed. Empanel them, like you would a grand jury, to serve for a limited amount of time (say three months). Make them agree not to disclose any of the information they are presented with on pain of accompanying Dick Cheney on his next hunting trip.

Then, the next time President Bush is thinking about nominating his personal law-talking gal for the Supreme Court or threatening to veto any legislation preventing him from giving the keys to our ports to the A-rabs, he schedules a conference call with this group and runs it up the flagpole. If they salute, he proceeds as planned. If they ask what the hell he's thinking, he might want to reconsider the idea. At least there would some real live feedback before hitting yet another political pothole. The road's rough enough the way it is.

The Feminization of America, Part 9,456,421

Waddell choked back tears as he tried to explain why the team he built was bounced out of the games with just one win and no medals.

"We came here with higher expectations, and it's disappointing. But you have to move on," the Atlanta Thrashers general manager said.

This guy was one of the leaders of the USA hockey team. The General Manager. One of the doofusesseses responsible for putting together that scraggly collection of has-beens and never-weres that were Team USA and he's crying?

Is there any wonder why they didn't win?

There are damn few times when a man is allowed to cry.

In the movie "We Were Soldiers" Mel Gibson (playing Col. Harold Moore) cries at the end of the battle because his men died and he didn't. Allowed.

When the Elder took a slapshot with a frozen tennis ball from that wicked Northland stick he had held over the stove for an illegal curve that hit me where I live after I had just said "Wait a minute" and wasn't looking. Allowed.

When you put together a golden rolodex group of old whiners who can't score, then proceed to post a 1-4-1 record at the Olympics. Not allowed.

UPDATE: I guess the game wasn't a TOTAL loss:

United States penalties throughout the third period -including a 4-minute, high-sticking call against Derian Hatcher, who knocked out two of Teemu Selanne's teeth and bloodied his mouth--cut off any chance of a comeback.

After watching Selanne whine to the refs in the game against Canada, he had that coming. See, I can find the silver lining in anything! That's why people love my positive, upbeat attitude and utter lack of cynicism.

THE ELDER ADDS: Actually I believe that it was a wrister (and a twisted one at that) that got JB's attention on that cold winter day. God I loved that magical wooden Northland with the metallic blue stripe down the side and the ridiculous heat-induced curve. Backhands were a little tough, but on the forehand that baby was a lethal weapon. The laughter(mine) and tears(JB's) of all those years. Good times. Good times.

Man...Do I Need A Vacation

If my recent dreams are any indication, I'm in dire need of some serious time away from work.

A couple nights ago I dreamt I was James Lileks' houseboy. The only duty I remember being charged with was preparing and serving green tea for James and his guest Hugh Hewitt. Green tea...sounds about right for the two of them.

Last night I was back in the halls of my high school...with Madonna. I asked her to lick my boots clean. She did it without hesitation as the assembled student body cheered wildly. At least the humiliation was directed outwardly on that one.

Nevertheless, it's getting to the point where I'm afraid to close my eyes.

Mass Appeal

For most of my intermittent church-going life, the thought of sitting and listening to a 16-minute homily would have been repellent. And a candidate for JB's list of most annoying things about Mass.

However, as of late, the scales have fallen from my ears. Now, the feeling generated by a 16-minute homily is disappointment that it wasn't 17 minutes or more. I'd like to credit this renewed appreciation of spiritual rhetoric to my increased wisdom alone, but I must admit the messenger has something to do with it too. And that is Fr. Thomas Dufner at Holy Family Catholic Church in St. Louis Park.

Now, through the miracle of technology, you too can easily enjoy these remarkable exercises in conservative Catholic rhetoric and moral guidance. Yes his homilies are available via podcasting. Now you to can get the Truth, without having to go to Mass. You'll never have to get up before noon on Sunday again!

All right, that's not the point of this at all. (And that promotion of sloth may be something I have to repent for, we're checking). It, of course, would still behoove you all to get to Mass every Sunday. And if you're in the western suburbs (or even all the way out in St. Paul, like me), there's no better place than Holy Family where there are truly some extraordinary things going on.

But, if you ever need a spiritual refresher, the permalink to Fr. Dufner homilies are on the blog roll on the left hand side of this fine Internet site. Listen to all of them in the archives, they're all well worth the time investment. For your opening serving, I'd recommend the sermon from January 22 (the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time). There's just something about exhortations to hone the sword of truth and go out into the world to confront it on its own terms that appeals to a right wing blogger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

He's Crazy! About Saving You Money

Here at Fraters Libertas, it's not our policy to throw out gratuitous plugs to local businesses. Largely due to the fact that one of the meanings of the word is:

Given or received without cost or obligation; free.

This ain't a charity service here. We've got bills to pay just like everyone else. The overhead costs for Atomizer alone are staggering.

But to every rule and every policy, there is always an exception. And in this case, the exception is Andriy Karkos of Bell Mortgage. Whether you need help with a new home purchase, investment property, refinance, home equity loan, or a hostile takeover of the central banking system of a Caribbean island nation, Andriy is the guy to go too.

He recently assisted my wife and I with a small matter and, after I convinced her that it really was a good idea to put our financial future into the hands of a man who goes by the moniker "Crazy Uke," he did a great job laying out our options and proceeding with the one that best fit our needs. Best of all, he's a heck of nice guy and is very easy to do business with. And if you talk to him long enough, he might just let you in on where all the Hummels are buried.

Our Cup Runneth Over

For the third time in less than five months, a local sports columnist has earned recognition as a "Local Columnist Who Sucks" from the entertaining national sports blog Dead Spin.

Yesterday's deserving poster boy, Bob Sansevere of the Pioneer Press. Excerpts:

We went skipping through the Sansevere archives and couldn't believe what we found. Either Twin Cities Online isn't reprinting his columns in their entirety, or our man Bob is dashing off Haiku-length sports observations and passing them off as columns.

When he does write at length, Bob is slumber-inducing. Sports columnists such as Sansevere have taken their jobs for granted long enough - acting like someone has appointed them to the Supreme Court. These should not be lifetime positions. They should be required to actually try.

Agreed. But let's not forget, when he does try, we get pearls of wisdom like this:

There's a reason the Vikings have one of the NFL's worst-ranked defenses. The reason is, it has a tendency to reek like underwear that hasn't been changed in three weeks.

Before this honor for Sansevere drives anyone to the Star Tribune sports page, be aware, previous Dead Spin recipients of the "Your Local Columnist Sucks" award include both Sid Hartman and Jim Souhan. I'll wait until Reusse calls Vikings fans racists again before lobbying for his recognition.

In the mean time, don't forget Aaron Gleeman and Will Young as alternative sources for your local sports commentary needs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Stealth Candidate?

While out at lunch today, I flipped on Minnesota Public Radio. Gary Eichten was interviewing a politician, whose voice I couldn't recognize. After listening to him enthusiastically bash the Bush administration for a few minutes, I was curious to know his identity. Eichten mentioned that he was a US Senator. Hmmm...Couldn't be Mark Dayton. Too articulate and coherent. But then who? It had to be a Democrat based on his views, but I couldn't put my finger on the name.

Until the end of the interview, when Eichten mentioned that the man he was speaking was a potential candidate for President in 2008. Yes, it was none other than Chuck Hagel, Republican(?) from Nebraska. Apparently Hagel was in town seeking to build support for his delusional 2008 run.

After the interview, Eichten welcomed a couple of political "experts", one representing the Republicans and one the Democrats, to discuss the aught eight race. Eichten asked the Republican babbler if Hagel had burned too many bridges with his constant criticism of the Bush administration, especially in the area of foreign policy. This "expert" replied that actually Hagel's positions were becoming increasingly popular among the Republican rank and file.

What color is the sky in this wonk's world anyway? Chuck Hagel has about as much chance to be at the top of the GOP ticket in 2008 as Zell Miller has at being the Democratic nominee.

Moving On Through The Looking Glass

The other day, I received and e-mail from "Eli, Wes, Joan and the Whole MoveOn Team" asking for input to determine the future course for the organization:

MoveOn works for the same reason democracy does: when lots of people work together, they generate great ideas and accomplish great goals. That's why we need your help.

To get direction from our members, we have set up an online forum. There, you can share your ideas and goals for MoveOn and our nation. Comments are read and rated by other members and the best ideas float to the top. These help set MoveOn's course.
Take a few moments today to contribute to the Great Goals forum.

While I haven't had a chance to contribute yet, I did read through the top one-hundred or so comments (there are thousands) addressing the forum issue:

Issue: What is the most important goal for MoveOn.org Political Action to pursue in the next four years?

You can check the forum out for yourself here. You'll notice the same words showing in most of the comments: impeachment, stolen, lying, spying, and Diebold. The comments provide a fascinating look at the worldview of the people who support one of the Left's most powerful fundraising and political action organizations.

And if they're any indication of where MoveOn is heading, the nuttiness is only beginning.

At the risk of being accused of shooting fish in a barrel (or shooting a lawyer on a quail hunt), I've pulled a few of my favorite comments from the forum:

Since we cannot rely on our elected officials to do what's right in this matter, this mission needs to fall to the people. It is going to take the people to affect change in this matter. It is going to take us standing together. We are all very upset, but we get lost in our own personal lives. It's not enough to be upset, but we need to physically come together in massive protest.

I think it is time the people draw the line, and I would like to see MoveOn PAC organize a March on Washington, the people should storm the capital in protest - that is our real power, the power of our united voices. It is time we use it, and finally stand up for ourselves and defend our liberties and freedoms that keep slipping away by the minute.
- Brandon Brawner, Music Industry (February 21, 2006; West Hollywood, CA)

Freedoms...slipping away... by the minute. Must...storm...capital

And everyone is right, it's not the point whether Bush declares himself king, or torture and kidnapping legal or his supreme court says he can put Americans in black holes or have a Holicaust of Liberals and place Ann Coulter on the supreme court shouting in her sexchanged voice OFF WITH THEIR TRAITOROUS HEADS!

What counts is the vote count. Bears Repeating to every congressman now at home on vacation, every senator on home for vacation....IF YOU DON'T COUNT OUR VOTES WE CAN THROW YOU OUT FOR COLLUSION IN THE BUSH CRIME FAMILY VOTE COUNT. Diebold and Bush Family stole American votes in the last elections and that alone means WE THE PEOPLE are not in charge anymore.

Corruption rules America, no matter what phoney act the Republican Lites in Congress (war supporting democrats) want to act like.
- sofia debussy, writer (December 30, 2005; sausalito, CA)

You can tell she's a writer by her clever use of capital letters.

The reason they won in 2004 is that their message was clear, well articulated and consistant. Unless our message is consistant it gets lost on people who have a very short attention span. It is like with childred. You must repeat, and repeat, over and over again the same thing before it will begin to sink in.
- Arnold Becker, Realtor (February 12, 2006; Hayward, CA)

Let me give this a try. Condescension is not an attractive political message. Condescension is not an attractive political message. Condescension is not an attractive political message. Condescension is not an attractive political message.

Congress, do not vote for bills to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. I as an African American cannot bear any more burdens from the Republicans. This administration's neglect of Africans Americans, in particular those who are the first to die in Iraq, New Orleans, the last to receive equity, while being unfairly imprisoned for crimes, less serious than those committed by the president and his band of thugs. Those who support and have supported these thugs are as bad as those committing these crimes against humanity. These crimes are worse than those Sadam is accused of committing, and is probably as guilty as Bush and associates. So please with a heart for humanity vote against all republican supported bills, and be sure to vote "Yes" for impeachment.
- walter l. ellis, CEO/non-profit (February 12, 2006; ruston, LA)

He's not saying that Bush is as bad as Saddam Hussein. He's saying that he's WORSE!

If we don't have fair 2006 elections, all the Repugnants up for election will be even more beholden to Bush for preserving their jobs, and they may also be getting scared of his power by then. Bush has shown no compunction to break any law he pleases, so what does Congress have left in its arsenal to do battle with? At that point, they may try to impeach and Bush may refuse to be impeached.

Oh, but the people would never stand for that. Why not, if they let him get away with lying and spying and war and torture? After all, everybody I talk to says there's nothing you can do but vote them out next time.

It may be too late already, but massive action to get Bush out before the elections may be our only hope of surviving under the present Constitution.
- Ben Hogue, Database Programmer (February 01, 2006; Driftwood, TX)

One can only imagine what this "massive action" might look like. Something tells me it's more than a candlelight vigil.

You Know Who You Are

You were in the right lane on Highway 62 just before the point where it intersects with Highway 100 traveling eastbound in a Ford Taurus with a Strib bias Mr. Yuck decal and an AM1280 The Patriot bumper sticker at about 5:37pm yesterday. You were so engrossed in whatever you were listening to, my guess would be either "Badlands", the Teach Yourself Swahili Complete Course Audio CD, or The Lambert-Janacek show, that you didn't notice me pull up next to your car and give you a friendly wave. You were completely oblivious to my overture. You are the reason the Republican Party is going down.

I'm just kidding about the last part of course. But I did have a brush with a familiar face on my way home from work last night. After passing a bumper-sticker rich car replete with the usual suspects: "Kerry-Edwards", "What Would Wellstone Do?", and the stark black "November 2nd", I noticed that the next car was sporting an AM1280 The Patriot sticker. Then I saw that it was a Taurus and also had the Strib Mr. Yuck warning label. I knew who it was. And, as I pulled up alongside, my suspicions were confirmed. None other than Mitch Berg.

It truly is a small world after all.

What's In An Acronym?

Rick points our attention to a website dedicated to people who finish last. It's title has a little extra meaning for those of us living in the North Star State.

Monday, February 20, 2006

One Dimensional Characters With Silly Catch Phrases

Newsflash--The internet is like cool and stuff. The latest spark for this insightful observation is The Simpsomaker, which I discovered through the Chablis Swilling Professor.

You can create your own Simpson's characters based on people you actually know. People like JB Doubtless and Atomizer. Even people like Generalissimo Duane and his grande jefe:

(Notice that the ice is cracking. Might be time to mix in a salad Hugh.)

A Rising Foam Lifts All Cups (at least most of them)

Jacob offers a an interesting view on Starbucks as both a coffee lover and libertarian:

Coming back to the original question, my take on Starbucks has to be more nuanced than loving or hating it. Starting out by raising the bar of high end coffee, it created niche markets for even better specialty coffee retailers even as its own quality leveled off. Similarly, though it has been a homogenizing force as it has spread into every retail corner imaginable, it has left consumers with a far more diverse selection of coffee drinks and coffee houses than they had access to ten years ago.

I realize consumer culture doesn't always have such happy resolutions, but in the coffee case things seems to be working out quite nicely. The artisanal cappuccino sippers and the venti caramel macchiato gulpers can co-exist, each of them finding more possibilities for enjoyment than they've ever seen before. Drink up and be happy.

Oh Shuddupa Ya Face

Sitting in mass yesterday one of the songs included the lines "Slow to anger..." referring to God's graces. I thought that was a good thing to remember in Being A Good Person, so I sat pondering it for a few minutes.

Then the homily began and the FREAKING IDIOT BEHIND ME WOULD NOT SHUTUP! Slow to anger? I was at a boiling point within 30 seconds.

He was helping his bratty five year old with a crossword puzzle at normal conversational volume while our priest is attempting to save our ever lovin' souls.

I gave a couple of "Stink eye" looks back but he was oblivious. My wife could tell that I was getting incensed and tried to calm me but it wasn't helping much. After about 5 minutes I just kind of turned around and laughed since it was so outrageous what the dipshit was doing.

Church is about the last place you want to get into it with anybody but I had visions of grabbing the guy by his cotton sweater and dragging him out to the parking lot for a thorough thrashing. Just thinking about it made me feel somewhat better.

He finally stopped but I couldn't help but think of something my dear Mother said years ago "Kids do not have to be constantly entertained". That was at the essence of what was happening with the guy I think. Lord forbid his five year old brat should have to sit for an hour and not have any fun. Nope, he had to be entertained and dad was just the one to do it--at full volume.

And while I'm on this rant, let me point out two more annoyances regarding kids in church: 1. No cheerios in a little bag for crying out loud. The spoilt little crap can't go without treats for an hour? Please. 2. No laying on the pew, looking around, bugging people. You will stand, sit or kneel at the appointed times like an adult if you can walk. Simple as that.

It's really stunning how much has changed in even 20 years.


Aboot the only thing making the US hockey struggles in Torino tolerable is watching our neighbors to the North, a squad with much higher expectations and national following, flounder aboot almost as pathetically as the boys in the red white and blue. While both teams have lost their last two contests, at least Team USA was able to score in both games.

Not that 2-1 losses are anything to brag aboot, but it's better than getting shutout for six straight periods. Especially when hockey is supposedly your national sport. How about a goal, eh?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Photoshop Opportunity Knocks II

Here's the second round of responses to my request for a little 'Shopin.

* T-stick imagines Hugh on a trip:
Marshall, Will and Huey
On a routine expedition
Met the greatest earthquake ever known
High on the rapids It struck their tiny raft (insert screams here)
And plunged them down a thousand feet below
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost
To the Land of the Lost

* Jeffrey gives us a peak at Hugh and his close personal friend, Joe Sakic, discussing all things hockey related.

* Tim gives us an idea of what it might look like when Hugh gets flushed.

* And Doug finds Hugh keeping company with another world leader pretend.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Broom For One More?

Top-Ranked Minnesota Cruises to 5-1 Win, Sweep of No. 7 Denver :

February 18, 2006 - Behind three-point nights from Alex Goligoski and Phil Kessel, the top-ranked University of Minnesota men's hockey team rolled over No. 7 Denver, 5-1, tonight at Mariucci Arena to gain the series sweep and maintain its hold on first place in the WCHA standings. The Golden Gophers (21-6-5, 16-5-3 WCHA) stormed out of the gates with a three-goal first period and never looked back to record UM's first sweep over the Pioneers (18-12-2, 15 -7-2) since Jan. 14-15, 2000.

Four Golden Gophers - Goligoski (1-2--3), Kessel (0-3--3), Danny Irmen (2-0--2) and Chris Harrington (0-2--2) - recorded multi-point nights to hand the Pioneers their first sweep in WCHA play since March 12-13, 2004 vs. Colorado College. The Maroon and Gold is now 14-1-1 in its last 16 games, 9-1-0 in its last 10 home games and in the midst an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1). Tonight's game was also memorable for Harrington and junior Ryan Potulny as both Golden Gophers tallied their 100th career points to become the 75th and 76th players in school history to reach the 100-point mark.

Minnesota now owns a two-point lead in the WCHA standings with 35 points in 24 conference games. Following UM is Wisconsin (33 points) and Denver (32). With the sweep over DU, the Golden Gophers swept North Dakota, Colorado College, Wisconsin and Denver in the same season for the first time since 1990-91.

Friday, February 17, 2006


We're experiencing our first real cold snap in what has been a mild (and therefore boring) winter. With clear skies, temps below zero, and wind chills pushing forty below, today was the first day in a long time that I consider cold. The kind of cold that simultaneously takes your breathe away and slaps you in the face when your first step outside. The snow crunches under your feet, planes that are miles away sound like they're about to land in your backyard, and when you turn your car over in the morning, it whines more than Atomizer at last call.

When you get home from work, you want nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV with a stiff drink and plant yourself there for the night. Which is exactly what I plan to do tonight. Flip on the tube, pour myself a tall glass of 16 Year Old Isle of Jura Single Malt, and watch the #1 ranked Gophers battle the Denver Pioneers for WCHA (and thus national) hockey supremacy. A perfect way to spend a frigid winter night.

Hmmm?I wonder what JB's up to?

Picture Perfect

The Star Tribune's editorial position (via their premiere columnist) on the Midwest Heroes advertising campaign, featuring US military members and their families expressing their views on our efforts in Iraq and asking for the American people's support:

My intent here is to expose the agitprop tactics of a political group campaigning on the bodies of fallen soldiers in a transparent attempt to cover the war's lies.

They exploit the fallen and are a disservice to the troops. More than that, they are lies.

The Star Tribune's editorial position on the mass distribution of photos from a military prison, allegedly showing US troops engaging in torture:

A new batch of horrific Abu Ghraib torture photos has turned up on Australian television and at salon.com. It's not getting much attention in the United States, but it is drawing expressions of disgust and outrage abroad. The difference is remarkable, because those were American soldiers engaged in the abuse.

Actually, some of these photos and videos are worse than those seen previously, and the American public deserves to see them all.

I think we can all stop playing rhetorical gotcha games with these people regarding their editorial mission, it's all there, pretty as a picture. They have tried to erode popular support for our efforts in Iraq ever since it was politically feasible to do so. And you can read the excitement between the lines that they believe they are getting close to accomplishing their mission.

This merely emphasizes the need for a group like Midwest Heroes to exist. Their first hand accounts and perspective will not be told by the politically motivated organs of information in the mainstream media. And when these citizens find alternative means to get their story out, by purchasing time elsewhere, they are ridiculed and stomped on and silenced where they can be. All while we're told that instead we really need to view pictures of an infinitesimal fraction of our soldiers at their weakest, lowest moment.

I agree with the Star Tribune that, in a way, it is pathetic that private groups are engaging in the activity of whipping up support for our country's troops and the successful accomplishment of their mission. But it's only pathetic because they are forced to do it at all, because no one else will.

Click here to view the Midwest Heroes ads.

Secret Admirer

Earlier this week, the City Pages identified Scott Johnson's tribute to Katherine Kersten on NRO as the "ickiest" valentine of the week.

Icky is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose (especially if you have pink eye). To me, the use of the word icky, is the definition of the word icky. But if forced to weigh in on this matter, I think far "ickier" than Scott Johnson's charming tribute was the mash note the City Pages sent to its cover boy Osama bin Laden, coincidentally, this very week.

Folks, hold on to your insulin glands as you read these precious observations on the essence of our enemy, from former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer:

[bin Laden is] very conscious of the tradition from which he comes and how that history works.

I think he is the hero and the leader in the Islamic world.

But he's kind of done as much as he can do to make sure there's no further bloodshed between us and the forces he represents.

... for a man of his stature in the world, he probably has as little ego as I've ever seen in a leader

So in his main goal, of incitement, he's been singularly successful.

But our invasion of Iraq broke the back of our counter-terrorism policy, because it validated in the Islamic mind so much of what bin Laden had said through the past decade.

... if you examine bin Laden's rhetoric, the correlation between words and deeds is pretty much - close to perfect.

Bin Laden has always been someone who welcomed ideas

He dominated the international media for three days at a time of his choosing.

The only thing I've tried to say to people is that this is a very serious man, and a very talented one.

He's very good looking and an excellent driver.

All right, I added that last one. But it seems to be consistent with the theme. Yes, I understand the need to not underestimate the abilities of your enemies, but the desperate ass kissing of someone who wishes to kill you is, well, icky.

Check out the cover illustration the City Pages uses too, which revels in the aura of someone who promises to bring death and carnage to the United States. Despicable. And probably destined to take the cherished position in the living rooms of City Pages staffers now occupied by their black light Che posters.

By the way, the whole interview with Scheuer is an endorsement of the view that the US is under imminent threat of a catastrophic terrorist event, larger than 9/11.

My own inclination is to say that the decks are pretty much cleared now. He would not have said what he said if he wasn't prepared to attack us.

Yes, the clock is ticking. Not just on the future of an American city, but on the City Pages dwindling credibility. A traditional media organ of their stature (3rd highest circulation in the Twin Cities, I believe) needs to be held accountable for its gleeful scare mongering. They say it's coming soon, so let's just wait and see. I give them, at the outside, one month in order to be correct.

I certainly hope they are not. At the very least, so I can someday soon use the post title, The City Pages Lied, No One Died. And I'm given some solace in the rate of accuracy of some of the other warnings appearing on the City Pages web site. Things like this:

Four more years of Bush and I doubt that I will be writing or you will be reading these warnings. We will have been silenced. I wish I were exaggerating, but this past year has taught me that, if anything, my warnings have been too tame.

We have seen a despot, and he is occupying the White House. We have seen tyranny, and it is the Bush Administration.

And this:

On November 2 we won't be voting for anything like the measure of change we deserve the chance to vote for. We will be casting our ballots in a referendum on whether we wish to pause and reconsider our march toward a homegrown American fascism.

And this:

In my heart, I still believe in revolution. In my heart, I still think I have the 'nads to put my life on the line for a cause. In my gut I think this is the only way we'll ever achieve our goals of economic and social justice. But in my head, I want to win the next election so we don't have to have a revolution.

The countdown to tyranny and revolution continues well beyond their deadlines. But if this stopped clock finds its nut and the worst case scenario of a massive attack does happen in the near future, it will be bad news. Worse yet, because, guess what, it will be all our fault to begin with. Here are Scheuer's words on bin Laden's motivation to hit us again, which no doubt would form the thesis of a post American city nuking City Pages cover story:

... our support for the Arab tyrannies in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, our presence in the holy lands on the Arabian Peninsula, our invasion of Iraq, our support for countries like Russia that are deemed to repress Islamic people. He's focused on things that are visible to the Islamic world every day, and quite frankly there's a direct correlation between what he says and what all the Western polling firms are finding, that there is a huge majority in Islamic countries that hate our foreign policy.

Yet another reason to hope their dire warnings prove incorrect. In the event of a WMD terrorist incident and the world war to follow, we'll be forced to metaphorically share a foxhole with millions of those on the left with this mindset. And I'm not sure you can defeat an enemy after you've lovingly hung his picture on the wall.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Photoshop Opportunity Knocks I

Here's the first batch of responses to my request for a little 'Shopin.

We start with Doug, whose obviously isn't happy with Hugh's position on the cartoon wars:

Next we have Ben's work, which proves that it never hurts to zing the hand that feeds. The sad thing is that puffy-mouthed goofball is still better looking, a sharper dresser, and much more intelligent than any of Hugh's real interns.

Finally, there's Robert's "contribution", which is really just too surreal for words.

Clearly, there's still a lot of gold to mine in this vein. Send your work to: rightwinger23@hotmail.com

Separated At Birth?

Loony old coot Statler yelling from the balcony,


Loony old coot Helen Thomas yelling from the floor?

God Only Knows

If you missed the interview with Helen Thomas on yesterday's Hugh Hewitt show, you missed a doozy. I urge you to go and read the transcript at Radioblogger immediately. Great stuff. I'll try to post more on this later, but for now will leave you with one of my favorite parts of the exchange, about halfway through, when Helen apparently forgets who she's talking to:

HT: Who am I talking to?

HH: Hugh Hewitt.

HT: Am I talking to a journalist?

HH: Yes. Yes, for a long time. I'm just curious about what's gone wrong...

HT: Tell me about your career. What have you really done?

HH: Well, it's not nearly as impressive as you.

HT: Where did...yes, it's...it's very important to me. Where did you work?

HH: PBS for ten years.


HH: Yes.

HT: Well, that's a good credential.

HH: There you have it. See? I'm...

HT: But then you decided to switch over?

HH: To switch over to what?

HT: God knows what you are.

UPDATE: Hugh's interview with Thomas was refreshing because it finally confirmed what many have suspected about her for years. She's unapologetically liberal, has voted Democratic for years (likely back to FDR's first term), and she despises the Bush administration. Of course she went out of the way to say that these views in no way influenced her reporting over the years. And perhaps they didn't. But let us be the judge of that. Just quit pretending that you're some impartial observer whose political leanings are not to be disclosed publicly for fear of somehow soiling your sacred reputation for objectivity.

The other revelation was how easily Thomas fell back into the simplistic sort of arguments (that have been refuted over and over again) that you would expect to hear from your typical MoveOn.orger:

HT: Look. I take everything that he does with a grain of salt, because I've already seen...I think he was wrong to take us into the war...

HH: Do you think he lied to us about that?

HT: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Where are the ties...

HH: That's a question to a question.

HT: ...where are the ties to al Qaeda?

HH: Do you think he lied to us about that?

HT: I think he's still looking for the weapons of mass destruction. Are you?

HH: But do you...do you think...

HT: Do you care whether...do you care whether a president says there are weapons of mass destruction that can destroy you, destroy us in 45 minutes?

HH: But Helen, did you think that he knew going in that they weren't there?

HT: Yes.

HH: And so you do think he lied going it? He deceived us all?

HT: I think that he had...there were facts, they've cherry picked the facts, they wanted a war.

And then there was this strange attempt to play the Chicken Hawk card:

HH: No, but Helen, before I let you go, I want to know why do you think Iraq is worse off today than it was four years ago? What was Saddam doing to his people?

HT: Should they be the grateful dead?
[ This would have been a good time for Hugh to go with a Jerry Garcia joke.] A hundred thousand dead? Wounded? Should all of the people we have killed, Americans, dead? Should they be happy? I mean, what are you talking about? Did you enlist?

HH: I'm asking...

HT: Are you going to be recruited?

Answer the question, Mr. Hewitt. Are you going to be recruited or not?

Something tells me that this was the first and last appearance by Helen Thomas on the Hugh Hewitt Show. (sigh) I miss her already.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Photoshop Opportunity

Is it just me or this picture (click to enlarge) begging to be Photoshopped?

Possible suggestions include Lawrence O'Donnell, Helen Thomas, Howard Dean, Terry Bradshaw, etc. The possibilities really are endless. Drop your best efforts to me at rightwinger23@hotmail.com

Twenty-four Hour Poddy People

You asked for it. And now you've got. Well, you sorta got it. Podcasts of the Northern Alliance Radio Network Volume I are now available thanks to the work of one John Hinderaker, a law talking blogger who's much more tech savvy than some of his ilk.

So far, John has podcasts from last week's show as well as the January 21st broadcast. I've also provided links to last week's show on the right sidebar here at Fraters, under the NARN logo.

The format and the location of the podcast links will likely change in the near future and we will have more archives from past shows available. At that time, you'll also be able to listen the boys from NARN Volume II via podcast as well.

Instant Karma/What's Good For The Goose/Isn't That Ironic, Don't You Think?

Interesting news. A pill designed to kill is doing just that--to the women who take it.

The unusual and sudden deaths of four California women after they took the abortion pill RU-486 has prompted the federal government to hold a daylong scientific meeting on the topic in May.

So they are trying to off their baby and get offed themselves in the process?

(Seinfeld voice) That's a shame. *takes swig of juice*

Rioting For Fun And Profit

As if burning flags and embassies wasn't bad enough, now the Muslim "street" has taken after some of the most well-known symbols of Western civilization to express their displeasure over the publication of a handful of cartoons.

The raiders entered the Askari Bank building in Bank Square and robbed money and computers and destroyed the bank's furniture Another group of thugs broke into McDonalds restaurant nearby, chained, beat and burnt "Ronald McDonald" the clown, robbed all the cash and ate the food. They also brutalised people inside the restaurant.

What kind of sick and twisted mind would think of assaulting and then carting off a restaurant's ceramic clown, beloved by children everywhere? While sober? Savages.

Run That Baby!

Alleged new Abu Ghraib images revealed:

SYDNEY, Australia - An Australian television network on Wednesday broadcast photographs and video clips it said were previously unpublished images of the alleged abuse of Iraqis held in U.S. military custody at Abu Ghraib prison.

The images were taken at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 at about the same time as previously published photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse, the Special Broadcasting Service's "Dateline" program reported.

Coming soon to a newspaper near you. A newspaper that likely elected not to publish any of the cartoons that have caused so much ferment in the Islamic world of late.

SP ADDS: Tim Blair has the first profile in hypocrisy, the Sydney Morning Herald.

Cocktails For The Space Age

The eccentric engineers who made Hindrocket more than just the unusual moniker of a law talking blogger and sent Ralphie into space are back with news of their latest project. This time around, Rocket Team Vatsaas has brewed up Shaken Not Stirred, which we are honored to have christened as the official rocket of Fraters Libertas. Read all about the construction, the first launch, and the multiple shot Three Martini Launch here.

While Muslims are rioting and burning flags over cartoons, we've got guys blasting Martini glasses into the sky for fun. If this really is a clash of civilizations, I like our odds.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Biggest Loser?

Matt Drudge has uncovered evidence that the Democrats new strategy for winning elections is to accuse Republicans of being heartless, hypocritical gluttons. According to the opposition research Drudge has obtained:

In one packet titled "Newt Gingrich: 08 Watch February 2006" a picture of the former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) appears with -- him holding two full plates of food! The quote underneath the Gingrich photo reads "In His Own Words: Gingrich's Solution To Childhood Obesity: 'Turn off the TV, cut the fatty diet and get exercise.'

One Republican strategist who had seen the opposition research packets said: 'We should expect nothing less than name-calling and referring to one's political opponents as 'fat' from Howard Dean's Democrat Party.'

I don't know how successful a campaign of exposing buffet line decadence will be. But if taking out-of-context photos of gluttony is the key to winning, I do know the political fortunes of many of those in the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers will be fatally compromised.

For example, Derek "The Chief" from Freedom Dogs. There's no way he can possibly hope to win an election after being pictured preparing to eat a burrito the size of a three-year-old girl. Notice how he callously includes his own daughter in the picture, for purposes of scale.

Then there's Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters, pictured here with a demonic grin and heaping plate that clearly says to poor kids across America - let them eat potato salad!

There's yours truly at Keegans, with a look on my face that obviously says - 'hey starving kids on welfare, check out this enormous sandwich I'm eatin'. And guess what? It's my second of the night!'

There's Mitch Berg of Shot in the Dark, slipping into caloric shock after setting the Minnesota outdoor record for hot dogs eaten in an hour during a Patriot radio promotion - which was located not two blocks away from the Second Harvest Food Shelf for the Poor.

Finally, there's JB Doubtless, violently downing a Scotch Egg, which, on its face, is offensive to all Americans, no matter their political orientation.

No it wasn't Democrats that got us. 'Twas gluttony killed the MOB.

Mr. Nicolle Goes To Washington

Swiftee brings our attention to a very worthy cause:

Nicolle is a straight "A" student...as in maintaining a 4.0 average throughout her schooling type straight "A". When she's not hitting the books for herself, she helps her classmates hit theirs as a student tutor after school.

And on most Saturdays you can find Nicolle at the library doing some free-lance tutoring; no I'm not kidding.

Well, enough from me, here's Nicolle's story in her own words:

My name is Nicolle Birch and I am a sophomore at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights. I have been nominated to represent my school and the state at the National Young Leaders Conference to be held this summer in Washington, D.C.

The Conference brings high school students from around the country who have demonstrated academic achievement as well as leadership abilities to participate in an interactive program of the inner workings of the nation?s government.

This will be a powerful experience, enabling me to interact with many prominent men and women whom most people only read about in the papers and see on television.

Attending this one-in-a-lifetime opportunity will enable me to develop my leadership skills and reach my career goals. I will learn about the internal workings of the national government first hand.

Imagine if you have been given this opportunity for a life-changing experience when you were in high school and were unable to participate for lack of funds. That is why I am writing to you today.

My participation in the Conference depends on whether I can raise $2,185 for tuition and $450 for the plane ticket to and from the Conference.

My tuition must be paid for by March 3rd.

After I send in my money for tuition I will receive a press release to give to newspapers which will talk about my nomination, the events at the conference and a list of sponsors.

Your support for my sponsorship request would be greatly appreciated.

What Nicolle failed to mention is that just 350 students are selected to attend this conference nationwide.

As I mentioned, her dad is a disabled vet. He cannot come up with this on his own, and although he wasn't really pleased, he has allowed me to make this bleg on behalf of his daughter.

I wish you could all meet this young woman in person because you'd have your wallets out before you knew what you were doing, but that's not possible.

So I'm asking you please, pull out your wallets anyway.

The Birch's don't have internet access, so please send Nicolle a hard copy check at the following address:

Nicolle Birch
c/o Paul Birch
697 Stryker Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55107

Monday, February 13, 2006

Chill Out And Wait For The Wolf, Who Should Be Comin' Directly

The covert operations wing of Fraters Libertas, Inc. has managed to obtain an exclusive copy of video taken during Vice President Cheney's now infamous quail hunting trip this past weekend. The video is of very poor quality so attempting to upload a viewable version has proven to be an exercise in futility. While the audio portion is not much better, I have managed to transcribe a small portion of it.

Just before the following takes place, V.P. Cheney and friend Katharine Armstrong are having a somewhat heated discussion about divine intervention. Harry Whittington walks closely behind them.
Cheney turns to face Whittington with his 28 gauge shotgun casually in his grip.

CHENEY: Harry, what do you make of all this?
WHITTINGTON: Man, I don't even have an opinion.
CHENEY: C'mon, Harry. Do you think God came down from Heaven and flushed that covey of quail out of that brush?

Cheney's shotgun suddenly goes off

ARMSTRONG: What the %*@#'s happening!
CHENEY: Man...I shot Harry in the face.
ARMSTRONG: Why the %*@# did you do that! Oh man I've seen some crazy ass sh!+ in my time...
CHENEY: Chill out, man. I told you it was an accident. You probably bumped into me or something.
ARMSTRONG: Hey, I didn't %*@#ing bump into you!
CHENEY: Look, I didn't mean to shoot the son of a bitch! The gun just went off. I don't know why!
ARMSTRONG: Well look at this %*@#ing mess, man. We're hunting in broad daylight here!
CHENEY: I don't believe it!
ARMSTRONG: Well believe it now! We gotta get outta these woods, man. You know, game wardens tend to notice sh!+ like you draggin' a guy by the arms who's drenched in %*@#ing blood!
Things get a little gory, and quite a bit more vulgar, after this point. And then there's this very disturbing scene with a leather clad gimp and a security guard...


Rick e-mails with the most interesting theory I've heard yet to explain why Al Franken is on Air America:

I was reading The Radio Equalizer's analysis of Al Franken's Mac Daily interview and I had revelation, which may not be new or correct, but I think it is at least interesting.

Al Franken is getting $2 million a year to host on Air America. Competing radio hosts with similar audience size and ratings are getting about $200k. (And none of those have to pay stations to air their talk shows). Air America is paying a $1.8 Million premium to have Al be the leader of the network. By all measures Al is a lousy talk show host, he doesn't have objective proof (ratings) that he is worth $2M. I think you would agree that the left has a large talent pool to pick from (the left owns the entertainment industry), and could easily find someone who for $200-500k could actually do Air America some good. Franken is wealthy enough without having to draw a huge salary, and one would think he more than anyone else at AAR could afford to sacrifice to make the network successful.

I have always assumed Franken demanded a giant salary to assuage his huge ego, just to prove he was a good as Limbaugh and O'Reilly. It dawned on me that there might be an ulterior motive behind Al's big salary. Is this a way finance his Senate campaign? By 2007, Al will have accumulated 8 million minus taxes from Air America. This is money he will be able to loan to his campaign fund.

Air America was launched in 2004, well after Wellstone's death. So it's not inconceivable that he hatched a plan to run for senate long before Air America came to be. It is conceivable that this approach allows wealthy contributors to directly support a campaign beyond normal limits.

The only fact I know that runs counter to this theory is that Franken's producer supposedly earns $600k a year (did Katherine get that much?). I can't explain how that is either justified or how it might relate to a campaign fund raising scheme.

Questions to Ask:

Q--How much is Al giving out for political donations?

A--only $1000 in 2005, in 2006 he and his family have given $15,000 to his Midwest Values PAC, which would likely end up back in the Franken '08 coffers

Q--After his living expenses, taxes and charity, what does Franken have left in the bank?


That's my conspiracy theory, such as it is.

SP ADDS: Al Franken is scheduled to appear on the Michael Medved show tomorrow. Not sure what time, but I'm sure conspiracy accusations can be leveled at any point during the show, which runs from 2 - 5 PM Central on AM1280 the Patriot, and web streaming here.

Because There Is No Sabbath For A Nihilist

Before Letterman, before the Daily Show, and before any of the other Cheney shooting jokes you heard today at work, there was the Nihilist in Golf Pants' Top 11 Reasons Dick Cheney Shot Harry Whittington.

UPDATE--A blast from the other barrel with Top 11 Reasons for the 24 Hour Delay in Reporting Dick Cheney's Hunting Accident:

3. Ted Kennedy always saying that you should wait 24 hours before reporting an accident

Dick Cheney shooting a lawyer: the next best thing to the opening of a gay cowboy movie.

Fightin' Side Of JB

A quick word to the wise to gold medal winning snoboarder Shaun White: The flag aint no rag, son. If you didn't see him yesterday, he had a flag rag around his mouth and I even saw the little twerp wipe his nose with it at one point.

As Great American Charlie Daniels reminds us, that aint right:

This ain't no rag, it's a flag
Old Glory red, white and blue
The stars and the stripes when it comes to a fight
We can do what we have to do

By the way, that goes for wrapping yourself in the flag after you've won the gold medal too (ala Jim Craig). It seems to be de rigeur for every gold medal winner to do this now but it's still wrong.

From the Federal guidelines on the flag:

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free...(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform.

I don't think Shaun White wants to get on Charlie Daniels' bad side.

Off With His Head?

Some Muslim clerics are calling for the Danish cartoonists who dared depict the Prophet Mohammed (may he live long and prosper) to have their hands cut off as punishment for their blasphemy.

If Christians employed Muslim judicial sensibilities and came up with a similar call for justice against the creator of Piss Christ, what sort of punishment would fit Andres Serrano's crime? Just askin'.

Yeah, that's a real nuisance. This is killing me.

An excerpt from The Poo Bomb: True Tales of Parental Terror by Jeff Vogel on nicknames:

No. We have not thought of a nickname for her. Not Delia, or Dee, or Cor, or Lia. Her name is "Cordelia." Just "Cordelia." It is not Welsh or Sanskrit. It is not some weird African language with pops and hissing noises. It is only four lousy syllables long. Is that so hard to say? What are we? G**damn chimpanzees?

Something my wife and I can definitely relate to.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

I have to admit it's getting better--It's getting better all the time

We all know that in our cutthroat go-go capitalist society, we're working more and more and having less and less time for the things we really enjoy, right? Wrong. In fact, a recent article in The Economist explains that in reality America has become a land of leisure:

A pair of economists have looked closely at how Americans actually spend their time. Mark Aguiar (at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston) and Erik Hurst (at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business) constructed four different measures of leisure. The narrowest includes only activities that nearly everyone considers relaxing or fun; the broadest counts anything that is not related to a paying job, housework or errands as "leisure". No matter how the two economists slice the data, Americans seem to have much more free time than before.

Over the past four decades, depending on which of their measures one uses, the amount of time that working-age Americans are devoting to leisure activities has risen by 4-8 hours a week. (For somebody working 40 hours a week, that is equivalent to 5-10 weeks of extra holiday a year.) Nearly every category of American has more spare time: single or married, with or without children, both men and women. The only twist is that less educated (and thus poorer) Americans have done relatively better than more educated ones (see chart). And that is not just because unemployed high-school drop-outs have more free time on their hands. Less educated Americans with jobs?the overstretched middle class of political lore--do very well.

This additional leisure time is not just being freed up by people working less. Technology and services available to households have made it much easier to manage the home front as well.

Messrs Aguiar and Hurst think that the hours spent at your employer's are too narrow a definition of work. Americans also spend lots of time shopping, cooking, running errands and keeping house. These chores are among the main reasons why people say they are so overstretched (especially working women with children).

However, Messrs Aguiar and Hurst show that Americans actually spend much less time doing them than they did 40 years ago. There has been a revolution in the household economy. Appliances, home delivery, the internet, 24-hour shopping, and more varied and affordable domestic services have increased flexibility and freed up people's time.

So women are devoting more hours to paying jobs, but have cut their housework and other burdensome tasks by twice as much. Men have picked up some of the slack at home; but thanks to technology and other advances, there is plenty of free time left over for them as well, since they have yielded some of their paid working hours to women.

If you consider that it we're really only a couple of generations removed from a time when many Americans earned their keep working long days doing exhausting physical labor on farms, in factories, mines, and forests, it shouldn't be surprising to learn that we have far more time for fun than ever before. So why it is that this reality doesn't always translate into the public consciousness?

But why do Americans feel so harried? Weirdly, prosperity may be to blame in two ways. First, thanks to rising real incomes, an American's time is worth more now. A walk in the park is more expensive than it used to be. (When people complain to him about being too busy, Mr Hamermesh tells them that their real problem is too much money.) Second, economic advances allow people to squeeze ever more possible activities, both work and leisure, into a day, which encourages people to try to do too much.

Oh, THAT Joe Sakic

A source deep inside the walls of Fortess Hewitt has provided us with an exlusive look at the inner workings of the agit-prop machinery of the Evil Hewitt Empire. Yesterday, our mole was able to obtain a screen shot of Hugh's computer when he stepped away for a mid-morning Cheeto break. It shows what Hugh was doing to research his latest disinformatzia campaign against us. Hugh knows Joe Sakic about as well as he knows Robert Parker.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Taking What He's Giving

In a rare moment of honesty, Hugh Hewitt broke down and admitted his true feelings about my contribution to the blogosphere. Coming from a guy like Hugh, such a compliment really means a lot. Getting a little choked up here.

For some reason the original post is no longer available (Duane may have gotten a little jealous perhaps), but I saved a screen shot from Hugh's blog for posterity (click to enlarge and read):

Friday, February 10, 2006

When Character Took A Backseat To Charm

I like Peggy Noonan. Besides having a rather MILF-esque quality (uptight conservative rolls his eyes) to her, she wrote a great book on Reagan and has been a reliable voice for years.

But in today's WSJ she wrote a piece that I found rather strange.

First off she didn't think the behavior by the lefties in attendance at Coretta King's funreal was anything to worry about:

A moment for a distinction that must be made. Some have compared Mrs. King's funeral to the Paul Wellstone memorial. It was not like the Wellstone memorial, and you'd have to be as dim and false as Al Franken to say it was. The Wellstone memorial was marked not by joy but anger. It was at moments sour, even dark. There was famous booing.

The King funeral was nothing like this. It was gracious, full of applause and cheers and amens. It was loving even when it was political. It had spirit, not rage. That's part of why it was beautiful.

Okay she's throwing down the gauntlet to the Hugh Hewitts, Powerlines and Jay Redings that made the exact point that it was similiar to the Wellstone memorial and "There they go again". It'll be interesting to see if they respond to being called as "Dim and false as Al Franken".

But that wasn't as weird as the 5 paragraphs she spent telling us how much she loves the Clintons. Check out some of these quotes:

Bill Clinton was, as always, the master...He talked about Mrs. King in good strong plain terms...Together, side by side, with beautiful hairdos...With Bill nodding beside her, his hands clasped prayerfully in front of him, nodding and working that jaw muscle he works when he wants you to notice, for just a second, how hard it is sometimes for him to contain his admiration...God I love them

I read the piece again looking for signs of irony, but could find none. In fairness, she does call Mrs. Clinton "Mr.s Meanieface" one sentence before she said if we didn't understand this was the Clinton's rehearsing for the 2008 election we were children.

"God I love them" about the Clintons? Perhaps this is some hormonal thing I don't understand, but that girl aint right.

He's Going The Distance

A reminder that tomorrow on the Northern Alliance Radio Network show, we'll be joined at noon by John McWhorter, author of several books, the most recent being Winning the Race: Beyond the Crisis in Black America. In his book, McWhorter opines that many of the problems faced by black America today are not the result of racism (although racism is still present to some degree) but rather are the after-effects of the disastrous social policies and cultural influences of the late '60's. After McWhorter's appearance, we'll discuss why the '60s era (really more like 1966-1975) was so harmful for all Americans in so many areas; culture, religion, government, morality, national security, etc.

The NARN is now on for a solid four hours each and every Saturday from 11am-3pm. After John Hinderaker, Saint Paul, and I warm the audience up from 11am-1pm, Mitch, Ed, and King bring it on home to you from 1pm-3pm. Rumor has it that they'll be joined this week by Scott Johnson of Power Line fame in what possibly could be a glorious moment in the history of Western civilization. You can listen live on the 'net here.

And don't forget about our own opening act, The Patriot Insider, which airs from 9am-11am on Saturdays and features Mark Yost, Patrick Campion, and a variety of guest hosts, including power brokers such as the Nihilist In Golf Pants who will reportedly be behind the mike this week. Saturdays are live and local on AM1280 The Patriot.

A Tale of Two Templates

Radio talk show hostess, Laura Ingraham, has spent the last week broadcasting from Iraq. You can read about her experiences and observations in her Iraq Journal. Not surprisingly, she has some differences with Christiane Amanpour's views on how things are going. Here's a sample:

This has been an exhausting day- emotionally and physically. But then again, it's that way for the troops pretty much every day here. Bottom line: Iraq is a complicated, difficult, hard-to-understand place. But we need to make this work. There is hope and success amidst the sadness and suffering here. I smile when I remember the 34 year-old Iraqi businesswoman who ditched her car and took four busses to get to our interview to avoid being noticed by the terrorists. She owns her own engineering company with 14 employees and urged the American people not to leave Iraq . "Please help us defeat these men," she said.

Of course, that's because Ingraham is a nakedly partisan commentator, merely regurgitating Bush administration talking points while Amanpour is a detached, completely objective journalist whose only interest is revealing the truth, right?

Eats, Shoots and Heaves

Matthew e-mails:

I wish to take this time and thank you for your web site. I find it entertaining and informative. Also you have a better understanding of grammar than the likes of Hugh Hewitt. I was just on his web site and found this "I think it is clear that the last thing we need is more Carters in D.C." Obviously he has a problem with his conjugations. Next, he will start arguing about what is is.

Well glad to hear about your trip to Mexico went successfully, in spite of the delays. The flight was delayed due to a sick pilot? I am familiar with Dengue fever from my Peace Corp days in rural Thailand. Out in the country side is where it was mostly contracted from mosquitoes. Curious. And not pleasant.

Thanks for the kind words Matthew. We never did find out exactly what happened to the Continental first officer whose illness ruined a day for me and an entire trip for my fellow travelers. We just hoped that it was something as serious as dengue fever and not merely a case of his having thirteen, fourteen rum and Cokes the night before.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

You Don't Buy Me Flowers Anymore

Am the only one who doesn't need to see any more commercials--on network TV in prime time mind you--pitching K-Y Brand Touch Massage Oil & PERSONAL LUBRICANT as the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your sweetheart? Just askin'.

I am smack dab in the middle of a good old fashioned cat fight

Kate O'Beirne on Women Who Make the World Worse on National Review Online:

Maureen Dowd attacks Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman for his "misogynistic attack" on Hillary Clinton because he labeled her an angry candidate. According to Dowd, this "hoary tactic" is used to dismiss a woman as "unstable and shrill." She clearly sees what the Republican guys are up to. Obviously, they "think that men who already have nagging, bitter women in their lives will not want for president the sort of woman who gave W. a dyspeptic smile or eye-rolling appraisal during the State of the Union addresses." I doubt it. (See above.) Men married to feminists are already in Hillary's camp.


Former Viking Sacks Architect & Pillages Reputation

Back in the day, Carl Eller was part of the vaunted "Purple People Eaters" defensive line that made life miserable for opposing quarterbacks. Now, he's making life miserable for a local architecture firm as reported by Paul Demko in City Pages:

In April 2003, Progressive Architecture agreed to design a new upscale restaurant at the Mall of America that was to be called the Purple People Eatery.

Whoa, whoa. Timeout. "Progressive Architecture?" Wasn't that the name that Atomizer planned to use when he starts his own firm someday? Back to the drawing board (no pun intended) mate.

The project was spearheaded by a trio of investors: Gary Carlson, Richard Ivance, and--most notably--former Vikings great and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Carl Eller. It was envisioned as both a football shrine and an upscale restaurant, sort of a Hard Rock Cafe for local gridiron fans.

Yeah, 'cause Lord knows we don't have enough places like that in town.

Over a three-month period, Mower says, the firm racked up more than $100,000 of work on the restaurant. On June 13 of 2003, Carlson delivered the first substantial down payment, a check for $18,000 from Shawn Properties, his development company. But before Progressive Architecture could deposit the funds, Mower reports, payment on the check was stopped.

"I can't remember what excuse he used at that time," says Mower. "Of course he reassured me that [it was] all going to be taken care of in a matter of days."

But when weeks went by without payment, Mower says, Progressive Architecture retained a lawyer and drafted a lawsuit. As the architect retells it, the trio of Purple People Eatery investors initially agreed to make good on the bill, and Mower held off filing the case in court. Weeks--and then months--passed without payment. Mower says that another bad check, this time for $5,000, was given to the firm in January 2004. "It was supposed to be a series of payments and nothing came through," recalls Mower. "It was just a series of broken promises."

An experience that I'm sure all Vikings fans can easily relate to.

Finally last month, Progressive Architecture sued the Purple People Eatery and its trio of investors in Ramsey County District Court. The firm is seeking more than $130,000 in damages. "I don't have any idea what resources they may have," says Peter Tiede, the attorney handling the case.

The Purple People Eatery did eventually open--but not in the Mall of America. The upscale, Vikings-themed restaurant debuted in Woodbury in November, serving such dishes as Fran Tarkenton's Lobster Medallions and Jerry Burns's Five Cheese Cavitapi. Perhaps most notably, Bud Grant's Pheasant Breast sold for a whopping $45. A two-star review last month in the Star Tribune disparaged several dishes, as well as the service.

But the restaurant abruptly closed soon after. "We're checking some of the [menu] items," Eller explained to the Pioneer Press. "Some didn't have appeal." The restaurant's phone is no longer in service, and a visit to the building reveals only a sign stating that the eatery is "closed for remodeling"--a strange assertion given that it opened less than three months ago.

The menu didn't have appeal? Sounds like a lot of heartache, financial troubles, and legal battles could have been avoided if Carl had only heeded Fuzzy Nietzsche's advice and gone with the Top 11 New Items on the Vikings Themed Restaurant Menu.

But in every dark cloud, there's always a silver lining.

Progressive Architecture has since rebounded from near bankruptcy. The firm now has a staff of five and a steady workload designing restaurants, dental offices, and other businesses. But Mower is still rankled by his brush with the Purple People Eatery. "The worst part is I'm a Packers fan," he says. "Now I am even more."

If somebody's going to get screwed over by an ex-Viking it might as well be a Packer fan.