Friday, March 31, 2006

Behind the Beer Glass

John Tevlin of the Star Tribune visited Keegan's a few Thursdays ago to see what all the hoopla was about. Here is the resulting article (to be published on Saturday), and I'm pleased to report that I will not need to suffer the Saw II like experience of trying to get a complaint resolved by "Reader's Representative" Kate Parry. Because it's all mostly accurate. Excerpts:

Conservative bloggers including those behind and started dropping references to their occasional nights out. Fraterslibertas then got Keegan's to sponsor their radio show on WWTC (1280 AM). Word spread, and readers began to drop in.

I don't remember any of our friends at Freedom Dogs being at the early incarnations of Trivia night at Keegan's. But never underestimate the power of Chief's charm (and skills as a licensed hypnotist) to distort the space time continuum.

Two years ago they sponsored a blogger social, formed the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers (MOB) and it spread from there, according to Brian Ward, one of the founders of Fraterslibertas.

The only guiding principle of the evening is "no organization, no rules, no agenda," said Ward. "It's people socializing over beer and competition [trivia]."

An accurate quote. I considered saying it's people socializing over beer and losing to the Fraters Libertas team in trivia. But when you're playing the big green room on Portland Ave, its important to come off as sensitive and caring.

On a recent Thursday, Keegan's was packed and tilting decidedly right. Barry Hickethier wore a T-shirt picturing Che Guevara that read: "Communism killed 100 million people and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

Those who know Barry know understand that is one of his more understated apparel items. I'm just glad he didn't drop his pants to expose his "Whip Dukakis Now" boxer shorts.

David Strom from the Minnesota Taxpayers League schmoozed in one corner with conservative writers from the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

You'd think that they're all now one big McClatchy Family (clap clap) the Star Tribune wouldn't be afraid to name names of the erstwhile competition across the river. Or maybe it's just a professional courtesy to fellow reporters, not wanting to expose them for consorting with unsavory characters. In any regard, the advantage of being a blogger is that we don't have such professional codes for conduct. So who were those masked men? Let's just say PiPress reporter Chuck Laszewski is embarrassed to be a colleague of one of them and the other is the among the best $75 hobby columnists in the business.

And finally, our friend Larry Coulson gave us a glimpse of his personal life on every other evening except for Thursday:

Larry Colson, a regular, acknowledged that "it's easy to be angry sitting in your basement."

Trivia, beer, media celebrities, the occasional angry white man let loose from the basement - it's all at Keegan's on Thursday nights.

Common Sense Takes A Holiday

An e-mailer who wishes to remain anonymous passes on a message on diversity from his employer(in red) and his response to it:

This message was posted on the internal web bulletin board for Ramsey County employees:
Holidays, Displays and the Ways of Americans

Lately I have had a number of questions concerning Easter Bunnies. Various times of the year holiday decorations become a focal point of what I do. Are we being politically correct? Are we being too politically correct? Are we taking away when we should be adding? Are we adding when we should be taking away?

We can make distinctions between religious celebrations and historical ones if we wish but the issue for me is how do we, as a community, respect one another and the celebrations and holidays we observe. In the case of fluffy stuffed Easter bunnies, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps this all seems great to this writer; but to others we don't know what it means. I think we need to start asking. The question here isn't just about Bunnies; it is also about the changing communities we find ourselves in. It is about asking the questions that let all people in our community know we are struggling to understand what all Americans need to be a part of the greater community.

Recently the Iranian New years was celebrated. This month is Irish American Month. Also this month is US Women's history month. In America, Indians, Ghanaians and Grecians will be celebrating Independence days and soon many people in this country will be celebrating Passover and Easter. Many people will not be celebrating anything because that is not a part of their beliefs.

Americans are Iranian, Grecian, Cambodian, French, Serbian, European, Hmong, Russian, Nigerian, Afghani, Laotian, Bosnian, Polish, Romanian, Sudanese, Ethiopian, Sierra Leonians, Tibetans, Liberians, Burmese, Vietnamese, you can guess the list goes on and on. Americans come from different races, ethnicities,languages, religions, economics, values, beliefs and lifestyles.

As I think about the struggle of inclusiveness I think about the nations dialogue on language. The United States has never had an official national language (many individual states have adopted English as their official language: Minnesota is not one of them--) and throughout its history many languages have been spoken along with English. Many citizens feel strongly that the government should establish English as the official language of the United States. Other Americans believe that linguistic diversity is a key aspect of our heritage and that English-only laws are motivated by fear and by false stereotypes about non-native speakers.

As the Country struggles with issues of language, as this community struggles with issues of holiday displays we must keep in mind we are in a period of national and state change that requires tolerance, patience and intelligent discourse.

What do you think?

[Name witheld to protect the innocent], Diversity Program Manager

What do I think? You want to know what I think? Are you serious? Like I'm going to put in writing, to the Diversity Program Manager, my personal thoughts on her waffling, wandering wonderings about diversity. I'm really sure. Just how stupid do you think I am?

This feels like a Darwin test, to weed out the evolutionary dead ends. All replies go in your permanent file. All who reply get sent to re-education camp if they keep their jobs at all. Oh, and since you now have demonstrated your lack of commitment to the County's core value and mission of diversity, you can kiss your promotional opportunities good-bye.

Look, this flap isn't so much about taking down the bunny poster, it's the blatant hypocrisy that's insulting. Local government is not religion free, it's just that some religions are better than others.

The Courthouse has a Roman goddess carved into the stonework right outside the door. Yeah, it's a traditional figure of Justitia holding her scales, but it's still a religious figure on a government building. You notice there isn't a Saint Peter standing by Pearly Gates with his big book of names, which is a perfectly legitimate alternate symbol of judgment. On the other side of the door is Ceres, another Roman goddess (of agriculture). Why does an Easter Bunny promote Christianity but Roman goddesses don't promote pantheism?

The Ramsey County Courthouse houses a 36-foot-tall statue of an Indian god, installed in a ceremony blessed by no less than three different tribal shamen. No problem there, eh?

Maybe it's not about religion, maybe it's all about traditional culture. You know, the carvings celebrate all the Romans who settled here in St. Paul (inadvertently omitted from Jules' list). Celebrations of culture are good. After all this month is Irish American month, so says Jules. Really? So how come the display cases are still crammed full of Black stuff? We're done with Black Awareness Month, that was February. Hell, we're done with March. When does Black culture give way to Irish culture? Why do we leave up the Kwanzaa stuff but never put up any Saint Patrick or Saint Columba stuff? Maybe I'm paranoid, but it sure looks like another example of a favorite group getting preferential treatment.

Irish American Christians must be the bottom of the barrel around here. Could there be any less favorite group?

Oh, right. Frogtown. So named for the French-Canadian Americans who lived there. Catholics, too, no doubt, just look at their church, named for St. Agnes, a virgin martyr, for crying out loud.

Maybe we can zone them out of the city, like gun shops and dirty book stores.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Jose Knew The Way

Yesterday the wife and I picked up lunch at the local Chipotle restaurant. A couple of delicious burritos to be exact--one carnitas (HT SP) and one chicken.

Upon returning home to consume them, the wife discovered hers had been prepared without an important ingredient--the carnitas! I immediately got on the horn and spoke to the GM named Jose and explained our unfortunate situation.

He said if I came in the next day (today) I would get hooked up with FREE! burritos with his compliments. So today we went back and after a little bit of a communication problem with the cashier about paying, Jose emerged and told the cashier in Spanish that we were being comped. He also threw in some free chips.

What a guy. I don't think my burrito has ever tasted this good. There's something about eating $15 worth of delicious food FREE! that really sets your taste buds.

So I'd like to raise a big Sierra Mist (again...sigh) to Jose, the Chipotle GM who did me a solid. Salud!

Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech (unless it's politically advantageous to do so)

One of the things that's always bothered me about John McCain is the apparent lack of underlying principles that guide his actions. On particular issues, like immigration and campaign finance reform, he's all over the ideological map and his appears to have arrived at his position based on crass political calculation rather than core beliefs.

Byron York reports that McCain is again leading the charge for politics over principle, this time in an effort to neuter those notorious 527 groups:

Advocates of the first course are being led by--no surprise--Sen. John McCain. He blames the Federal Election Commission for failing to rein in 527s in the last presidential race, and in early March he unveiled a formal proposal that would limit contributions to 527s to $25,000 per person per year. That means Soros's $24 million would be cut to $50,000 in the next two-year cycle. McCain's Senate proposal is supported by a similar measure in the House sponsored by Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays.

It's disturbing that other Republicans seem willing to join McCain in their putting personal political interests first:

Yet many in the GOP--actually, most in the GOP--are instead leaning in McCain's direction. And the reason is not any principled belief in campaign-finance reform, but rather the fear that Democrats will use 527s to beat the hell out of Republicans in 2006 and 2008. GOP House aides who follow the situation believe that most House Republicans would vote for limits on 527s. And a key Senate aide says that a very large number--perhaps all--of the Senate's Republicans would support limits, and do it for nakedly political reasons. "Republican members believe that 527s are a bad thing, gnawing away at the vitals of our majority, and that what McCain supports means their elimination," the aide says. "No doubt the bad guys will just find another section of the tax code to abuse for anonymous giving and deadly attacks against Republicans, but for now, since Republicans don't like them, and McCain is scared to death about what they could do against him come primary time in '08, there's a marriage of convenience underway."

This abandonment of principle for near-term political gain sickens opponents of campaign finance regulation:

It would be an understatement to say that Republicans who oppose regulation on principle find the current situation disheartening. "From a conservative standpoint, it's clearly wrong to jump on the regulatory bandwagon for what's perceived as short-term partisan gain," says Bradley Smith, the former FEC chairman, who has been one of McCain-Feingold's most forceful critics. Adds Cleta Mitchell: "The thing that is so discouraging is that my party, which opposed McCain-Feingold, has become the party that throws in with the guys who want to regulate everything. It just gives me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach."

York closes by reminding Republicans that what appears a win in the short term, may very well come back to haunt them down the road:

So what is the lesson? That 527s should be strangled? Doing so not only would run against Republican belief in freedom of expression, but would make it harder to score targeted political points in coming campaigns. That's something Republicans might come to regret in 2008 if they find themselves in a race against a certain senator from New York who was once a First Lady enmeshed in numerous scandals. "There are huge numbers of voters in America who have no knowledge of Travelgate, cattle futures, the whole thing," says Bradley Smith. "Who's going to talk about that for Republicans? Are they counting on CBS to do it?"

These days, however, Republicans seem more than willing to shut down the 527s. In the end, it is impossible to say whether 527 regulation would hurt or benefit either Democrats or Republicans. But it is possible to say that it would be yet another step in the wrong direction for political speech. "We are on the road to serfdom in American politics with campaign-finance reform," says Mike Pence. "We are eventually going to end up on the doorstep of George Soros's house, telling him what he can and cannot say." And not just Soros: T. Boone Pickens and Bob Perry, too. Republicans and Democrats alike.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Getting Ahead Of The Story

On occasion, in order to properly limit damage control, it's necessary to take a pre-emptive, self-inflicted hit in order to minimize the impact of your enemies ability to use certain information against you. This is one such occasion.

Peeps make a quiet stand:

Marshmallow Peeps, the popular Easter candy made of sugar, corn syrup and gelatin, have become a new symbol of protest in St. Paul these days.

The "Vision of Peace," a 36-foot, 60-ton onyx City Hall statue of American Indians, has become the stage for a peculiar form of civil discourse. Since last week's decision to kick the Easter Bunny out of a City Council office, a handful of employees have ringed the statue with the spongy chick- and rabbit-shaped candies.

Two laminated signs even announce the statue's temporary new moniker--"Vision of Peeps."

It began last week, when someone left a couple of Peeps boxes at the base of the statue. But over the weekend the marshmallow critters, as rabbits tend to do, multiplied. There are now about two dozen boxes.

No further comment required.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tattoo You

While perusing the office copy of People magazine at lunch today I saw that "actor" Dean McDermott has a brand new tattoo dedicated to his fiance (grotesque nepotoid Tori Spelling) emblazoned on his left arm. Well...I suppose "dedicated to his fiance" may be over-simplifying things a bit as the tattoo actually depicts Tori's entire head as well as most of her rather ample breasts.

In the People piece, Tori remarks about how much she likes her beau's latest inkblot because of how cool it will be for their grandchildren to be able to see what their grandmother looked like when she was young (I'm paraphrasing, so Tori's comment probably sounded even more inane than what you just read).

Now, despite the fact that the woman has appeared in countless horrible made-for-TV movies, equally countless horribly bad films and the wildly successful yet horribly horrible television series Beverly Hills, 90210, she may have a point about this single ridiculous tattoo preserving her image for the ages. If God does indeed exist, surely he'll someday lay waste to Tori's entire body of work leaving future generations with nothing but however much ink remains in McDermott's aging and flabby flesh to recall one of the late 20th century's most truly wretched performers.

Can't Hardly Wait

Why can't we have a nationalized health care system like Canada? A study from the Frasier Institute suggests that the waiting is the hardest part for our neighbors to the North:

The Fraser Institute's fifteenth annual waiting list survey found that Canada-wide waiting times for surgical and other therapeutic treatments fell slightly in 2005, making this the first reduction in the total wait for treatment measured in Canada since 1993. Total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner and treatment, averaged across all 12 specialties and 10 provinces surveyed, fell from 17.9 weeks in 2004 back to the 17.7 weeks last seen in 2003. This small nationwide improvement in access reflects waiting time decreases in 5 provinces, while concealing increases in waiting time in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

Among the provinces, Ontario achieved the shortest total wait in 2005, 16.3 weeks, with Manitoba (16.6 weeks), and Alberta (16.8 weeks) next shortest. Saskatchewan, despite a dramatic 7.8 week reduction in the total wait time, exhibited the longest total wait, 25.5 weeks; the next longest waits were found in New Brunswick (24.5 Weeks) and Newfoundland (22.3 weeks).

Government controlled health care in the United States? I can't wait.

That's An Affirmative Good Buddy

A couple of weeks ago, we were discussing Minneapolis Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. She has had a very trying time of late, with the litigation, the notoriety, and her subsequent placement on administrative leave. What's next, deportation to Canada?

Anyway, I speculated that perhaps, just perhaps, Bleskachek's promotion to Fire Chief may not have been entirely merit based. I was going out on a bit of a limb, but sometimes you just have to trust your instincts.

After the show, I decided to do some further research on her 2004 elevation to Chief. And lo and behold, who do I find was all over the story like a Minneapolis Fire Chief on a subordinate, but Fraters own Saint Paul.

Yes, I found this little nugget from the good ol' days of Saint Paul's scribblin'. Lately, age and a sudden interest in the fine arts have combined to slow the flow of golden wit from his keyboard to this fine blog. These days, we consider ourselves fortunate to get two posts a week from the previously prodigious pontificator.

Enjoy this blast from the past (November 2004) from Saint Paul.

The Pioneer Press reporting on Minneapolis's new fire chief:

If confirmed by the City Council in December - and that appears virtually certain - [Bonnie] Bleskachek will become the first female fire chief in Minnesota history and one of the few openly gay fire chiefs in the country.

Bleskachek, who lives in South Minneapolis with her two children, ages 10 and 5, says she realizes that she's a role model for women. Indeed, she said she's been reminded of that repeatedly in the interviews she's given since [Mayor] Rybak announced her recommendation last Sunday.

Bleskachek has been reminded that she's a role model repeatedly in interviews. Reminded by who? The press? Well, they do know stuff. And this role model status certainly is news to me. Girls of Minneapolis, you have a new dream to dream. Work hard, eat your vegetables, and you too could become a lesbian, single mother, fire chief.

Amid all the breathless praise from the Mayor's office and the
press, there is another side to this story. According to the Minneapolis Spokesman-Recorder, the departure of current chief Rocco Forte (via a promotion to another city government position) and Bleskachek's elevation may have been motivated by criteria other than qualifications alone:

Everyone knows Rocco Forte is one of the nation's leading fire chiefs, recognized for both his management skills and his ability to bring diversity to the department. The mayor and his "forces," stung by their inability to make one of the police GLBT persons chief of police, are determined to win on that issue by passing Bonnie Bleskachek over 10 individuals who out-rank her.

Also, this from the
City Pages:

There are those who wonder if Forte's "promotion" was really about clearing the way for a female chief, to appease those City Council members who had backed either Lucy Gerold or Sharon Lubinski for police chief. (The recommended interim chief, Bonnie Bleskachek, is not next to Forte in the chain of command, but she is one of the department's highest-ranking females.) This possibility rankled some minority community leaders, who credit Forte as the main force in Minneapolis's building the most diverse fire department nationwide.

So, is Bleskachek a role model or politically correct, affirmative action trophy? One wonders if the press recognizes a difference.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Looks Like Another Round Of Delayering In The Offing

Carol Hymowitz looks at the latest and greatest in corporate speak in today's Wall Street Journal:

Don't even talk about "rightsizing," "digitization" and the "war for talent." The new business buzzwords are "delayering," "Web 2.0" and "knowledge acquisition."

A new crop of buzzwords usually sprouts every three to five years, or about the same length of time many top executives have to prove themselves. Some can be useful in swiftly communicating, and spreading, new business concepts. Others are less useful, even devious. "Too often people use buzzwords to muddy or cover up what they're actually saying," says Warren Bennis, management professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

It would be wise, then, if executives who want to be believed and understood, carefully select their language.

Delayering, for example, may evoke an image of a cake, but there is nothing sweet about it. In plain English, it means managers are being fired. It's the latest manifestation of rightsizing and downsizing.

Knowledge acquisition is the opposite of delayering, but different from the now passé "war for talent." It has been awhile since executives have had to do battle to find job candidates. These days, companies need to know how to sift through an onslaught of applications to hire the person with the kinds of knowledge that will best help the company stay competitive. Hence the notion of knowledge acquisition and its corollary, "skills development," which refers to efforts to use the employees already available, but to teach them new skills.

Another current buzzword, "unsiloing," mangles the noun silo to make an important but simple point: Managers must cooperate across departments and functions, share resources and cross-sell products to boost the bottom line.

Coming soon to a conference room near you.

Former Congressman With MOB Ties?

Yes, the rumors are indeed true. Vin Weber is blogging at local upstart Dreckless. Check out his latest post here.

He Sees A Red Door

That bounder Hugh Hewitt has finally gotten off his duff and come out with a new book. What's it been, three, four months since he cranked out the last one? I guess haste does make waste, so it's probably a good thing that Hugh spent several days crafting his latest work.

I have heard that some book reviewers have the temerity to write a review without ever even opening the cover. Not me. I devour every word, linger on every sentence, read and reread the index, and even double check every foot note in the card catalog at my local library. No detail is too small to escape my attention.

Here then is my review of Painting the Map Red by Hugh Hewitt.

This is a great little book! It is not a "How-to Guide" in the strictest, pedantic sense. It's an honest book by a serious artist intended for those new to map painting, just as the title suggests. That's not to say, however, that it would not be useful to more advanced map painters.

Those features that the book lacks are among its greatest qualities-there are no "10 Commandments" that are usually found in books of this genre. Most map painters approached to write a book of this nature feel obligated to forbid X and insist on Y (with some justification, perhaps) but this book is just a well-considered, sincere, very personal discussion of Hugh's approach to his map painting and all the craft that it entails.

Hewitt's strength as a writer comes from his balanced, encouraging, honest approach to his topic. Basically, in this book, he says what he does and why he does it. He is never condescending when he discusses the techniques that "many other map painters" employ. It's more as if he is inviting his readers to see things his way, if they are so inclined, (and to pick up some of his tricks) or to go the way that the Muse takes them.

I'd strongly recommend this book for map painting students, would-be writers, people interested in the art and craft of map painting and, of course, to anyone who wishes to "become a good (or better) map painter". I'll re-read this book dozens of times!

[Editor's note--Portions of this review may have been "borrowed" from another source.]

Elder The Magnificent

ATOMIZER: "I hold in my hand an envelope. As a child of four can plainly see, this envelope has been hermetically sealed. It has been kept in a #2 mayonnaise jar since noon today on Funk and Wagnall's porch. No one knows the contents of this envelope, but you, in your divine and mystical way, will ascertain the answers to these questions having never seen them before."

ELDER: "May the winds of the Sahara blow a desert scorpion up your turban."

(The Elder holds the envelope up to his forehead)

ELDER: "Mark Yost, Hugh Hewitt, and Sisyphus.

ATOMIZER: "Mark Yost, Hugh Hewitt, and Sisyphus.

(Sound of an envelope being ripped open)

ELDER: "Name three people supposedly wise in the ways of hockey who picked teams to appear in the NCAA hockey championship game that were eliminated in their FIRST game of the tournament."

Yes indeed, this weekend was a good time to separate the wheat from the chafe when it comes to college hockey wisdom. Mark Yost, columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and host of the Patriot Insider radio show, picked Minnesota and Harvard to meet for the title in Milwaukee. Hugh Hewitt, geriatric talk radio host and alleged "Hockey Commissioner of Minnesota", had Miami of Ohio (snicker) and Harvard playing in the big game. And Sisyphus, humorist and founder and sole member of the Barry Tallackson Fan Club, went with his heart instead of his head by predicted that his beloved Gophers would face off against the Colorado College Tigers. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Meanwhile, I had a bit of trouble of my own going 7-5 overall. I missed the winner of the battle of Boston (for some reason I wrote BC at one point and BU later in the same post) and the hated Black Bears of Maine stuck it to me by winning the East Regional after I predicted an early exit for them. Then there was the Gophers gacking and Cornell getting lucky and rallying to beat CC. This is the second year in a row that Cornell was one game away from the Frozen Four and lost it in overtime. Such a shame.

So I only have two of the Frozen Four. But those two are the teams that I have meeting for the National Championship in two weeks: North Dakota and Wisconsin.

One final note. Last week, I grudgingly allowed that the CCHA was the second best conference in college hockey. After the CCHA's pathetic performance this weekend (1 win, 4 losses), I amend my statement to say that, with two teams in the Frozen Four, Hockey East is the second best conference in college hockey. Not that it's going to matter much in a couple of weeks when we see another all-WCHA final.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Always On The Sunny Side

After some time to reflect on last night's ignominious Gopher defeat, I've come to realize that every gray cloud does indeed have its silver lining. Here are a few positive takeaways:

- Given the intestinal fortitude the Gophers have displayed in the last week, they no doubt would have been destroyed by the Sioux tonight. It's bad enough to lose to Holy Cross, it would be even worse to get massacred by North Dakota in front of their crazed crowd.

- The Holy Cross Crusaders versus the North Dakota Fighting Sioux? Talk about a nightmare for the NCAA's diversity tsar.

- Despite the Gophers loss, I still went 3-1 with my picks yesterday and all my Frozen Four teams are still alive. Not only that, but the team that I picked to win the national championship now seems to have an easy path to Milwaukee.

UPDATE--With Michigan State and Wisconsin winning so far today, I'm now 5-1. A couple of #1 seeds taking care of business against their weaker opponents? Imagine that.

Today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network

Join us on the NARN today 11 AM , with me and Chad the Elder from this fine Internet site and John Hinderaker from Power Line discussing all the news that's fit to recycle, including (but not limited to) media meltdown over charges of bias/incompetence in their coverage of Iraq, the wit and wisdom of Helen Thomas, the burgeoning crime wave in Minneapolis, burgeoning anti-Easter Bunny sentiment in St. Paul City government, and more.

The highlight promises to be in the noon hour, when we're joined by the great Michael Barone. Of course, he's a columnist for US News and World Report, a commenator on Fox News, a blogger extraordinaire, and the co-author of my favorite book, The Almanac of American Politics. He's also an expert in the matter of elections (who will win and why) and one of the best analysts of public opinion polls I've ever read.

Following that Mitch Berg, King Banaian, Captain Ed Morrisey taking the NARN helm from from 1 - 3 PM.

It all starts at 11 AM central on AM1280 the Patriot, streaming on the web here. Phone calls will be taken at 651-289-4488. Don't you dare miss it!

(But if you do dare miss it, replay on the Patriot on Sunday night at 9 PM. And Podcasts on Powerline shortly after the broadcast this afternoon. Clearly, you have no excuse for missing it now.)

Friday, March 24, 2006

Their Cross to Bear

In this Lenten season, I feel it my duty to remind Chad and Sisyphus that all suffering ultimately has a purpose.

And if they had been at Stations of the Cross tonight instead of wantonly watching hockey on TV, perhaps the words which lead off the prayer at each and every one of the 14 Stations would have provided some solace - and a prediction.

Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world

Broader lesson learned - it's too bad those Gophers didn't get sent to the Midwest Region. I don't see anything in the Bible about Bemidji State.

Pucking, Eh?

Holy Cross!:

The incredible happened Friday in Grand Forks, as Holy Cross pulled off arguably the greatest upset in NCAA tournament history with a 4-3 win over Minnesota. Tyler McGregor's game winner just 53 seconds into overtime completed the Crusaders' win, Atlantic Hockey's first-ever in the national tournament.

Those of you who doubted me doubting the Gophers can now see exactly what I was talking about. My only error was expecting them to not become the first #1 seed in NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY to lose to a fourth seed. Well done boys.

Quick thoughts on the game:

- The camera work was terrible. Maybe I've become spoiled by the work that the FSN crew does, but tonight's main camera angle was usually too far away from the ice.

- The announcers weren't much better. Boring and clichéd.

- Referees, all those penalties you called? A little ticky tacky for my tastes.

- Granted, the game winning goal was damn lucky, but you gotta give Holy Cross credit. They weren't intimidated by the Gophers and kept skating all game long. Unlike the maroon and gold clad stiffs they were facing. Saving your energy for Saturday night, boys? There ain't gonna be no Saturday night.

- The Gophers best line was Kessel-Wheeler-Gordon. The worst? The big boys. Somebody needed to put out a missing persons alert for Potulny-Irmen-Stoa. The Gophers poor face off skills hurt them again tonight as well, especially on that third Holy Cross goal.

The one Gopher player that I really feel sorry for is Gino Guyer. The guy closes his career as a Gopher in this stinker after have not scored in his last thirty-some games. That's gotta hurt.

But the guy I'm worried about is Sisyphus. His live blogging of the game ended rather abruptly. Has anyone ever live blogged a suicide before?

This one definitely makes the Top Ten Worst Gopher Losses Ever and may even challenge for a spot in the Top Ten Worst Minnesota Sports Losses Ever.

That just sucked (not the Elder's post, the game). I had a gig last night and was attempting to watch the game while simultaneously playing. At one point I looked up and saw HC jumping around on the ice and I knew it must have gone to OT and ended badly.

The most annoying thing from what I saw was the Goph's famous One More Cutesy Pass affliction where they try to make 4 PERFECT passes instead of getting a solid shot on net and making something happen. They have done that for as long as I have been watching them but last night it was maddening. This is especially true when the goaltender they were facing wasn't exactly Rob Stauber.

Minnesota's pride is once again on ice.

Separated At Birth?

Al Roker


The California Raisin?


Later this afternoon, pucks will be dropped and the NCAA Hockey Regionals will begin. Time for a quick skate around in response to my tourney picks before the fun starts.

Mark e-mails to complain about my lack of faith in our local lads:

Damnit, Chad. ND 5, Gophers 3? Why? One bad game and you toss them over the side?
I swear by all that is holy, if you've cursed my team I will never forgive you.

Because of your parochial and misguided attempt to earn "street cred" with the college hockey watchers who read Fraters, you have forgotten the first rule of college tournament play: look at the sweater you have hanging in the closet and then pray for irritable bowel syndrome to cripple everyone else who tries to skate with the Gophs.

Fine, Chad. Fine.

Sorry Mark, but I'm a conservative. My views are founded on observation, facts, and reason. You and your bleeding-heart Utopian comrades can rely on your feelings and sing "Imagine" all you want, but wishing it does not make it so.

Don't get me wrong, I'll be cheering for the Gophers as much as anybody (with the possible exception of this nutter). But I gots to calls 'em like I sees 'em.

By the way, I don't need to earn any college hockey cred. I've already got that in spades.

Next we have Dan, who's managed to sober up long enough to compose a semi-thoughtful e-mail:

I'll give you some credit, picking Minny to lose to ND shows that you are able to maintain a modicum of objectiveness about the teams' various prospects.

But, "Wisconsin is overrated"?? Well, as the #1 seed in the tourney, they couldn't be underrated, so you were working from a reduced set of options.

And, "Saturday's loss in the third place game doesn't bother me much."? It only cost you the #1 overall seed, which means going through much easier competition, both in the opening rounds and the semifinal game of the frozen four. I mean just look at the 1's and 2's in each side: Cornell, Harvard and MSU versus NoDak, Miami and BU. Yikes on the latter.

"Fragile psyche"? I'll admit, they looked a bit lost when Elliot went down mid-season, but I think they just realized that he was covering up for a lot of weaknesses on defense. They were coming around with a freshman in goal when Elliot came back. And 4 of the 7 losses were to Denver and (gulp) the Goophers, so not exactly easy competition. If Elliot is on his game, the Badgers are in the final game.

OK, OK, you put the Badgers in the Semis, so how can I really complain? Well, you're a Goopher fan, so I can't help myself (and your colors are ugly).

Here's to a Goopher/Badger final.

Anybody but Maine,


I don't think that the third place game meant that much. The Badgers were already going to Green Bay. The Gophers and Sioux were set for Grand Forks. Sure, Bucky technically may have an easier opening game, but I wouldn't look past Bemidji State.

Wisconsin's been overrated all year. There's something that's just not right about the team. They rely on Elliot too much and, despite some obvious big league talent (Gilbert, Pavelski, Burish, etc.), I don't know if they have the kind of clutch playmakers you need to win a championship. Take Ronnie Earl for example. No doubt that he's a heck of a talented player, but too often he looks soft in the heat of battle. He goes down easier than Paris Hilton. If it comes down to an overtime situation with the game on the line do you want him or Ryan Potulny? I thought so.

I do like Dan's closing sentiments on Maine, although I have been getting a lot of e-mails like this one from Amy:

I really do have to ask.... Why the intense antipathy towards Maine? I haven't seen this kind of antipathy outside of BU fans in Ages. Other than that one strike, you guys are fun to read. Keep writing.

Amy (Incorrigible Minneapolis based Maine fan who is tired of paying for riots insighted by Gilded Rodents.)

I've addressed this issue a couple of times in the past, most recently in a post called 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.

Fortunately, the Gophers did defeat the hated Black Bears last year. I think that most real college hockey fans outside of Maine share my views. If you think I'm harsh on Maine, you should spend a little time with New Hampshire fans. They're brutal.

Finally, a CCHA supporter who wishes to remain anonymous, comes out of the closet and admits the obvious:

I love your blog and visit the site often. As much as it pains me to say this, your predictions on Michigan State are off by one game. Michigan State will likely come out on top of Wisconsin but like you I think NoDak will be crowned champion. I believe that the partisan sports writers who create the national polls feel sorry for the teams outside the Midwest (for confirmation compare the polls which are based on feelings and then look at the PWR and KRACH ratings on USCHO). I realize that this may be humbling to the WCHA partisans but the CCHA has more teams in the top 20 of the quantitative methods than the WCHA this year. However, I am inclined (grudgingly) to agree that overall historical performance favors the WCHA as the strongest league in Div. 1 hockey.

This from a UAF (remember them from earlier this season Minnesota, Michigan, and Miami (Ohio)...don't forget the "(Ohio)" fans?) hockey fan who would desperately like to believe that my alma matter was only knocked out the NCAAs by a soon to be crowned champ.

Please don't use my name if you choose to publish this as there are some who believe that Div. 1 Hockey is a code word for CCHA and I fear these people ;)

This gentleman is to be commended for his honesty and forthrightness. And I will say that the CCHA is undoubtedly the second best conference in college hockey.

Now, the time for chatting is over. The time for serious hockey begins. Stock up on your beverage of choice (Sierra Mist in the case of JB Doubtless). Secure the remote. Lock up the dog. Put the kids to bed ("But dad, it's still light out.") Settle in your couch's ass groove and enjoy a fantastic weekend of college hockey.

All Graphite And Glitter

James "Just to watch him die" writes in about police busting drunks in Cally:

Fresno, California, (Raisin capital or table grape capital of the world, depending upon who you talk to, and farming home of Professor Victor Davis Hanson) recently began a similar program of "preemptive" drunk driving enforcement. The Fresno Bee reports that "Undercover officers see patrons in bars, then tell officers outside of potential drunken drivers."
Fresno police are taking enforcement of drunken driving laws to a new level - which officers expect will bring both success and outrage. Saturday night, the traffic unit unveiled a new operation in which plainclothes police officers stake out bars and target drunk patrons. If the heavy drinkers get behind the wheel, officers in unmarked cars follow them and call in marked police cars to pull them over.

There seems to be something unseemly about this:
Back at The Dirty Olive, one of Fresno's most popular bars, the undercover officers set up camp in a corner after getting some drinks at the bar. Van Wyhe and Sgt. Bruce Owen are keeping a low profile outside in a white sport utility vehicle with tinted windows.

The bar is packed. The officers decide to move around to observe the clientele.

An hour passes. As the bar nears its closing time of midnight, patrons pour into the parking lot. The officers are people-watching from a table near the door, then move outside and linger.
At least they actually are waiting for the suspects to get behind the wheel of a car and drive it before they stop them. Going to be "funny" the first time the police let one of these drunks get behind the wheel of a car and he hits someone before they pull him over. Maybe a little too clever?

It still seems so very wrong.

True. But again I approve of fascistic, draconian police action that stops people from doing stuff I have voluntarily stopped doing myself. Anything that makes me miss booze less is a net positive in my book.

Until Easter...then I may start to feel like Ice Cube and his infamous song with NWA.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Separated At Birth?--The People Have Spoken

Unlike Dean "I Make The Baby Jesus Cry" Johnson, we respect the right of the voters to decide the pressing issues of the day. And vote you have. The results are in

Separated at birth?

Minneapolis fire chief Bonnie Bleskachek and...

...slightly less manly actor David Schwimmer?

Shavin' It Old School

Tony from Ohio e-mails with more on razor blogging:

Love your blog. Its a must read for me every morning.

The Onion predicted Gillette would go to five blades two years ago:

F*** Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

Myself, I tired of the high prices and new razors coming out every other year and now shave with a single blade safety razor like my dad used to use and I love it.

I Can Lose That Job With One Word

This afternoon, Dennis Prager was discussing the story of a talk radio host canned for inadvertently making a racist remark:

A radio personality at 550 KTRS was fired on the spot this morning after using the word "coon" on the air in a conversation about Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Dave Lenihan was dismissed after what he called an inadvertent slip of the tongue. Within 20 minutes, station CEO Tim Dorsey apologized on the air to listeners and announced that Lenihan, who had been with the station for less than two weeks, had been let go.

Lenihan was listing what assets Rice could bring to the league, including her tenure as a top academic officer at Stanford University and the fact that she is African-American.

"She's just got a patent resume, of somebody that's got such serious skill," Lenihan said on the air. "She loves football, she's African-American, which would kind of be a big coon, a big coon--oh my God, I am totally, totally, totally, totally, totally sorry for that, OK? I didn't mean that. That was just a slip of the tongue." Lenihan later said he meant to use the word "coup."

Reached at home, Lenihan said he was still trying to figure out what happened, and was drafting a letter of apology to Rice.

"I was trying to say 'quite a coup' but it came out 'coon,'" he said. "I caught myself and apologized. It wasn't anything I was meaning to say. I never use that word."

This seems to be an overreaction. The guy simply misspoke, which can happen to the best of us. He clearly did not intend to make a derogatory comment about Rice, which was demonstrated by his sincere contrition once he realized what he had said. Tough break.

Fortunately, we've managed to stay clear of any such offensive slip-ups on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. Due in no small part to our conscious decision to steer clear of topics that might lead us into dangerous waters. For example, this Saturday we plan to discuss the ongoing saga of Minneapolis Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek and what can be done to prevent spring flooding in the upper-Midwest. No icebergs there. No siree.

If I Can't Have Fun...

The authorities in Texas have been rounding up drunks like so many cattle. And these people are not even driving.

Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said on Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission's Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkeness, Beck said.

I applaud this heavy-handed jack-bootedness. If I have to sit home and drink Sierra Mist when watching American Idol, others shouldn't be able to go out in public and get loaded.

Of course, the law should be rescinded come Easter when I start back on the hootch once again, but...

We feel that the only way we're going to get at the drunk driving problem and the problem of people hurting each other while drunk is by crackdowns like this," she said.

"There are a lot of dangerous and stupid things people do when they're intoxicated, other than get behind the wheel of a car," Beck said. "People walk out into traffic and get run over, people jump off of balconies trying to reach a swimming pool and miss."

That must be a huge problem down in Texas. Why it must happen 2-3 times a decade I'm sure.

UPDATE: The original Drunk In Public Comedian Ron White on his arrest outside a NYC bar:

"Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! I was drunk in a bar! They, threw me into public-KA! I don't want to be drunk in public! I wanna be drunk in a bar, which is perfectly legal! Arrest them!" He didn't arrest them, instead he had me do a field sobriety check, where you stand on one foot, raise the other foot six inches off the ground, and count to thirty. I made it to "woo!"

Separated At Birth?


[EDITOR'S NOTE: We're getting a lot of e-mails suggesting KD Lang for this SAB. We decided that one was far too easy and obvious. Comparing birds of a feather isn't much of a challenge.]

The Fire Chief Of MPLS (that picture to the left), who stands accused of diddling the help and then beating said help (and is now on paid administrative leave)...


David Schwimmer?


Paul Reubens?


Mike Nesmith?


Paul Simon?

AHHH!!! Not THAT Paul Simon.

This Paul Simon


Rick Astley?

You decide.

UPDATE--Rick e-mails to suggest yet another possibility.

UPDATE II--Rod e-mails to offer up another option.

UPDATE III--Another dude wrote in to suggest Prince Charles. I'm too lazy to post the pic, but it's not bad.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Way Of The Cross

Further research into the College of the Holy Cross has revealed some very disturbing information about this institution of higher learning. Not only is it a Catholic college whose teams sport the provocative, insensitive, and needlessly aggressive neo-conservative nickname "Crusaders", it also is a member of an athletic conference with the Ashcroftian title of the "Patriot League." Wrapping themselves up in the flag, aren't they?

And if you take a closer look at their hockey roster, you'll discover that all its players are white males, no doubt from privileged backgrounds. Connect the dots people. Connect the dots.

Step Into The Octagon

Intellectual pugilist Vox Day tells it like it is with a post that hits with the speed and power of Rich Franklin:

In case this is too subtle, let me spell it out for you. If you sentence your children to public school, regardless of how "excellent" your local one is supposed to be or how "wonderful" the teachers and the facilities are, you are an idiot.

And be sure to read the comments. A reader is attempting to make the point that it is completely impossible for him to home school or send his kids to private school. Sorry buddy, no sale.

Schlemeel, schlemazel, hasenfeffer incorporated

The selections have been announced. The brackets are out. And this Friday the battle to reach the 2006 Frozen Four in Milwaukee begins.

If you prefer to view the college hockey world through maroon and gold colored lens you can get your Panglossian predictions here. But I believe that most of you want the straight scoop on the tournament from a source with a proven track record. That's why you seek the wisdom of The Elder.

The guy who predicted that North Dakota would knock off Wisconsin in the WCHA Final Five semi-final. The guy who assured Mark Yost that St. Cloud State would lose to North Dakota on Saturday night and thus not earn a place in the NCAA tourney. Sure, I was wrong about Friday night's Gopher-SCSU tussle, but I doubt if even the most rabid Husky fan (no pun intended) saw that one coming.

Anyway that was just the warm-ups for the real action that starts Friday. Let's make the rounds.

Last year's all WCHA Frozen Four, and the subsequent whining from all the lesser conferences, led the selection committee to institute an affirmative action policy this time around. They put all four WCHA teams (read the good teams) in two regionals, ensuring that there will be at least two non-WCHA teams in the Frozen Four. Not that it will matter at the end of the day anyway, but it's pretty pathetic when unqualified schools are allowed to play in the Frozen Four in the interests of "fairness." We'll start with the weak sister regionals.

East Regional (Albany)

No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 4 New Hampshire--One of these years, New Hampshire will put it all together and win the NCAA hockey championship. Right after hell freezes over. Michigan State 4 UNH 2.

No. 2 Harvard vs. No. 3 Maine--For no other reason than my intense loathing of the Black Bears, I'll take the lads of Harvard by a 3-2 score.

Regional Final: Michigan State is closer to being in the WCHA than Harvard, therefore they win 2-1.

Northeast Regional (Worcester)

No. 1 Boston U. vs. No. 4 Nebraska-Omaha--Jack Pah-kahs Terriers have too much bite for the cold Omahaians. BU 5 UNO 3.

No. 2 Miami vs. No. 3 Boston College--Miami of Ohio. 'Nuf said. BC wins 4-3.

Regional Final: Boston's not much of a college town, so this is a tough pick. Let's go with BC 3-2.

Now let's get to the real games.

Midwest Regional (Green Bay)

No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 4 Bemidji State--Wisconsin is overrated. Bemidji almost knocked out Denver last year. Still, it's in Green Bay and they are from the premier conference in college hockey. Badgers 4-2.

No. 2 Cornell vs. No. 3 Colorado College--Not one of CC's better teams. But Cornell? The Big Red? Not. CC 3 Cornell 1

Regional Final: An all WCHA affair just as God intended. Wisconsin's a team with a fragile psyche and if the Tigers get up a couple of goals early, Bucky will roll over. But I just don't think this CC team has enough. Badgers punch their ticket to Milwaukee 3-2.

I just realized that so far I'm picking all the top seeds to advance, which is probably a certain kiss of death.

West Regional (Grand Forks)

No. 2 North Dakota vs. No. 3 Michigan

The maize and blue might as well not even take their ugly football-looking helmets out of the bag. The Sioux are not only at home, they're on a roll. And they will roll all over Michigan. Sioux 6 Wolverines 2.

No. 1 Minnesota vs. No. 4 Holy Cross

One of the nice things about the NCAA hockey tournament is learning about quaint schools that you rarely if ever hear anything about. For example, Holy Cross is a Catholic college located in Worcester, Mass and they got into the tourney by virtue of their victory over hockey powerhouse Bentley. Yes, it's a good thing to become more familiar with these smaller programs. And then to kick the living crap out of them. Gophers 19 the politically incorrect Crusaders 2.

By the way, no sooner does the horn sound than you pretty much forget everything about the little school that you've just blown out. Don't believe me? Where in the hell is Mercyhurst at again?

Regional Final: What a showdown. Bitter rivals with long and storied histories meeting for a chance to go to the Frozen Four. Saturday nights in Grand Forks don't get any hotter.

Last year, these two squads met in the Frozen Four (did I mention that it was an all WCHA affair?) with the Sioux coming away victorious. This year, the Gophers have taken three out of four from the Sioux including a sweep up in Grand Forks that marked a turning point in Minnesota's season.

But in playoff hockey, it's all about what have you done for me lately. The Sioux are coming off a WCHA Final Five championship and seem to be jelling at the right time. Their youngsters are really starting to stand out and Parise has been solid, if not spectacular, between the pipes.

The Gophers haven't done much for me lately. Saturday's loss in the third place game doesn't bother me much. Friday night's shootout with St. Cloud State does. Mediocre goaltending and inconsistent, at times lackadaisical defensive play will not get you far in a single elimination tournament. It appeared that the Gophers had tightened up their defensive game and both tenders had strong efforts as the season closed. But the sloppy play and weak goals cropped up again in the playoff series against Anchorage. The Gophers had too much firepower to lose either game to the Seawolves, but there were disquieting signs in the sweep.

Those signs were fully on display on Friday as the Huskies downed the Gophers in OT 8-7. It was a poor defensive effort from top to bottom. Goalies, defensemen, and forwards all bore a share of the blame. After watching that fiasco, I just can't see this squad making the Frozen Four.

Unless of course Briggs steps up and the team plays solid defense. For now, I'll take the team with the mo'. North Dakota 5 Minnesota 3.

Frozen Four


Wisconsin versus Michigan State--It kills me to do this, but I'll take the Badgers 2-1.

North Dakota versus Boston U.--A rematch of the '97 title game. Let's go with same result and score. UND 6 BU 4

A rematch of the WCHA Final Five semi-final. Same result, slightly different score. UND 4 Wisconsin 2

That will make it five straight NCAA championships for WCHA schools. The way it should be.

UPDATE--James from No Cal, a guy who actually knows his college puck, e-mails:

Dammit, I was hoping you were going to convince me that the Gophs had a real chance at the Championship. Unfortunately, though I've been a Briggs fan for a couple years now, I have to agree that he's not turned out to be what I hoped. And the Gophs giving up 8 goals to the Huskies was just inexcusable. This was a Husky team that lived and died on defense and couldn't score on Courtney Love. The Gophs got lazy and complacent toward the end of the season. Six games against UAA and UMD do not make you playoff ready.

So you're probably right. Unfortunately. I hope you're wrong (except abooot Maine. God how I hate them), but I fear you're right.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Can't Stop 'Til I Get Enough

You ready for some razor blogging? An article in The Economist looks at the latest in shaving technology:

For the most cynical shavers, this evolution is mere marketing. Twin blades seemed plausible. Three were a bit unlikely. Four, ridiculous. And five seems beyond the pale. Few people, though, seem willing to bet that Gillette's five-bladed Fusion is the end of the road for razor-blade escalation. More blades may seem impossible for the moment--though strictly speaking the Fusion has six, because it has a single blade on its flip-side for tricky areas--but anyone of a gambling persuasion might want to examine the relationship between how many blades a razor has, and the date each new design was introduced.

It is simply not possible to add a new blade whenever the marketing department wants one. Every additional blade, explains Michele Szynal, a spokeswoman at Gillette, adds weight and size to a razor. Firms must therefore find ways of making both razor and blades lighter, which means thinner blades, more closely spaced, made of special materials, with new coatings.

People spend their lives trying to figure out how to add more blades to my razor. God, I love capitalism.

And I can't wait for what lies ahead:

So what does the future hold? With only five data-points, it is hard to be sure exactly which mathematical curve is being followed. If it is what is known as a power law, then the 14-bladed razor should arrive in 2100. The spate of recent innovation, however, suggests it may be a hyperbola. In that case, blade hyperdrive will be reached in the next few years and those who choose not to sport beards might be advised to start exercising their shaving arms now.

A 14-bladed razor? Faster please.

Why Buy New...When It's Free!

Hot dang. I just got back from lunch and picked up my very own Dick Enrico bobblehead. As some of you may know, Dick is the CEO and founder of 2nd Wind Excercise Equipment.

I first read about him in the WSJ a few years back. Great American Success Story this guy so I was thrilled when I found out a bobblehead of the man could be had for free just by signing up at

My boss and I are currently building a small DE shrine in my cube and plan to pray secretly to it when the chips are down.

Oh and I also got a free hat, so go sign yourself up today.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Boo Hoo Hugh

One of the joys of reading Hugh Hewitt's blog is the frequent typos and misspellings that find their way into cyberspace. Usually they are corrected at some point, but they are usually good for a larf when first spotted. Here's the latest:

Now comes word that the Post has added RedAmerica, a new blog written by Ben Domenech. Domenech is a superb writer/reporter and very well wired on all things conservative. He's also coming to his job from Regnery, where he has just finished editing my new boo.

Your new what?

Talk about a tough job. Editing a book for Hugh must be like cleaning up the Augean Stables.

Heeding Santayana

Listening to people like Richard Belzer opine on the situation in Iraq, why it's a quagmire, another Vietnam, etc. you get the idea that their condescending, smarter than thou attitude extends toward all levels of the military. They view the generals running the war as incompetent, blood-thirsty Neanderthals, too stupid and ignorant to learn obvious lessons from the past. One can imagine Belzer reading one of the twenty papers he allegedly consumes a day, dismissively shaking his head and muttering, "Fools. Can't they see they're making the same mistakes in Iraq that they did in Vietnam?"

Fortunately, the top commanders conducting the war are far more intelligent than the Belzers of the world imagine (and far more intelligent than the Belzers of the world for that matter). Today's WSJ features an article on how the Army is Re-Examining the Lessons of Vietnam (subscription required):

The last time Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Baghdad, back in December, the top U.S. military commander there gave him an unusual gift.

Gen. George Casey passed him a copy of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife : Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam, written by Lt. Col. John Nagl. Initially published in 2002, the book is brutal in its criticism of the Vietnam-era Army as an organization that failed to learn from its mistakes and tried vainly to fight guerrilla insurgents the same way it fought World War II.

In the book, Col. Nagl, who served a year in Iraq, contrasts the U.S. Army's failure with the British experience in Malaya in the 1950s. The difference: The British, who eventually prevailed, quickly saw the folly of using massive force to annihilate a shadowy communist enemy.

"The British Army was a learning institution, and the U.S. Army was not," Col. Nagl writes.

Thankfully, that unwillingness to learn and adapt doesn't seem to be quite as much of a problem for the Army anymore:

The newer analyses of Vietnam are now supplanting that theory -- and changing the way the Army fights. The argument that the military must exercise restraint is a central point of the Army's new counterinsurgency doctrine. The doctrine, which runs about 120 pages and is still in draft form, is a handbook on how to wage guerrilla wars.

It offers Army and Marine Corps officers advice on everything from strategy development to intelligence gathering. Col. Nagl is among the four primary authors of the doctrine. Conrad Crane, a historian at the U.S. Army War College, is overseeing the effort.

One of the doctrine's primary goals is to shatter the conventional wisdom that defined the post-Vietnam Army. "We are at a turning point in the Army's institutional history," Col. Nagl and his co-authors write in a forthcoming essay in "Military Review," an Army journal.

Drawing on its frustrating struggle to prop up a corrupt government in Saigon, the Army in its new blueprint counsels soldiers that anti-guerrilla operations must be focused on building a government that is seen as legitimate in the eyes of the locals. "Military actions conducted without analysis of their political effectiveness will be at best ineffective and at worst help the enemy," the draft doctrine states.

Not exactly "Bomb 'em back into the Stone Age" is it?

The first Gulf War seemed to vindicate the Army's big-war approach. The Army had finally been allowed to fight the conventional, firepower-intensive war it wanted to mount in Vietnam. It prevailed quickly and with few casualties. "By God, we've kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all," the President George H.W. Bush gushed in 1991.

To Col. Nagl, the Army's quick, low-casualty win wasn't necessarily a good news story. "The lesson of the Gulf War was: Don't fight the U.S. conventionally," Col. Nagl says. "The way to defeat the U.S. Army is to use guerrilla warfare and exhaust the will of the U.S. At least you have a chance to win."

Col. Nagl reread Mr. Krepinevich's account of the Army in Vietnam, which he says had a big influence on his doctoral thesis. "I stole from it shamelessly," he says today, although he fully credited the work in his own. He also immersed himself in the papers of Sir Gerald Templer, who led British counterinsurgency efforts in Malaya in the 1950s. "I wanted to figure out why the British Army was able to learn how to defeat an insurgency after starting out badly and why the American Army was not able to learn as well in Vietnam," Col. Nagl says.

He concluded that the Army did learn in Vietnam, but far too slowly. By 1969 the military had shifted away from large-scale search-and-destroy missions and was putting a far greater emphasis on building indigenous security forces, safeguarding villagers and developing the local economy. However, "at that point the American people had already lost their faith," he says.

Colonel Nagl's ideas quickly found favor with the brass:

While Col. Nagl was in Iraq, Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army's top officer, picked up his book and was taken by its argument that the Army's big-war culture in Vietnam often overpowered innovative ideas from inside the service and out.

The general ordered his fellow four-star generals to read it. Before he went to Iraq to take over as the top commander, Gen. Casey read Col. Nagl's book as well. "The thesis that the U.S. military was too prone to [big offensive strikes] to be good at counterinsurgency was something I noted to watch for when I got here," says Gen. Casey in an email from Baghdad.

The tome has already had an influence on the ground in Iraq. Last winter, Gen. Casey opened a school for U.S. commanders in Iraq to help officers adjust to the demands of a guerrilla-style conflict in which the enemy hides among the people and tries to provoke an overreaction. The idea for the training center, says Gen. Casey, came in part from Col. Nagl's book, which chronicles how the British in Malaya used a similar school to educate British officers coming into the country.

"Pretty much everyone on Gen. Casey's staff had read Nagl's book," says Lt. Col. Nathan Freier, who spent a year in Iraq as a strategist. A British brigadier general says that "Gen. Casey carried the book with him everywhere." Both Col. Nagl's and Mr. Krepinevich's books are included on a recommended counterinsurgency reading list included in the draft doctrine.

How many members of the media covering the war in Iraq have read the book? How many have even heard of it?

Other Vietnam histories have also drawn the interest of senior Army officers. Lt. Gen. John Vines, who was until recently the No. 2 commander in Iraq, recommended his staff read Col. McMaster's "Dereliction of Duty." The book portrays the military's senior Vietnam-era generals as a feckless lot, unwilling to confront President Lyndon Johnson over what they believed to be a bankrupt strategy. Its message: Military commanders must always speak the truth to their civilian bosses.

What? You mean they're not a cabal of mindless automatons willing to go along with the neocon Cowboy In Chief on any reckless military adventure as long it serves to advance their careers?

Let's hope that one of the twenty papers that Belzer claims to read daily is the Wall Street Journal. Somehow, I doubt it.

The Surreal Life

It's one to enjoy the give and take of a bit of good-natured ribbing between friends. It's quite another when someone approachs you at work and asks why you're trying to get the Carpenters inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. Yes, that actually happened to me earlier today.

This latest affront to my honor shall not go unavenged.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Everybody's Going Uptown

The crime situation in Minneapolis appears to be getting out of control. Make that EVEN MORE out of control. Man shot during Uptown robbery in critical condition:

A 25-year-old man is in critical condition after he was shot during a robbery Saturday in Minneapolis' Uptown area.

Police said the man, whose identity was not released, and his mother, sister and a friend were walking to their car when two men approached them about 9:55 p.m. in the 3100 block of Girard Avenue S. in the Carag neighborhood. The group had just come from a restaurant at Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue.

Police said the suspects demanded the mother's purse. She obliged and there was no struggle or resistance, but one suspect then shot the man, police said.

For those of you outside the Twin Cities, Uptown is the kind of place where arty Bohemians mingle with cool hipsters and punks looking for something (anything) to rebel against. Its many restaurants, bars, clubs, unique shops, and proximity to the Chain of Lakes make it a popular destination for both Twin Cities residents and out of town visitors.

Until recently, it has been a relatively safe place. That seems to be changing:

Robberies have increased 39 percent citywide in the first 2½ months of 2006 compared with the same time last year, according to statistics released last week. There were 100 robberies reported in the Fifth Precinct this year compared with 60 at this time last year, Arneson said. A robbery task force is investigating the crimes, and patrols have been stepped up, she said.

This could be the tipping point in the recent crime wave that is sweeping over the city of Minneapolis. In the last few years, Downtown Minneapolis has slowly but surely been lost. At night, even on the busiest streets, you don't feel safe. The police presence is spotty at best and you can walk for blocks on a Saturday evening and see nary a cop. It's not exactly an inviting atmosphere.

Before you dismiss my fears as merely suburban paranoia about the "big city", consider that I've lived in the Twin Cities almost my entire life and I've often enjoyed frequenting Downtown Minneapolis. Presently, I live a mere ten minutes from Downtown and love the vitality and energy of the city. But something has changed in the last five years. And it's not a change for the good.

As lamentable as losing Downtown is, it's nothing compared to losing Uptown. If the City of Minneapolis is unable to regain control of the Uptown area, you might as well shut 'er down. Because the Uptown area is the crown jewel of the city. It's THE place to hang out. THE place to live. THE place to drink, eat, walk, run, swim, listen to music, etc. Sure other neighbors offer all of that as well, but none combine it in the perfect package that Uptown serves up. For many suburbanites and visitors, Uptown is Minneapolis. So goes Uptown, so goes the city.

If the Minneapolis Police have any hope of turning back the tide, the place to begin is Uptown. They must win back Uptown and they must win it back now.

Until then, they offer this advice:

Safety tips from police include traveling in groups, parking in lighted areas, carrying a cell phone, avoiding intoxication and not fighting back.

Sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday night, don't it? Personally, I would think that if you're going to be in Uptown after dark anytime soon, you might want to consider some personal protection. And I ain't talking pepper spray either.

For more on this story and the rise of crime in Minneapolis, check out Rambix and the Red Star.

It's probably the most intelligent ape there is

The lastest example of media backlash directed at bloggers comes to us courtesy of one Marie Cocco. This section of her piece gave me a good larf:

Bloggers, at least in the United States where the press is unfettered by government, aren't journalists. They're contemporary political pamphleteers. Like political agitators throughout history, they've got a legitimate role to play in trying to persuade a larger audience to take action against institutions they believe aren't serving them well--whether it's big government, big media or big corporations. A politician who ignores blogs does so at his or her own peril.

But few pajama-clad bloggers were seen wading through hip-deep water in New Orleans to cover the perils wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the way that mainstream reporters and camera crews did.

No, they preferred to wait and report on events as they actually happened instead of passing on wild rumors of rape, cannibalism, etc.

They generally aren't eager to be bivouacked in Baghdad, either.

She has a point here. Rather than holing up in a Baghdad hotel, those bloggers who have gone to Iraq have usually gone out wih the troops. You know, where the real story is?

Let's All Say Hi To Nick

Laura Billings actually wrote something today that had me in tears I was laughing so hard:
This is not to say that St. Paul is cozy and small-town. We have more edge than that. The standard greeting in the neighborhood from which my husband hails is a raised middle finger.
Sorry to break it to you, Laura, but it ain't a neighborhood thing. A raised middle finger is everybody's standard greeting to your husband.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Document Dump

Michael Tanji joined us on the NARN today to discuss the release of pre-war Iraqi documents. His Weekly Standard piece on the subject is called An Army of Analysts. He also blogs at GroupIntel. Check 'em both out.

Thank Goodness Dick Cohen Wasn't Involved

Minnesota Public Radio provides the worst headline regarding Dean Johnson and same-sex marriage legislation, ever.

In The Company of Men

While Scott Johnson is the undisputed manliness leader among the Power Line trio, I don't think that his colleague John Hinderaker is going to be needing testosterone supplements any time soon. Here's his view on how the matter of protests at funerals, which the Minnesota Legislature just voted to ban, should be handled:

This strikes me as one of many examples of our culture's obsession with legal remedies. As a lawyer, I suppose I shouldn't complain; but as a citizen, I think it's ridiculous. If a bunch of crazies show up waving signs at a funeral, the appropriate course is for an able-bodied man--there should be at least one at any funeral--to take a sign and break it over the ringleader's head. One of the basic problems in our society is that nearly all informal sanctions have been forfeited, so that there is hardly any middle ground between passive acceptance of antisocial behavior and a felony prosecution. Legislation and criminal prosecution are blunt instruments that cannot be brought to bear against every deviancy that may arise.

Meanwhile, Paul Mirengoff continues to write about soccer, widening the "cojones gap" gap between himself and his muy macho compadres.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Elliott's Demi-Pliés Can't Stop Sioux

This afternoon, North Dakota made vaunted Wisconsin goalie Brian Elliott look more like Billy Elliott as they rallied from an early deficit to defeat the Badgers 4-3 in the first WCHA Final Five semi-final game. A crowd of 16,468 was on hand at the Xcel Energy Center to catch the action.

After the game, Fox Sports Net joined the CCHA semi-final between Miami of Ohio and Northern Michigan in progress. The Red Hawks won by a score of 5-2, but what I noticed more than anything else was the crowd at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. Or more accurately, the lack of a crowd. I haven't been able to find any official attendance figures, but there couldn't have been more than three thousand people in the rink. Pathetic.

When it comes to college hockey, nobody touches the WCHA whether it's the teams or the fans.

Right now in the second semi, the Gophers and St. Cloud State are in the first period with the Gophers up 2-1. It's gonna be a great weekend.

I May Try This

Craig emails a little story for St. Patrick's Day:

An Irishman moves into a tiny hamlet in County Kerry, walks into the pub and promptly orders three beers.
The bartender raises his eyebrows, but serves the man three beers, which he drinks quietly at a table, alone.
An hour later, the man has finished the three beers and orders three more. This happens yet again.

The next evening the man again orders and drinks three beers at a time, several times. Soon the entire town is whispering about the "Man Who Orders Three Beers."

Finally, a week later, the bartender broaches the subject on behalf of the town.
"I don't mean to pry, but folks around here are wondering why you always order three beers?"

'Tis odd, isn't it?" the man replies, "You see, I have two brothers, and one went to America, and the other to Australia.

We promised each other that we would always order an extra two beers whenever we drank! as a way of keeping up the family bond."
The bartender and the whole town was pleased with this answer, and soon the
"Man Who Orders Three Beers" became a local celebrity and source of pride to the hamlet, even to the extent that out-of-towners would come to watch him drink.

Then, one day, the man comes in and orders only "TWO BEERS". The bartender pours them with a heavy heart. This continues for the rest of the evening - he orders only "TWO BEERS".

The word flies around town. Prayers are offered for the soul of one of the brothers.

The next day, the bartender says to the man, "Folks around here, me first of all, want to offer condolences to you for the death of your brother. You know-the TWO beers and all..."

The man ponders this for a moment, then replies, "You'll be happy to hear that my two brothers are alive and well.

It's just that I, "MESELF", have decided to give up drinking for Lent."

A Pale Imitation Of Life

Speaking from personal experience, I can safely say that a coffee with Irish cream sans the whisky doesn't taste all that hot. It just ain't the same.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Meet the Charimen

We are LIVE from the Republican Party headquarters in St. Paul. An impromptu meeting of the blogging elite has been called to meet with RNC National Chairman Ken Mehlman and the Minnesota State Republican Chairman - whatever his name is.

Not sure why we're here, but I'm hoping its the receipt of talking points. As you may have noticed, my posting of late has been light.

UPDATE: Red carpet reporting as the Blogerati begin to file in -

Capt. Ed. Morrissey (hurraah - the crowd goes wild!!)

Michael Brodkorb, aka MDE

Andy from Residual Forces nd Kennedy vs. Machine

Two guys I don't recognize and have never heard of (something like Midge Burke? Jokes - he's not here! Among the two unknown guys, one has a beard and a lap top. The other, no distinguishing marks whatsover - though he hasn't yet taken off his shirt, developing).

UPDATE: Preliminary buzz among the bloggers - will we all get towed? No one quite knows the policies of the builing management, other than the rather stern warning posted in the elevator about GETTING TOWED unless you have the proper designations and licenses posted in your window.

All I know is if this crew gets towed, we'll be taking it to the street! That is walking home. I live in St. Paul, so that's not so bad.

UPDATE: Gary Matthew Miller from KvM arrives. Glad handing and back slapping like he owns the place. If so, I hope he doesn't tow me.

UPDATE: But he's quickly overshadowed and dismissed by the star of the show Ken Mehlman! Firm handshake, makes good eye contact, he's not the RNC chairman for nuthin.

UPDATE: Breaking news, the Chairman of the state GOP is named Ron Carey. And not the guy from Barney Miller.

UPDATE: Ken Mehlman's entourage out numbers the bloggers.

UPDATE: Ken Mehlman talking now. Metaphor about downloading songs and politial participation. Lesson I take from it - it's hard to listen and live blog.

UPDATE: "blogging is the future of political communication" - I heard that! I'd take my shirt off and whoop, if it wasn't for all of my distinguishing characteristics.

UPDATE: "The Minnesota Media can't always be counted on to play it down the middle" - his understatement indicates he's not from these parts.

UPDATE: It's 5:34. I don't think there are going to be any donuts.

UPDATE: Ken Mehlman notes that no sitting President had ever won re-election with a "right track" poll number below some level that Bush slipped below. He rhetorically asks "why"? I shout "he stole it!?

After the gales of laughter, it is explained because the election was a choice, not a referendum. That is not a judgment on the past 4 years, rather Bush was preferred by a majority over the other choice - that dull, windsurfing guy.

UPDATE: Real news - Mehlman suspects Republicans will lose seats in Congress/Senate in 2006, but retain enough to hold majorities. If I were an MSM headline writer, tomorrow's edition in 8 inch scare font: MEHLMAN CALLS REPUBLICANS LOSERS

UPDATE: More talk of potential pick ups in the Senate (Floriday, Maryland, Michigan?) Notes the increase in African American Rebublican candidates in 2006. Says, although Howard Dean refuses to debate him on TV, they occasionally talk off the record, about family stuff, moving to DC - he's apparently a "nice guy." (Heeeeaaaaahhh!)

UPDATE: Andy asks if there is a "clearinghouse of information available for bloggers regarding positive things about Republicans" He's solicitiing talking points! Good man! Response is unfortunately non-commital.

UPDATE: It's wrapping up, people are bleeding away, Mehlman has left the building, and that's it! Off to find my car and maybe some donuts.

A Head With Wings

Now that's what you call a bobble-head. Thanks Kurt.

Over The Top!

Yesterday on his nationally syndicated talk radio show, Hugh Hewitt compared the efforts of to pressure Democrats in Congress to push forward on censuring President Bush to Soviet commissars driving troops toward the German guns with the threat of shooting anyone who refused to charge ahead.

Today, Jonathan Gurwitz examines (WSJ-subscription required) the attempt by left-wing bloggers and political action groups (including to defeat moderate Democrat Henry Cuellar in a recent primary:

The campaign was long on sentiment but short on funds. By the end of December, Mr. Rodriguez had raised only $170,000 to Mr. Cuellar's $655,000. Then, in January, the conservative Club for Growth endorsed Mr. Cuellar, its first ever Democratic endorsement. And as President Bush entered the House chamber for the State of the Union address, cameras captured his hearty embrace of Mr. Cuellar. The endorsement and the image were widely disseminated, igniting a nationwide liberal campaign to defeat Mr. Cuellar. Influential bloggers Markos "Kos" Moulitsas and Duncan "Atrios" Black led the charge, joined by kindred Web sites. As much as $500,000 poured into Mr. Rodriguez's coffers during the final six weeks of electioneering. Liberals touted the effort as the ultimate mobilization of the "netroots" -- the indomitable synthesis of grassroots organization with digital potency.

In the March 7 primary, Mr. Cuellar won with 53% of the vote to Mr. Rodriguez's 41% (a third candidate taking the rest). He increased his margin of victory over Mr. Rodriguez in 2004 in 10 out of 11 counties, besting his principal opponent by nearly 5,600 votes -- despite the efforts of the netroots activists. "A lot of energy and money was wasted in the Democratic primary that could have been used to defeat Republicans in November," says Colin Strother, a general consultant for Mr. Cuellar's campaign. "The netroots people took their eyes off the ball -- taking the House back from the Republicans," he says. "They only knew one picture . . . They knew nothing about the district."

Blogger Moulitsas is unapologetic. "So we didn't kill off Cuellar," he wrote on his blog, "but we gave him an [blank] whooping where none was expected and made him sweat. That's the reason why Lieberman is sweating in Connecticut," referring to another netroots challenge against another centrist Democrat.

Gurwitz finds parallels to the futility of World War I trench warfare:

So far, threats like these seem the best the Angry Left can muster. They now have a disastrous 0-17 record stretching back to 2004. The netroots leaders resemble nothing so much as World War I commanders, who after each successive setback maintained that victory was tantalizingly close, and lobbed more artillery shells and threw more troops over the top. Similarly among the netroots, the article of faith is that victory is only a matter of trying harder, upping the rhetoric and raising more money.

This is exactly the pattern that I've noticed with over the last few years. It's a seemingly endless loop of failure that they keep repeating over and over again:

1. Fire up your base with the latest "outrage" of the day

2. Channel their anger into supporting a candidate or position that is going to be voted on

3. Pull out all the stops to get your base to donate money, volunteer, turn out, hold rallies, meet-ups, etc.

4. Wake up that day after the election or vote to be shocked to find that, once again, you have lost

5. Wallow in pity and try to console yourself for a few days

6. Announce that this is a "wake-up call" and that you have regrouped and are now more energized than ever

7. Repeat step 1

After major defeats, such as the 2002 and 2004 elections, Alito getting on the Supreme Court, etc. there may also be an additional step between 5 and 6. This is when they pause, reflect, and reconsider their strategy for the future. just went through this step last month.

The problem is that when they do pause and ask themselves why they lost and what they need to do win next time around, most of the feedback and input they get comes from the more extreme members of the group. They usually blame their defeats on having been too moderate and not having done enough.

So they propose becoming more radical, having more vigils and meet-ups, getting more people to sign petitions, walking more neighborhoods, sending more e-mails to Congress, and donating more money to the cause. As Gurwitz notes, they believe that with just a little more they'll finally be able to break through. But by becoming more radical and more activist, they drift further away from the mainstream voters whose support they need if they ever have any hope of winning political victories.

In some respects you have to admire their tenacity. But at some point, you also have to question their mental health. As Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. "

Stuck In The "Middle" With You

Gary Pruitt, chairman and CEO of the McClatchy Company, has an opinion piece in today's WSJ called Brave News World that included this howler:

People in the newspaper industry have got a lot riding on this -- our jobs and reputations, for starters; but the stakes for society are far higher. Self-government depends on continuous civic conversation, which in turn depends on people having a common vocabulary. Without a shared sense of what the problems are, there's little hope of finding solutions. That shared middle -- a place where people basically agree about the facts and the issues, even if they differ over what to do about them -- is where we believe our responsibilities as newspaper owners lie. And it is under assault by spinmeisters, partisans and ideologues. They all have their place in a democracy -- but it is not in the center. Our place is.

Um...Mr. Pruitt? You own this newspaper called the Minneapolis Star Tribune? Remember?

Comedic Condiments

#1 On the fame of blogging

#2 On flying coach

Tourney Time

After days of hype and buildup the action finally starts today. The drama and excitement is unmatched in college sport. The raucous fans, the last second shots, the overtimes, the perennial powerhouses and the Cinderella stories. It really don't get any better.

Yes indeed, the WCHA Final Five is about as good as it gets.

What? Were you thinking of some other tournament?

P.S. Hey Denver, we're having a great time. Wish you were here.

UPDATE--Rich from Pennsylvania e-mails to concur:

So, it's the first time I look at your blog (sorry for being so late), having followed a link from Power Line, and what's the first post I see?: A post proclaiming the superiority of the Final Five over any other sporting event that just might possibly coincidentally be happening at the same time. You have thereby gained a devoted-for-life fan.

Glad to have you on board Rich. And, unlike Power Line, we can promise that you won't find any soccer blogging here either.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mr. Van Driessen Isn't Sensitive?

Is this guy the perfect poster boy for the effete, pseudo-intellectual, collectivist-minded, wussy, vegan, urban leftist or what?

The story is a pretty good hoot too because this precious lefty is being hoisted by his own retard for being insufficiently sensitive to minorities in teaching his silly little race/class/gender classes at Hamline University. Look at that picture once again. THAT guy isn't sensitive?

I'm sure the bullies had their way with the poor guy in school and this is his chance to lash out at society for Mean People Sucking and all, but surely a man with his leftist pedigree didn't expect to be accused of anything so vile as insensitivity.

Even more to the point, his activism on social justice issues goes back more than two decades. As an undergrad at Fordham University he helped lead protests against CIA policies in South America and the apartheid regime in South Africa. More recently, he's organized support for striking faculty members at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (where he received his doctorate in sociology in 2004) and walked picket lines in solidarity with Northwest Airlines employees. He is a strident lefty--as appalled by Bill Clinton as by George W. Bush. The kind of guy who would be proud to land on conservative activist David Horowitz's list of the most dangerous academics in America.

So what did the little guy do to be accused of such thought crimes?

At one point, Philion recounts, in defending his teaching methodology, he told the students that he rejected the "smorgasbord" approach to teaching race relations, whereby each ethnicity is given equal class time. This only landed him in further hot water, however, when the students complained that he was equating racism with food.

No Racism For Food--has a nice ring to it.

Read it all and enjoy the delicious irony of a lefty being nailed for not adopting a mindset he helped create and foster.

And here's the Van Driessen reference for those of you who don't watch Great Television.

UPDATE: I missed this little nugget on my first reading of the piece:

Philion has since secured a tenure-track position at St. Cloud State University, where he'll begin teaching next fall. His experience at Hamline has left him bitter and angry. He believes the experiences of himself and Markowitz are part of an organized campaign.

They'll give dang near anybody tenure there.