Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Swerving Into The Ditch

The Crunchy Con Man on The Church:

The reason I post it here, though, is because what Amy's comboxes reveal is a hidden history (well, hidden from the mainstream, but certainly not hidden within orthodox Catholic circles) of how and why the Catholic Church has gotten itself into such a ditch. It wasn't an accident. It was systematically engineered by the treason of the clerks, so to speak. One of the most mysteries and consequential tragedies of the last half of the 20th century was the suicide attempt of the Catholic Church. Thanks be to God, it did not succeed, and signs of rebirth are there (you can see them in Amy's comboxes). But there's a long way to go back, and I'm afraid my Catholic friends are right: a lot more to be endured, and fought for, until that destructive generation and their spiritual children die out.

I guess it shouldn't come as any kind of surprise that the Destructive Generation--that's YOU there Baby Boomers--took aim at the church and still continues to actively promote it's demise. Any institution with a non-relative view of Truth and right and wrong had to be taken down for the New Man to emerge free of residual guilt.

My experience at parochial schools for both grade school and high school was that they were Catholic in name only. Sure, there was some thin instruction on the sacraments and what It All Meant, but the main goal seemed to be the churning of high achievers. The focus of the schools was not to teach students how to live a proper Catholic life in an aggressively secular humanist society, it was to create corporate go-getters who could make a lot of money and therefore be spared life's hardships.

Right now as we speak, students at private Catholic high schools are being taught that getting into the right college is the most important thing they should be focused on. This is for boys and girls. What this creates (once they graduate from that college) is the same type of modern young people that the public school creates: career-driven, two income, family-comes-second-to-my-job folks.

The Catholic schools have definitely turned the bus into the ditch. Let's hope the next generation can tow it out.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Stars Boston Brawl 1981

Classic right here.

Watch until the end when the festivities spill out to the benches and Craig Hartsburg has to be restrained by two Boston cops.

Not exactly a modern hockey game.

A License To Kill

Woman's Unborn Child Killed In Maplewood Assault

A 12-week-old unborn child was killed Sunday after an assault in Maplewood, Minn., according to authorities.

The incident happened at an apartment building on the 1800 block of Beebe Road.

According to police, an 18-year-old woman was taken to St. John's Hospital just after 11 a.m. The woman was about 12 weeks pregnant and miscarried at the hospital.

According to Maplewood Police Lt. Dave Kvam, a 20-year-old suspect has been arrested for the assault and is being held on suspicion of the murder of an unborn child.
Since when is it illegal to kill an unborn child in Minnesota? It actually happened in this state more than 65,000 times over the four year period ending in 2004.

I guess it's only against the law to kill a baby when the murderer is not a licensed physician.

Once A Jackass...

I'm not sure about you, but for my money there is no more annoying TV sports personality than Cris (note the spelling) Collinsworth.

A quote from this morning's Miami Herald proves that he has been this way for some time now:

"We were all flabbergasted when coach told us that Stanley Wilson would not be able to play this game (the Super Bowl) because we found him in a drug-induced haze," says then-Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason.

"That's when my teammate, Cris Collinsworth, got up and said 'We've got to win this one for Stanley!' and everyone wanted to bum-rush him and beat the hell out of him because Stanley had been a three-time loser already and now the night before the biggest game he let it happen again."

Oh, I'm Not One of THOSE People

Lileks reminds us where he stands, thus hoping to avoid the wrath of the urban left:

I'm not a "social conservative," I don't care if Howard Stern cusses on Sirius or HBO shows boobies. My kid's in a public school, I live in the city, but understand why some love the 'burbs. I'd rather see $800 million spent on a public transit system that gets the poor to jobs cheaply instead of a fixed-rail system. Et cetera. And so on.

Someone familiar with Lileks' work might ask him--what's up with the "scare quotes" as he calls them?

I suppose a little triangulation in a comments section is expected of someone hoping to appeal to a wide variety of people with his column and books. Good thing Hugh almost exclusively talks about foreign policy and who-will-run on his show and not say, abortion or James might find appearing a little discombobulating.

Go Ahead And Impeach

Tim e-mails to point out what would happen if the Looney Left's nuttiest wet dream fantasy was actually realized:

Whereas many people on the Left don't like President Bush, and whereas, many of these same people want very much to impeach President Bush, I hereby nominate you to inform them that if President Bush is impeached, the country will then be run by Vice-President Cheney, whom they hate only a teensy-weensy little bit less.

If they were successful, would they then impeach try to Cheney? Do they realize that once Cheney takes office, he will nominate and get confirmed a VP, who would then become President should Cheney be impeached, and that all of this would have to happen in two years? Do they not realize that they cannot get Pelosi to become President through impeachment?

Clearly, they are not thinking this plan through thoroughly. What do they hope to gain other than disgracing Bush? Do they think the general public will be tolerant of an impeachment proceeding? I say bring it on. Then let them explain how they thought they could conduct circus-like impeachment hearings and the country's business at the same time in the midst of a war. I think the electorate would see it for what it really is: a political move bent on revenge rather than for the public good.

President Cheney? It has a nice ring to it. Hmmmm...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Correction Or A Crash?

After watching the Gophers get swept at home by the Fighting Sioux for the first time in twenty-six years, I wonder if it was a matter of the Gophers playing their worst hockey of the year or if the Sioux are a much better team than their record indicates. Likely a combination of both. The WCHA playoffs are going to be very interesting this year.

Rally Round The Vets

Veterans Day on the Hill:

St. Paul--Tuesday, January 30, 2007, will be Veterans Day on the Hill. At 12:30 p.m. in the State Capitol Rotunda, Minnesota veterans will be rallying to support the Military and Veterans Support Package. Governor Tim Pawlenty and legislative leaders from both the Senate and the House will be there to address veterans and their families.

"I invite Minnesota's veterans community to turnout and show their support for this veterans legislation," announced Commissioner Clark Dyrud. "It is important that while so many of our military brothers and sisters are serving in harm's way, they know that we are working hard here at home to take care of their families. It is time to stand together and make Minnesota the most veteran friendly state in the nation."

Friday, January 26, 2007

Credit Where It's Due

Louie at Befuddled on an injustice in a small town:

Last week, hubby wrote a damn nice story about a woman who saved a 5-year old little girls life. You can find that here. This woman, then known as Tia Peterson got married over the weekend and is now Tia Cunningham, had this little girl in her wedding as her flower girl. It's truly an amazing story and Pat did a great job writing it.

I was getting emails from Pat all day yesterday with updates on something that has turned a bit frustrating. We live in a very small area, many times the bigwig news papers and news stations will troll the little local newspapers for some story and basically steal the story from the reporters out here. Not uncommon but never are the kudos given to these little locals who go to great lengths to credit a source for their scoop.

The story of this woman is now going national thanks to Pat's write up of her. Pat was getting calls from Inside Edition, a magazine/company called Splash, WCCO did a story on her and no credit for how these places found this story.

Impeaching To The Choir

Will Ellison pursue impeachment? :

Ellison's appointment to the Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment, has brought applause from the president's fiercest critics. Democratic leaders have made clear they don't intend to move to impeach Bush, and critics are disappointed, hoping Ellison will provide a loud voice to ignite their lonely crusade. Pro-impeachment groups plan to press their case for impeachment when they join anti-war demonstrators for a huge rally Saturday in Washington.

"All of us are thrilled that Mr. Ellison is in Congress and is on the Judiciary Committee," said David Swanson, Washington director of ImpeachPAC. "Keith Ellison, I think it's safe to say, has gone further toward impeachment than any other member of Congress."

That's my Congressman.

Ellison, who introduced a pro-impeachment resolution in the Minnesota Legislature last year, received a $1,000 contribution from ImpeachPAC and is the group's only endorsed congressional candidate who won election in 2006.

Mikael Rudolph of Minneapolis, co-founder of a group called, wasn't aware of Ellison's appointment until he was contacted by a reporter. "That's fabulous!" he said.

Impeachment backers say that Ellison has only been on the job for three weeks and that it would be unfair to jump on him for not moving aggressively on impeachment. But Swanson said he'll be "extremely disappointed" if Ellison has done nothing after a month or two.

The natives are getting restless.

Being Green For Green

The notion that big business is in any way inclined to conservative political positions has long ago been proved false. Corporations and the CEOs who run them care about one and one thing only: profits. And they will support any political position that helps improve their firm's bottom line.

This week, the media was all aflutter when the Climate Action Partnership, a group of ten large companies, called for a cap on carbon dioxide emmissions. But, as Kimberly Strassel shows in today's Opinion Journal Potomac Watch (free for all!), it wasn't as if these corporations had suddenly seen the light on global warming:

There was a time when the financial press understood that companies exist to make money. And it happens that the cap-and-trade climate program these 10 jolly green giants are now calling for is a regulatory device designed to financially reward companies that reduce CO2 emissions, and punish those that don't.

Four of the affiliates--Duke, PG&E, FPL and PNM Resources--are utilities that have made big bets on wind, hydroelectric and nuclear power. So a Kyoto program would reward them for simply enacting their business plan, and simultaneously sock it to their competitors. Duke also owns Cinergy, which relies heavily on dirty, CO2-emitting coal plants. But Cinergy will soon have to replace those plants with cleaner equipment. Under a Kyoto, it'll get paid for its trouble.

DuPont has been plunging into biofuels, the use of which would soar under a cap. Somebody has to cobble together all these complex trading deals, so say hello to Lehman Brothers. Caterpillar has invested heavily in new engines that generate "clean energy." British Petroleum is mostly doing public penance for its dirty oil habit, but also gets a plug for its own biofuels venture.

Finally, there's General Electric, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt these days spends as much time in Washington as Connecticut. GE makes all the solar equipment and wind turbines (at $2 million a pop) that utilities would have to buy under a climate regime. GE's revenue from environmental products long ago passed the $10 billion mark, and it doesn't take much "ecomagination" to see why Mr. Immelt is leading the pack of climate profiteers.

CEOs are quick learners, and even those who would get smacked by a carbon cap are now devising ways to make warming work to their political advantage. The "most creative" prize goes to steel giant Nucor. Steven Rowlan, the company's environmental director, doesn't want carbon caps in the U.S.--oh, no. The smarter answer, he explains, would be for the U.S. to impose trade restrictions on foreign firms that aren't environmentally clean. Global warming as foil for trade protectionism: Chuck Schumer's dream.

No, they haven't seen the light. But they definitely have seen the green.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

When Will They Ever Learn?

After reading Kay Hymowitz's Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age, I have decided that as Stephane Courtois (and others) chronicled in detail the devastation wrought by Communism in The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, someone needs to similarly chronicle the destruction in our society brought about by the Baby Boomers. The negative impact that the "Sixties Generation" has had on America's bedrock institutions--government, education, churches, and yes, marriage--cannot be overstated, to say nothing of what their self-absorbed "rebellion" has done to our culture. Shared morality, relations between the sexes, child rearing, a common sense of public decency, etc. The list could (and should) go on and on. "The Black Book Of Boomerism" is my working title.

In addition to describing the damage that marriage has sustained at the hands of the "Love Generation," Hymowitz provides a concise history of marriage in the United States, pointing out how it came to take on a particularly American meaning and purpose. She also provides one of the strongest non-religiously based arguments against gay marriage, essentially saying that just because we've denigrated and demeaned the institution of marriage in the last forty years, it doesn't mean that it's time to deliver what very well could be the coup de grace. Instead of putting the patient out of its misery, she wants to revive the traditional meaning and importance of marriage because it is essential to a healthy society.

Those who carp about "two Americas" would do well to read Marriage and Caste In America to discover what the real divide is all about and why marriage is critical in changing the dynamics of poverty and dependency. You can hear Kay Hymowitz discuss her book this Saturday at noon on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. Listen locally on AM-1280 The Patriot or live on the internet stream.

JB Opines:
Didn't Scott Johnson's personal friend David Horowitz write "Destructive Generation" about the effect of the Boomers?

Btw, there should be an entire chapter in your book devoted to "Rock and Roll" and how it has become the defacto music of our culture due to the Boomers cramming classic rock down our troats for years.

They must pay for Bob Seger.

Will Blog For School

The Political Blogging Scholarship:

Do you maintain a political weblog and attend college? Would you like $2,000 to help pay for books, tuition, or other living costs? If so, read on.

We're giving away $2,000 this year to a college student who blogs about politics. Our scholarship is awarded annually.

...Report Locally

An article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal suggests that the future for local newspapers may involve staying close to home (sub req):

The Boston Globe said it would close all three of its remaining overseas bureaus, reflecting a painful issue for larger metropolitan papers: In the presence of steep budget cuts, do they get out of international and national coverage and focus relentlessly on their local markets?

Advertisers think they should, and so do some of the people interested in buying those papers. They see a world with wire services like the Associated Press and a tier of national papers like The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post providing national and foreign news.

To me, this is the only way that most newspapers will survive and even possibly thrive. Do what no one else is doing.

The high cost of supporting a reporting infrastructure overseas isn't the only issue. Cable news networks and the Internet flash news and photos from around the world instantaneously nowadays; local coverage is less vulnerable to these threats. Moreover, with so many other options for receiving news, readers don't necessarily expect their local paper to be their source for international coverage anymore. Similarly, advertisers are more attracted by local coverage; metro papers have had trouble attracting much national advertising amid competition from television and the Internet. Although papers are taking steps to correct this in their online ventures, many analysts feel that the future of newspaper advertising for these papers is to tap more deeply into their own markets, where big local papers can dominate.

Does the Star Tribune really need to have reporters in Iraq? No. But they can cover the crime scene in Minneapolis like no one else. At least they could if they wanted to. Or how about the locally based "flying imams" story, which received short shrift from the Strib?

Cover the stuff in your backyard in depth and leave the national and international beats to the big boys. Sure, that might mean passing up some glamour stories and Pulitizer opportunities, but it isn't as if finding space in the trophy case at 425 Portland Avenue is a big issue right now.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

In Favor Of Cloning

While swilling a couple of beers as part of my post-hockey cooldown tonight, I happened to come across Charlie Rose interviewing John Burns from the New York Times. If the "new" media could benefit from having a hundred more Michael Yons, the MSM (and the public) would be well-served if there were a hundred more reporters in Iraq with the experience, insight, and intelligence of John Burns. Putting it simply, he gets it in a way that very few of his fellow reporters do.

Shiftless Men On Idol

For the record, I have always loathed the show American Idol. The talentless and deluded wannabees that everyone enjoys mocking in the first few episodes cause me distress on a multitude of levels. The elimination rounds that follow are excruciatingly interminable. The final rounds are equally excruciating and conclude with a marginally talented victor who eventually produces an insipid CD for which my wife will spend a lot of money that would have been better spent supporting my ever increasing appetite for Bombay Sapphire.

That said, I have actually watched the last few episodes of American Idol. It's not because I wanted to, mind you. It's because, to paraphrase our man in Inglewood, my wife's an American Idol watcher...which more or less makes me an American Idol watcher.

To my credit, I'm usually watching with the latest copy of Modern Drunkard between my face and the TV, but I'm always ready with a "That's nice, Honey" or a "Yeah...I think he's a winner" whenever I think such a comment is warranted.

One thing I have noticed while being subjected to this God awful tripe over the past few weeks is that at every audition venue so far, the contestants have had trouble exiting the audition room. Specifically, those trying to exit through the left-hand side of paired doors have consistently been met with enough resistance to leave them utterly flummoxed in front of the judges who are delighted to point out the defeated fool's folly.

You can see evidence from the Minneapolis auditions here (with an admittedly humorous jab at W at the end).

Accusations that the American Idol staff were being intentionally cruel to obviously challenged contestants were met with responses like this:
If there's no deliberate cruelty on Idol, why in two days of Seattle did no one unlock the left door?

"It was stuck," (American Idol host Ryan) Seacrest said.

"It ended up being the funniest thing because it wasn't planned," (A.I. judge Paula) Abdul said.

"I went and hit it myself," (A.I. judge Randy) Jackson said. "Like, dude, come on, what's going on with this door?"
Then there's this picture I took from tonight's televised auditions in New Jersey:

If you look closely at the bottom of the door on the right, you can see three shims shoved under the door. If that picture's not clear enough, have a look at this one:

And this one:

"Like, dude, come on, what's going on with this door?"

To answer your question, Randy, it has been wedged shut by a bunch of sadistic producers who want to make laughingstocks out of well meaning but 100% talent free losers with nothing better to do than spend countless irretrievable hours pursuing an obviously pathetic pipe dream only to fail in front of millions of television viewers world wide and have their last moment of fleeting fame be spent struggling with an intentionally inoperable door.

Kudos, Fox. You may have made an American Idol watcher out of me after all.

Acronym SAB?




I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'...

Much More Than Weekend Warriors

Cary e-mails to point out an instance of a Minnesota National Guard in Iraq unit receiving some of the highest praise possible:

Michael Yon (who you list under Center of Gravity) has another excellent post from Iraq. Yon is tagging along with Command Sergeant Major Mellinger, the Army's senior enlisted man in Iraq, as Mellinger visits various units in Anbar province. Yon has a section describing Mellinger's visit with Minnesota National Guard troops, and the unprecedented high praise Mellinger and his Marine counterparts gave the Minnesota troops.

Here's the excerpt that Carey refers to from Yon's post called "Walking the Line 2007" (you definitely want to read it all):

We met up with members of the Minnesota National Guard during one of the stops on the patrol. I don't know what the Minnesota soldiers were eating for breakfast, but the first thing that Marine Sergeant Major O'Connell said about the Minnesota National Guard was something to the effect that this was the best bunch he'd ever seen. I had to clear my ears and ask him to repeat that. I seemed to have had an auditory hallucination, because high praise coming from a Marine Sergeant Major in Anbar province, who knows what competent troops are, just didn't seem right when it was heaped on the Army. When I asked for clarification, Sergeant Major O'Connell not only stood by it, but he started listing the reasons why this particular Minnesota National Guard unit deserves special recognition.

Any notion that a Marine Sergeant Major was giving the unit high praise as a gesture of respect for an Army colleague was quickly disabused by Mellinger when he added that Sergeant Major Howard, the top enlisted Marine in Iraq, had also extended congratulations. Mellinger said he was going to contact the CSM of the National Guard to make sure it was known how highly regarded these soldiers are by the people who have come to rely upon their effectiveness in one of the most dangerous outposts in the world. The Minnesota soldiers stood there so quietly that CSM Mellinger must have thought they didn't believe him. With characteristic bluntness, Mellinger assured them of the veracity of the praise he was relaying, by saying something like, "I'm too old to blow smoke." Mellinger affirmed that this was honestly the highest congratulations he could confer. In my experience of having seen CSM Mellinger interface with, say, fifty different units during the month total I've spent with him, be they Marines, soldiers, sailors, Special Forces or Air Force, I have never seen him give an endorsement like the one he extended to the Minnesota National Guard. If the citizens of Minnesota should be faced with some calamity, I'd say the Governor can rest assured that the state has an able posse.

A Marine praising Army troops? It doesn't get any better.

Cary's goes on to add:

The Minnesota unit in Iraq is the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (1/34 BCT). If I am not mistaken, it is the only Army National Guard Combat Brigade deployed in Iraq. From what I can tell the 1/34 BCT has drawn some very tough missions in Anbar province, working closely with Marine units. It has suffered significant causalities while in Iraq. This unit just had its tour extended several months to July 07. These soldiers (and their families) are heroes. It would be nice if more people knew what an outstanding job they are doing, and how highly they are regarded by their active component peers. I doubt the MSM would pick up on Yon's piece or understand the significance of CSM Mellinger's praise.

We join with Carey in saluting the brave men and women of the 1/34 BCT and again thank Michael Yon for his all-too-rare and much-needed type of reporting from Iraq.


Cross country skiers look like the walking dead.

In slow motion.

Is there a dorkier looking activity you can perform in public?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Speaking Volumes

As a reminder, the Atomizer will be live blogging the State of the Union Speech tonight, right here at Fraters Libertas from 8:00 - 9:00 CST.

If there are no posts put up during this time, do not be concerned. He will be here, it just means he has nothing to add.

The Elder Adds: 8:10pm and still nuthin' from A-Dog? Oh that's right, he has to watch his stories tonight.

The Elder Updates: Nice closeup with Michele Bachmann on Fox as Bush leaves the chamber.

The Elder Updates II: How about an SOTU SAB?

Flickering their eyes next to the President, Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi and...

...flicking their tongues at flies, the Tijuana Toads, Toro and Poncho?

...Of Nothing

* For those who like to carp that "we can't keep building more roads," I suggest a couple of drives.

The I-470 Toll way in Colorado from Boulder to the Denver Airport. Yes, it's out in the country and not an instance of roads as a solution to urban congestion, but it is a fine example of building roads in anticipation of increased traffic rather than as a reaction to it. And damn if it isn't a pleasant, wide-open (other than a couple of toll stops) run. I for one am always happy to pay more for a better drive when I'm in the area.

Highway 100 northbound through St. Louis Park. I drive this route nearly ever day and I can say without exaggeration that the project to add one lane (one measly lane!) to northbound HWY 100 has had more impact on traffic in the metro area than any other I can think of. I quit even trying to take HWY 100 home from work between 4pm-7pm because of the congestion that used to start around 50th and extended to 394. Now, with the third lane, the same stretch during the same time is almost always a smooth sail. Thank you DOT. Now, about that Cross-town...

* If you're flying on a clear, sunny day and don't get just a little bit awestruck when you look out the window as you come in on approach, you may as well suck the gas pipe now, because you have no soul. And I don't care how much of a cynical road warrior you consider yourself, how many frequent flier miles you have, or how times in a row you've been upgraded (for the record, I was two for two on my last trip). I know that those pie charts in USA Today can be riveting, but you might want to take a moment and detach yourself from your "too busy" or "too cool" to care attitude and witness the wonder of the world from on high.

* If you're looking for a sure fire way to shut down the conspiracy nut jobs in your family (admit it-every family has 'em), Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts covers the bases as far as 9/11 goes. It's been added (along with a number of other fine tomes) to our recommended reading list. However, you'll have to look elsewhere to take on your uncle who thinks the Queen of England is behind the plot to bring crack to American ghettos.

* Last but not least, is there a more ridiculous rule in the NFL than the "forced out of bounds" BS that we once again witnessed during Sunday's Pats-Colts game? It puts the officials in the impossible position of trying to decide what would have happened had the receiver not been pushed out of bounds and puts the defenders in the awkward position of being punished for play that otherwise is legal. If a running back tries to go "over the top" at the goal line and is stopped cold by a linebacker we don't say that "he would have scored" if he hadn't been hit. So why give receivers such a woulda, coulda benefit? If a receiver is trying get his two feet in and a defensive back pushes him out, it should be called good defense and nothing more.

I Take It All Back!

In the past, I have disparaged the value of the often dry-as-toast Claremont Review of Books. I have called it boring, pompous, obtuse, arcane, boring, windy and boring (Fletch: I'll have a bloody mary, a steak sandwich and a steak sandwich).

And that held true for many an issue (I still get it but I don't know why, somehow I'm sure my inherent laziness is at play) until the Winter issue I just received. At the very end of the publication, Mark Helprin smacked me square in the gob with a piece called The Literary Tenor of the Times. It's not avail on-line so you'll just have to trust that this is what he wrote:

One seldom encounters pure nihilism, for just as anarchists are usually very well-organized, most of what passes for nihilism is a compromise with advocacy. Present literary forms may spurn the individual, emotion, beauty, sacrifice, love and truth, but they energetically embrace the collective, coldness of feeling, ugliness, self-assertion, contempt and disbelief.

And why? Simply because the acolytes of modernism are terribly and justly afraid. They fear if they do not display their cynicism they will be taken for fools. They fear that if they commit to and uphold something outside the puppet channels of orthodoxy they will be mocked, that if they are open they will be attacked, that if they appreciate that which is simple and good they will have overlooked its occult corruptions, that if they stand they will be struck down, that if they love they will lose, and they if they live they will die.

As surely they will. And others of their fears are legitimate as well, so they withdraw from engagement and risk into what they believe is the safety of cynicism and mockery. The sum of their engagement is to show that they are disengaged, and they have built an elaborate edifice, which now casts a shadow over every facet of civilization, for the purpose of representing their cowardice as wisdom. Mainly to protect themselves, they write coldly, cruelly and as if nothing matters.

Now he was talking about writers, but it rings brightly as a perfect description of the modern urban socialist as well.

You've almost redeemed yourself CROB, keep it up.

Banned in the USA

The force-feeding of Al Gore into the youth may be a done deal in Scotland. But there is still one place where they can take our lives, but they can't take our freedom (to not see "An Inconvenient Truth"). That would be the ironically named Federal Way, Washington.

The movie - An Inconvenient Truth - will not be shown in Federal Way schools until further notice, the school board decided last week.

Due to several inquiries from concerned parents, the board opted to prevent the film being shown at schools until further review. At least one middle school had to cancel a viewing scheduled for last week.

The concern, said school board vice president Dave Larson, was that the film offered no opposing viewpoints. Some of the views expressed in the film regarding global warming are controversial, Larson said.

The extreme views expressed in "An Inconvenient Truth" aren't necessarily banned from the classroom, but it is important to also teach opposing viewpoints, Larson said. In fact, extreme views and their opposition are encouraged in classrooms, as they often inspire thought among students, he said. "It's the marketplace of ideas that make our country great," he said.

Hard to argue with that. Keeping a rabid political partisan's advocacy movie out of the public schools seems like common sense. I'm sure they can find something to spend that time on instead. Maybe something that would actually contribute to improving basic competencies, test scores, graduation rates?

But so far this little school district in Washington is the only one known to have taken this eminently reasonable stance. And such insubordination will not be tolerated. The pressure on the schools to show this movie, as science, is immense, as shown by such experts as comedian Larry David's wife:

The film's co-producer, self-described "global warming activist" Laurie David, did not hide her vexation over the decision. "I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision. There is no opposing view to science which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now," she said from Los Angeles.

You will be assimilated, resistance is futile!

Thankfully, a Scotland-like systematic indoctrination was narrowly averted, right here in the USA, at least for now:

In December, the National Science Teachers Association declined Mrs. David's offer to distribute the film for free to 50,000 classrooms; she responded with a Washington Post op-ed accusing the organization of taking donations from Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell and the American Petroleum Institute. "It's bad enough when a company tries to peddle junk science to a bunch of grown-ups. But, like a tobacco company using cartoons to peddle cigarettes, Exxon Mobil is going after our kids, too," Mrs. David wrote.

Who's peddling the cartoon camel here? The ones creating a slick Hollywood production and trying to smuggle it in the backdoor of the schools or the people opposing it?

And it's not like the children won't have a chance to see this movie if they're not forced to at school. Even in Federal Way, WA, when one branch of the government uses common sense restraint, there's another branch of the government ready to rush in and fill the breach:

The Federal Way Regional Library will host a free public screening of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 21 at 34200 First Way S.

For at least trying to do the right thing, I hope the folks in Washington state haven't made themselves a target. Ominously, I see Al Gore has recrossed the Atlantic and is headed due West, right at little Federal Way. From last night, in a neighboring state:

Boise, Idaho -- A sold-out crowd filled the Taco Bell Arena Monday night to hear former Vice President Al Gore speak about global warming.

He says confronting the threat of global warming is a moral issue, not a political one, and that we need to all work together to protect our environment.

Al Gore appearing at Taco Bell Arena. It invokes the same kind of excitement and reverence as Walter Mondale speaking at Cheez Whiz Field. Or Josh Grobin in concert at Dunkin' Donuts Center.

OK, that last one is actually happening.

The Usual Suspects

Franken looking to academics for help with issues:

Al Franken is asking academics to help him with policy issues as he gears up for a possible Senate campaign against Republican Norm Coleman, R-Minn.

Last week, Professor Sally Kenney, who directs the Center on Women and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, e-mailed faculty and staff to say Franken "has asked me to put together a Minnesota team Franken."

"We would offer some substantive policy expertise, some knowledge of who does what where at the U and in local non-profits, and most importantly, the ability to find out quickly through research things we do not know," she wrote.

Oh the things that you don't know.

"I think it will be loads of fun and a great learning experience for those interested in honing their public policy skills and learning more about political campaigns."

And more importantly, helping a Democrat get elected.

Of course no local political story is complete without a reference to the two guys who seem to always turn up in these cases:

Kenney's e-mail was posted Monday by a Republican blogger, Michael Brodkorb, who called it an abuse of taxpayer resources. Larry Jacobs, director of the Institute's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, said he told Brodkorb it was "regretful" that Kenney used a university resource for political work.

Yes, a shame that. But not to worry:

Jacobs said he'd been reassured by Kenney that she would keep her political and university work separate.

Move along, nothing to see here.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Grand Met

King points us to a great site that documents the history of Metropolitan Stadium. The pictures alone are worth a visit.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Greet Day For Hockey

Hockey Day Minnesota:

Get your morning skate in early the morning of Saturday, January 20, 2007. Beginning at noon, you've got a date with your couch and television set for the rest of the day.

The Minnesota Wild and FSN North have proclaimed January 20 as "Hockey Day Minnesota," and 11 consecutive hours of hockey will be shown, highlighting the game from peewees to the pros. Three games at three different levels ? St. Paul Johnson high school at Lake of the Woods high school at 1:00 PM, Denver University at the University of Minnesota at 5:30 PM and the Dallas Stars at the Minnesota Wild at 8:00 PM ? will highlight the day.

Throw in the pond hockey tourney and Lake Nokomis and it don't get any better.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Al Gore vs. The Martians

Now that he's conquered the hearts and minds of Leonardo DiCaprio and the Weather Channel, Al Gore moves across the ocean to assimilate other cultures:

A film made by former US Vice President Al Gore on climate change will be shown in every Scottish secondary school. Starting in August, every fourth and sixth-year pupil in the country will get the chance to see An Inconvenient Truth, Mr Gore's stark warning on the future of the planet.

The announcement was made yesterday as Mr Gore attended a conference in Glasgow along with former United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix. Ross Finnie, Scotland's Environment Minister, said he had been inspired by the film's "powerful message" and thought the nation's young people would be too.

Back in my school days, we used to look forward to movie days. Leave it to Al Gore to ruin even that revered institution.

I'm sure the government mandating that all children watch a piece of approved propaganda puts a touch of warming in the heart of all liberals. Why can't we be more like the Europeans?

But these presentations are going to happen in the schools - institutions of learning. Where debate and skeptical inquiry will be a part of the process. As a learning exercise, I'm sure other perspectives will be thoughtfully considered. Right, Environment Minister Finnie, sir?

"I am very clear that climate change is with us and is a real problem and that there is scientific backing to that. Anybody who has observed the pattern of this year's winter and who thinks that nothing is happening has got to be on planet Mars."

Okay, then.

Who am I to argue with a government official? Especially one projecting catastrophic, global climate change based on the weather patterns of one-half of one season? But, I suspect the Martians don't have time to give their testimony about Earth's climate, given the latest developments back on the Red Planet:

Mars is undergoing global warming that could profoundly change the planet's climate in a few thousand years, new data suggests.

I can only hope Al Gore's rocket ship is scheduled to land soon to save the day.

"Is Anybody Dying In There?"

By now you've probably all heard about the radio fools who held the "Wee for Wii" contest where a woman actually died from water intoxication.

The NARN boys have been known to do some pretty damn stupid things--that time they had Mitch read the Eagan phone book to kill an hour comes to mind--but this contest was one for the ages.

Here's the audio, including interviews with the woman who ended up dying.

A few of my favorite quotes: "Maybe we should have researched this" and "We made them sign releases!"

Little Fish, Big Pond

Tomorrow, the 2007 U.S. Pond Hockey Championships kick off at Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. The event was moved from Lake Calhoun after the most recent bout of unstoppable global warming made the lake's ice unreliable. We must ACT NOW! before another winter event is forced to relocate. What about the children?

I will be playing in said tourney (although not until Saturday) along with a few other names from team rosters that you may recognize from their days as big men on campus:

-Jesse Bull

-Garrett Smaagaard

-Josh DeWolf

-Ryan Trebil

-Justin McHugh

-Bryan Bonin

-Peter Armbrust

-Matt Henderson

-Erik and Krissy Wendell (playing on the same team of course)

Then we have some teams that appear well-stocked.

First, playing on a team called "Johnny Upton & Associates":

-Nick Checco
-Mike Crowley
-Brian LaFleur
-David Paradise

Then, another team named "Tail Gators" loaded with:

-Brett Abrahamson
-Daniel Hendrickson
-Eric Pagel
-David Spehar

"Team Bullet" boasts:

-Dan Trebil
-Bob Dustin
-Charlie Wasley
-Greg Zwakman

And finally "Team Duluth" with:

-Dylan Mills
-Ryan Coole
-Stu Senden

Last but not least the political:

- Playing for the alleged "A lot better last year" team, 2002 candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State, Buck Humphrey

Game on.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Even Though I Don't Watch "24"...

...I gotta like this.

It's Hard Out There for a Baby

Relating to my Children of Men comments yesterday, Doug Williams identifies another influence conspiring against human procreation, the cult of environmentalism. He links to an excellent article by Julian Simon about the state of humanity improving along with economic growth.

Behind the Goggles

Never let it be said I am above beating a dead ten month old blog post for all that it's worth.

Regarding my comments yesterday about the Movie Maven, Minnesota Public Radio's critic, and her interpretation of United 93 as an "indictment of the government" I noticed in her original post she responded to the criticism of her lone commenter (no, it wasn't me) who asked "What planet do you live on?" as follows:

I live on the planet where a movie showing the FAA and the military not knowing how to deal with a hijacking, not having a way to even communicate with one another, not knowing what the chain of command should be and learning about a plane hitting the WTC on CNN is an indictment of how well the government works.

For those who haven't seen the movie, "the government" was portrayed as the people staring at thousands of little dots darting around a radar screen and trying to figure out which, if any, might have been taken over by lunatics intent on crashing them into buildings. This unprecedented problem was made more difficult by the fact that engraved invitations identifying the flight numbers and scheduled routes weren't forwarded in advance by the hijackers. And even if "the government" could figure out which planes were hijacked, they had to know what to do to fix the problem. And, no pressure, but no matter what the decision, scores of innocents are likely to perish. BTW, that decision needed to be made IMMEDIATELY.

A rather daunting assignment. But their failure to instantaneously do exactly the right thing is an indictable offense, according to the Movie Maven. If only the all-knowing, all-powerful government would have reacted better, everything would have all been all right. A more concise definition of the liberal mindset would be hard to find.

If malpractice were an indictable offense for all government employees, our tax-subsidized movie reviewer would be doing ten to life.


Did you know there is such a thing as cat AIDS? It's all true, as SP likes to say.

Read all about it.

Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes an infectious disease in domestic cats and cheetahs similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection) in humans. The virus attacks and weakens the body?s immune system, making the animal susceptible to infections and diseases that don't affect healthy cats.

There is no cure for FIV. FIV is a lentivirus, a virus that causes slowly developing disease. Although the disease is eventually fatal, an FIV-positive cat can live for many years without any signs of illness.

More proof that God hates cats.

As Just Overheard

Anyone caught using the phrase "Long time no-see" should be immediately killed with the same casual indifference we show the unborn.

That is all.

Colorado Goes Green

Yesterday's "WTF? moment occurred as I was driving in Longmont, Colorado and pulled up behind a car at an intersection. It sported Colorado plates and, in addition to some Kerry-Edwards signage left over from the aught-four campaign, it also had the all too familiar green bumper sticker: Wellstone!

Is there no escape from the cult of Wellstone?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When Fact Is Fiction And TV Is Reality

Am I the only one in America more concerned with what happens tonight on Top Chef than the latest adventures in a day in the life of Jack Bauer? Just asking. For the record, I have never watched an episode of "24" and have no plans to do so anytime in the near future. The implausible plot set-up behind "24" remind me nothing more than the insipid "Speed" movies with slightly better acting.

Atomizer Sez:
Elder...perhaps you should watch 24 once or twice before you dismiss it out of hand. I'm quite curious as to how you're so certain about the "implausible plot set-up" without ever having seen an episode.

As a 24 addict since Day One, I can tell you that the plot has a tendency to morph into unrecognizable shapes on a weekly basis...that's what makes it so compelling.

But, Chad, by all means, continue to watch your amusingly clever little "reality" cooking shows. At the very least though, try to spend a minute or two each week watching shows that feature actual men. If you get scared, you can always turn the channel.

The Elder Moons For Rebuttal: Nice "try walking a mile in my shoes first" argument Atomizer. Do I have to try heroin once or twice before judging it too? In regards to your reality based community claim about "24", if you think anything about the show is in the least bit plausible, than it's high time for an intervention to stop your dangerous addiction. Are you free next Tuesday?

Atomizer Sez:
It ain't a "try walking a mile in my shoes first" argument. It's a simple request that you actually watch a show before you tell everybody that it sucks. Your dismissal of 24 is tantamount to saying that pumpkin pie tastes like sewer rat without ever having eaten a slice in your life.

Furthermore, I never said the show was is not. If it were, we'd be watching 24 hours of Homeland Security meetings and government drones typing FBI memos each season. No, 24 is not realistic, but it is an exciting, well-written and superbly acted drama...and that's what I want out of my TV.

Now go and watch The Food Channel. I hear they're doing a two hour special on pumpkin pie tonight.

The Elder Has The Final Word: Are you saying the Top Chefs aren't manly? You better watch your tongue boy or Marcel will open a can of whup ass on you. A delicious can with an inventive presentation of course.

You might to check up on the meaning of this word too.

Where "Journalism" And Bad TV Writing Meet

I swear, half the times I sit down to read a columnist who has written a slice-of-life-to-prove-a-bigger-point piece I end up crying BULL-EFFIN'-S#*&! within five minutes.

The latest crock comes courtesy of the UK Telegraph (hat tip Vox) in an article called From Trophy Wife To Toxic Wife.

The supposed new trend is the trophy wife who turns into a lazy, selfish, shrewish super-bitch who will not do a shred of work around the house. There's basically no way to prove that this is an actual societal trend or just something the author dreamed up in a brainstorming session at Starbucks, so anecdotal evidence is presented to prove the case.

And in this case, the anecdotal evidence is clearly made up. It actually reads like a discarded script from Desperate Housewives:

The other day I nervously accepted an invitation for lunch with an old school friend. I felt daunted because, several years ago, she married a rich banker and I'd been dumped from her circle....

She led me into her kitchen, three times the size of my flat, and slid open a drawer. "How shoddy is that?" She was holding up a fork.

"What's wrong with it?" I asked, peering at it politely.

"Just look! It has a disgusting piece of encrusted mashed potato on it. I mean, it's so shoddy! She can't even unload a dishwasher. I'm really going to have to sack her. And guess what else I discovered this morning? When I opened the towel cupboard after my bath, I noticed that she'd stacked the pink towels amongst the white ones. Can you believe it?"

What made this conversation so scary was the fact that the terrified Filipina was in the room with us, hunched over a table slicing up bits of duck and foie gras for our lunch. "Juanita!" snapped Olivia. "This is your last chance. Do you understand me? You'll be back in Manila within the week? I couldn't possibly recommend you to anyone. Understand?"

"Yes Madam," she sniffed with a tremulous sob.

"And stop dripping your revolting bodily fluids over our lunch. Throw that away and start again. "

Horrified by her manner and the distressing scene, I asked her for a tour of her home. She had just moved into one of those massive houses in Chelsea Square. Rich folk tolerate people like me (ie, broke ones) only because we make them feel better about themselves.

"Would love to, darling," she drawled, "but first how about a drinkie-poo? Juanita! Open the champagne chilling in the wine fridge and bring it upstairs to the south drawing-room."

"Yes Madam," replied the poor slave.

Is there anyone on earth who thinks the above conversations actually took place? That they weren't invented to perfectly fit with the made-up trend?


Prayers for the Assassin

One of the best movies of 2006 was United 93, the account of what might have happened aboard the fourth plane hijacked by the Muslims on 9/11 and driven into the ground in Pennsylvania. The story of the average Americans ambushed and ruthlessly attacked that day, coming to terms with the reality of the situation and fighting back, ultimately succeeding in preventing a larger catastrophe was riveting and jarring and inspirational and beautiful.

Perhaps the only movie I saw in 2006 that was better was Children of Men. I saw it a few weeks ago and was knocked out by it. The 91% positive rating at Rotten Tomatoes shows I'm not alone in my admiration. But even when people agree, it always amazes me the different things people take away from movies. For example, take Minnesota Public Radio's reviewer (please), who interpreted the meaning of the film as:

.... if there's a great movie about the alienation of modern life and xenophobia paralyzing the world, it's not Babel. It's Children of Men.

Remember, this is the same reviewer who extolled the greatness of United 93 because:

Greengrass' movie is an indictment of how the government reacted to the hijackings that day and how a small group of people just like you and me made a decision to take control of a plane.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the reviewer getting it exactly wrong happens to be the one paid for by our tax dollars. At least she does consistently provide the service of revealing the truth as seen through the thick lenses of liberal, politically correct goggles.

Far from a message about alienation and xenophobia, though my goggles, Children of Men is the most powerful pro life message I've seen in any mass media vehicle.

The context of Children of Men is science fiction, a world where the human race can no longer procreate and the resulting collapse of society. The impact of this scenario was enhanced by the Mark Steyn commentary I had been reading before hand, through his recent book and related columns. As he documents, the real world is full of societies systematically, by choice, eliminating its children. All European countries are below the replacement fertility rate of 2.1. In Mother Russia, abortions outnumber births by a ratio of 2-to-1. Even here in the God-fearin', allegedly theocracy-leaning USA, around a million abortions per year.

The reasons are varied, but, especially in this country, it is the teaching of modern secular society that children are an expensive burden and an impediment to the good life, which consists of acquiring material possessions and indulging any personal whim you may summon. What's extraordinary about Children of Men is its reminding us that for the good life, for any life, children are all that matter.

To be clear, this movie is not some sort of conservative retribution fantasy. The state was depicted as fascist and murderous. Organized religion is casually dismissed. The heroes are hippy dopers and anti war radicals. The most sympathetic victims are illegal immigrants. (BTW, one effect of this movie was a forced reconsideration of my beliefs on how illegals should be treated in our country. The human value of a baby is present every bit as much in all people, including illegals. Guess what, the Catholic Church has it right again).

But the point of this movie, the importance of human life, cannot be missed (except maybe by MPR reviewers).

It is a terrific movie in a conventional sense too. Action, suspense, and one of the most thrilling, terrifying combat scenes I've ever seen. As this climactic scene unfolded to its beautiful crescendo, I kept thinking how perfect it was. One of the many layers of enjoyment in this movie is watching someone get 100% of the potential out of a scene and this director does it repeatedly. Alfonso Cuaron, you magnificent bastard director, you nailed it!

But especially in this climactic scene centering on a baby and the reactions to all around it, all of the noise and misdirection surrounding the abortion movement seemed quieted. The fog of feminist ideology, libertarian sophistry, the worship of reason, the most base human instincts. It all could be lifted with a simple truth. One so obvious, so intuitive. Each child is irreplaceable, sacred, and vital for our survival and happiness. By killing it, you are killing yourself. Stop.

Amid the tears being shed all around me at the theater, it brought hope that the scales could fall from the eyes of all the desperate, deceived people marching along, and recruiting others, to their mutual destruction. They would recognize the truth and they would stop. It could be that easy.

A few weeks out now since the movie's release and so far no sign of mass repentance. Turns out, one movie alone is not going to accomplish this change of national heart and will (especially with its box office gross so far and dearth of any significant award recognition). We have been reminded before we're going to need a little help this one. After that, it's going to have to be done the old fashioned way (cue Smith Barney commercial). Think, pray, see this movie, live right, work for change, get married, have more kids, etc., etc.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama Is Everywhere

Fresh off of JB Doubtless's Separated at Birth yesterday, I see Barak Obama has been linked to yet another heinous local crime. The crack video producer's at KMSP Channel 9 provide the details.

Pitchers And Catchers Report

Last night, Hugh Hewitt, the talk radio bastion of objective and unbiased political analysis, once again interviewed threw batting practice to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. You can read the transcript here if you wish. Here's my pitch by pitch recap.

- Softball

- Softball

- Unbelievable softball about Romney's fundraising

- Softball and a plug for Romney's website

- A bit tougher question on the war in Iraq

- And then Hugh plays a clip from McCain on Iran's involvement in Iraq and serves up a meatball for Romney by asking, "Do you agree with Senator McCain?" Geez Hugh, were you afraid that if you didn't set it up on a tee Romney might whiff on it? Why not ask him straight out what he thinks about Iran and Iraq instead?

Listeners who weren't aware of his previous assurances might actually be lead to believe that Hugh has an early favorite in the 2008 race.

The next time that he has Governor Romney on for another hard-hitting interview, I half expect him to open with this:

"Governor Romney: your campaign seems to have the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why are you so popular?"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Separated At Birth?

Trent writes in to contribute the following SAB:

Barack Obama....


Suspect Sketch Number 2:

You know Obama-o-rama mania has gone too far when even police sketch artists have his mug first and foremost in their heads.

George (after Jerry and Kramer saw his girlfriend topless and he was attempting to find out how good a look they got): if you had to describe her to a police sketch artist...

Jerry: they'd pick her up in about ten minutes

Spirits That Americans Shouldn't Do

Reading Eric Felten's piece on The Malts of America in Saturday's Wall Street Journal, I was left with one question:

Vodka is fast, but whiskey takes time -- and, as old Ben once sagely observed, time is money. The biggest challenge for the small craft distillers tackling whiskey may not be in making a drinkable spirit, but in finding the cash needed to keep it in barrels for the years it takes to mature.

"I remember sitting down with my wife and saying, 'We'll spend $60- or $70,000 and after 10 years we might start getting some of it back,'" says Richard Pelletier, who owns the Nashoba Valley Winery in Bolton, Mass. "At least the kids are young," he joked with his wife, "so at the very least, years from now we can have an open bar at their weddings." The first barrels of Nashoba single-malt whiskey were distilled in 2001 and are still aging. Mr. Pelletier keeps the oldest barrel in his living room, where he can easily steal tastes and keep tabs on its progress.

Nantucket Spirits, which has been sailing along with sales of its Triple Eight Vodka, also has a Scotch-style single malt in dunnage. Called "Notch" (for "Not Scotch"), the whiskey was first distilled in 2000 and may finally get released later this year. Nantucket Spirits financed its whiskey experiment by selling cask futures -- a cash-flow technique that Scottish start-ups have been using as well. New American single-malt whiskeys are also in the works at Oregon's House Spirits and Ohio's Woodstone Creek Spirits.

Why? Why American Scotch? Are there not more than enough fine Scotches coming out of Scotland already? Doesn't America already have its own proud and distinct whiskey tradition?

Every region, nee every community should have breweries that produce unique beers with a touch of local flavor. And the expansion of wine-making to new areas of the globe in recent years should be celebrated. But when it comes to spirits, especially spirits so tied to a country such as Scotch, it would be better to leave good enough alone.

Leave the Tequila-making to Mexico. Leave the gin to the Brits. The cognac to the French (and Armenians). Most of all, leave the Scotch to the Scots.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

January 13th NARN Podcast: Interview With Vox Day

In the second hour of yesterday's NARN show, we interviewed the always interesting Vox Day. You can listen to the interview here along with our regular This Week In Gatekeeping segment at the end of the hour.

Again With The Racism?

Here is how you deal with leftist windbags accusing you of "racism".

Learn from the master.

Btw, for those of you lily-livered conservatives who don't like to make waves and like to portray yourself as not being one of "those" conservs--you may want to skip the link.

NARN I January 13th Podcast First Hour

Here's the file for the first hour, when we discussed the President's "new way forward in Iraq" and the reaction to it.

NARN Loon Of The Week

Oregon Congressman David Wu boldly goes where no politician has before.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dry Spell?

College hockey: Minnesota 1, Wisconsin 0

It was nice to see the Gophers back bounce and avoid the sweep against Bucky tonight, but is anyone else a little concerned that they've only scored one goal in each of their last three games (two of which they have won)?

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Vox And The Grapes

Be sure to tune in to Volume Uno (11am-1pm) of the Northern Alliance Radio Network tomorrow when we'll welcome Christian libertarian and honorary member of the He Man Woman Haters Club, Vox Day, back to the show. He'll join us in the second hour for another exclusive radio appearance.

Listen locally on WWTC AM1280 The Patriot or live on the internet stream.

Gimme An "M"

You would think that when two of the possible 2008 GOP presidential contenders get together and pen an opinion piece about stabilizing Iraq in the Wall Street Journal it would attract the attention of people who analyze such matters for a living on a daily basis. And yet today's column by Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich (available for all) merits nary a mention from Hugh "I Have No Horse In This Race" Hewitt. We know that Hugh has been perusing today's edition of The Journal since he has posts up linking to two different articles from said paper. But nothing on the Giuliani/Gingrich collaboration. Funny that.

Check Me Out!

Hot off the presses at the City Pages comes breaking news from Kevin Murphy that (gasp) hoppy beer tastes good:

I remember the day I became a hop-head. Just November last, my job as a professional heckler had brought me to San Diego. I was with my old colleague Mike, and, at the moment we were done with a particularly tough day in the studio, he pounded his fist on the table and pleaded, "Why isn't beer coursing down our throats at this very moment?"

We drove to a strip-mall smack in the heart of a keenly Asian community, where sits a square pub called O'Brien's. Decorated like a foreclosure, with chunky swivel chairs stolen from a mid-seventies Radisson lobby, O'Brien's Dri Mark bill of fare offered at least two dozen drafts I'd never heard of. Beers with taunting names like Ruination, Double Bastard, Decadence. At the advice of Mike's young charge Conor I ordered a Pliny the Elder?an Imperial Ale, I was told. An icy honey-colored pint was delivered picture-perfect, and I took a lusty swig.

"You might want to sip it," Conor said, but too late, my head was attacked from the inside by a combination of aromas and flavors I'd never known to emanate from beer. Grapefruit, skin and all, my tongue shouted at me, while my nose hollered Who hit me with the sack of pinecones? Who's burning the incense and stuffing artichokes in my nostrils? My soft palate actually puckered and yeast filled the brain pan the way it does with champagne of a certain quality I can never afford. As I drank, sipping now, the room became brighter, as if it had a sunroof, and I felt an ease, a joviality normally reserved for Hobbits, massaging my soul.

"It's the hops," my friends explained, and I was undone, smitten with the kind of fibrillating trill I once felt back-rubbing the women in my theater classes. I was, and am, a hop-head.

I returned to Minnesota and told my few ale-crazy friends where I'd been and what I'd done, and they smacked their foreheads in incredulity. "You went where? You tasted what?!" Without knowing it I'd fairly stumbled on one of the nation's nexuses of world-class American brewing; people who know such things melt at its mention. Never one to think that any state has anything over Minnesota, particularly not California, I determined to find that flavor, that perfectly distinctive buzz, among the growing brace of very proud local brewers. A quest for hops began.

Cursory research revealed that the Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery has for years turned out an array of beers with luxurious amounts of hops. This was my starting point, and may well be my finishing point.

Next week: Murphy returns with an exclusive inside scoop on the wonders of sliced bread.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fox In The Henhouse?

Ellison, Bachmann get committee posts:

Two Minnesota House freshmen landed new assignments on Wednesday, with Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison winning a seat on the Judiciary Committee while Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann was named to the Financial Services Committee.

Ellison, an attorney who replaced the retiring Democratic Rep. Martin Sabo last week, had lobbied for a seat on the judiciary panel. He called it "an honor and a privilege" to get the post.

"I look forward to pursuing a progressive agenda in the committee, including the restoration of American citizens' civil liberties that have come under increasing attack over the past six years," he said.

Sigh. Yeah, it's a regular police state here in George Bush's Amerika, ain't it Keith?

Ellison was chosen for his new assignment by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over issues relating to civil liberties, immigration policy and constitutional amendments, among others.

Ellison said he wants to work on a number of issues, including community-oriented policing efforts, immigration, intellectual property rights and privacy concerns including the Internet.

Bachmann's appointment was announced by House Republican Leader John Boehner, of Ohio. She and Ellison both will serve on Financial Services; Ellison's appointment to that panel was announced last month.

So Minnesota will be represented on the Financial Services Committee by a former tax attorney and a former tax evader? I suppose it's good to cover all our bases.

There is just one moon and one golden sun

So I sit down in the "room" and start getting dressed for hockey this morning (game on at 6am). I notice that the goalie who's subbing for one of our regular keepers is putting his gear on across from me and say hi. He pops his head up and I have one of those Spicoli "I know that dude" moments. Of course, I don't process face and name very well in the early morning hours (or really ever if truth be told) and he makes the connection before I do.

"I know you. You're either Chad or Brian, right?"

I ignore his unintended slight and inform him that there are those who call me...Chad. He's Jerry Plagge Jr. from the SD63 blog. We had met at the Governor's mansion a few years ago. Back in the day before T-Paw wasn't afraid to be too closely associated with those of a more conservative bent.

As we dress, we talk politics a bit and catch up. Out on the ice, he turns out to be a good goalie too, although I did manage to put one past him during the morning scrum. It really is a small world after all.

A Well Respected Man

This picture bugs the hell out of me. It's not the innovative doodad of the week that has me upset. It has to do with the presentation of the doodad.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs' net worth is close to 5 billion dollars. He's the head of a corporation that employs over 20,000 people and had a net income last year of close to $2 billion. When you're in a position like that and you're presenting the latest handheld phone/MP3 player/camera/annoyingly-loud-beeping-device that's going to change the world yet again, would it kill you to put on a pair of freaking dress slacks or, dare I say it, a sport coat and tie?

Seriously...even a pair of Dockers would look better than the "just walked out of the gym" look Jobs is sporting for his latest media event. I know the man could buy and sell me at will, but couldn't he make some effort to look the part of the preeminent 21st century tycoon that he is? I've had homeless guys with squeegees approach my car with better fashion sense than this guy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Surge In Drinking?

Your official Fraters Libertas drinking word for this evening's speech by President Bush is:

"new" as in a "A New Way Forward In Iraq"

Check back later for an official tally. If you're still sober.

Shoe-In Of The Week

Paul from Colorado e-mails with a possible luck won't be my lady tonight (or ever) link:

Hey Chad, just wanted to point out a thought about Hugh after Ohio State's mother of all meltdowns. It seems that when our favorite radio man picks a team to win the odds in Vegas say that team is going to get smoked (The Browns, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and so on.) Well it has made me wonder if Hugh has any relation to Oliver of Brady Bunch fame. Oliver if you recall was a White haired relative with Coke bottle glasses who probably ate paste and had a Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring. Oliver was also called the Jinx for he always had a way of bringing bad luck to anyone who he joined up with? Just wondering if anyone else thought of this connection?

Pride on Ice

Not only do the Minnesota Wild lose their 11th straight road game last night and slip even further away from playoff contention, our champion, our goon, 270 pound Derek Boogaard, gets his clock cleaned.

For those preferring to shield their eyes from the video record of Boogeyman's Hector-like slaying at the hands of Godard, the Calgary Flames blog provides the blow-by-blow coverage.

Period 2:

1:25 -- Right off the face-off the fight anticipated between Godard and Boogaard takes place at center ice. Godard gets shots in early. Boogaard lands a couple of haymakers but Godard doesn?t falter and eventually lands enough shots to send Boogaard to the ice. After going to the penalty box Boogaard leaves the ice to be attended to. Give Godard the late round victory after switching hands.

Pop Up VDH

Our continuing saga to make Victor Davis Hanson's classical references more user-friendly.

From the great man's blog entry yesterday:

All these thoughts I think explain the tragic-comic position of today's university presidents who Janus-like must talk like normal humans when courting alumni donors only to assume alien characteristics when dealing with their often lunatic faculty.

From the context of confusing, inconsistent rhetoric and political bait-and-switch, I thought it might be a reference to James Janos. That is not the case. A two-faced Janus rose to prominence much earlier in history.

Janus is the Roman god of gates and doors (ianua), beginnings and endings, and hence represented with a double-faced head, each looking in opposite directions. He was worshipped at the beginning of the harvest time, planting, marriage, birth, and other types of beginnings, especially the beginnings of important events in a person's life. Janus also represents the transition between primitive life and civilization, between the countryside and the city, peace and war, and the growing-up of young people.

The Hanson post in its entirety is terrific, BTW. This product of academia calling it out for its continuing abuses. Excerpts:

What are we to make of this increasingly corrupt institution, whose health is so necessary to the welfare and competitiveness of the United States? It brags that American higher education is the strongest on the globe, but that is largely true only because of the non-political and still untainted hard sciences, engineering, and informational and computer sciences -- and despite the humanities, particularly literature, philosophy, and history that have become increasingly ideological and theoretical.

We should at least insist on a little accountability from this increasingly medieval institution. After teaching some twenty years in the university and writing about its endemic problems, I keep asking myself the same questions.

Why does tuition continue to rise beyond the rate of inflation?

A good question, one largely answered by Richard Vedder:

The real reason for soaring college costs is higher demand for colleges, largely resulting from well-intended but dubious governmental policies. When demand rises relative to supply, prices (in this case, tuition fees) go up. Demand is rising partly for non-governmental reasons, such as higher incomes and a growing earnings differential between high-school and college graduates. But it is also rising rapidly because of the huge growth in government loan and grant programs as well as tuition tax credits. Pell grants, Stafford and Perkins loans, tax-sheltered college-saving schemes ("529 plans"), work-study programs, etc.: All serve to increase the number of students wanting a college education at any given price. Kids without money for college simply borrow it.

More here.

Universities are mostly nonprofit organizations, subject to only limited competitive forces, and lacking market-imposed discipline to economize and innovate. University presidents and other administrators see no personal gains from reducing costs. Major policy issues are decided typically in committees, where advocates of the status quo usually have the upper hand. With third parties (typically government and private donors) footing most of the bills, there is little fear that higher tuition will trigger a consumer backlash depriving the institution of needed revenues. Not surprisingly, per student costs of instruction are dramatically lower at the typical for-profit university where market discipline is much stronger.

If students receive grants or subsidized loans covering much of the cost of attending school, they become far less sensitive to tuition increases. The discipline of the market is not strong. In a free, unsubsidized market, consumers are sensitive to rising costs, and entrepreneurs seek to cut costs and lower prices to lure new customers away from others. But higher education does not work that way in America today.

Something to remember next time our new Democratic overlords start prescribing the dumping of billions of dollars more into the pot as a solution for the crisis of affordable education.

Take a cha-cha-cha-chance

The Elder: JB, I need you to get to Omaha right away.

JB: But it's my birfday!

That's how the conversation unfolded this morning when I assigned JB to cover a hot story breaking in Nebraska. Here's an idea of his actual facial expression:

On behalf of the entire extended Fraters family, we want to extend our warmest birthday wishes to JB on this very special day. And good luck in Omaha.

UPDATE: The KAR chimes in with a very respectable Separated At Birth.

But I'm Just Back-dated, Yeah

Two counterweights to the prevailing hysteria over "backdating" of stock options are offered in the opinion pages of today's Wall Street Journal. The first, by Richard Mamaro and Ryan Weinstein, asks Should Steve Jobs Go To Jail? (sub req) and cautions about the need to separate accounting violations from criminal fraud:

The most basic element of fraud is deception or deceit, and a typical example is when a company misstates revenues or cash expenses. Yet there is no proof of deceit or concealment in alleged backdating cases. In fact, it is remarkable how much companies have disclosed about their option grants. Company 10-Ks, Form 4s, proxy statement and other filings were replete with information about options. Indeed, despite media accounts that suggest that executives were secretly lining their pockets, the economic value of options granted, whether to executives or to the rank-and-file, was no secret at all.

If the alleged backdating did not involve self-dealing or kickbacks, and options expenses were immaterial to investors, how were investors harmed? If the harm was only "mak[ing] a hash of the financial statements," as SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has suggested, shouldn't backdating cases be charged as books-and-records violations rather than securities fraud? Despite the media clamor and various colorful analogies to lightning, lotteries and pick-pocketing, most options backdating cases are not fraud, but books-and-records errors.

It is understandable, in an era when public concern is growing over rising executive compensation, that attention should be turned to stock options. Individual companies may want to reconsider how and at what volume they grant options. Yet a thoughtful look at the elements of securities fraud may help observers distinguish between accounting issues and criminal acts.

The second is by Holman W. Jenkins, who has been fighting the rush to judgment over backdating ever since the issue first surfaced. In today's Business World column (sub req) he continues his effort to stem the tide:

Much reporting has made it sound like backdating was the equivalent of executives taking erasers and white-out to their paychecks to add a couple of zeroes -- and public understanding still suffers from this bum steer. But all that backdating comes down to is a nonmaterial accounting irregularity (yes, readers, accounting rules should be obeyed!) involving a defective judgment about whether "in the money" options needed to undergo expensing.

We're still at the beginning of the so-called scandal, and many executives will likely end up paying a price for this poor decision. But in no way does it implicate theft of shareholder money or even substantive accounting fraud. Here, we propose to violate a cardinal newspaper ordinance that logic should never be discussed in a newspaper. The beginning of all error was the media's unwarranted assumption, to put a fine point on it, that backdating was somebody's way of paying an employee more than, um, er, that same somebody intended (er, sputter, gurgle).

You see the problem: Whether options are backdated or not, they must reflect the intentions of whoever designed them. If I'm designing the package, how can I intentionally design it to pay more than I intend?

He also addresses the Apple case and finds an unexpected ally in (gulp) Al Gore:

Against this (who would have thunk it) stands Mr. Gore, yelling stop to the lynch mob. In Apple's own backyard, the San Jose Mercury News delivered a critic's delectable complaint that the Gore investigation had "tried to preserve the company's No. 1 asset" in Mr. Jobs. Isn't that exactly what a shareholder wants from the Apple board right now? The Apple case is a marvelous example of why corporate governance reformers do shareholders no favor even as they expand their own bailiwicks by making governance reform a never-ending end in itself. Indeed, Mr. Gore deserves credit for putting himself in the line of fire at all. And worse is surely coming: Mr. Jobs is starting to face insinuations of insider trading for stock sales after the first backdating cases broke but before Apple was implicated.

Mr. Gore might have waved off the special committee assignment and sought to cover his own hindquarters from the lawsuits and criticism aimed at Apple. That's been the tendency of directors since Sarbanes-Oxley enacted greater individual liability for accounting scandals: head for the high grass and hire a lawyer to point fingers at somebody else.

It's no accident that in the last 25 years, the value of America's corporations rose 12-fold, and the corporate reform industry grew right in step to tell us how badly and corruptly our companies are governed. The more successful the stock market is at cultivating strong businesses, the more we're told the whole system is rotten, in need of reform.

We just wonder what Mr. Gore thinks about all this now.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Circle In Bert

Bad news for Bert--Blyleven's Hall vote total goes down:

Two former Minnesota Twins pitchers lost ground toward their goal of being elected to baseball's Hall of Fame.

Bert Blyleven dropped from 277 votes (53.3 percent of ballots cast) in 2006 to 260 votes (47.7 percent) in this year's results, announced Tuesday. Jack Morris went from 214 votes (41.2 percent) to 202 votes (37.1 percent).

Players must receive 75 percent of the votes to gain induction.

Blyleven is eligible for election through 2012, as long as he receives at least 5 percent of the votes each year. Morris can stay on the ballot through 2014 by fulfilling the same requirement.

How long must this travesty go on? Justice delayed is justice denied and all that.

Oh well, there's always next year. Right guys?

Waxed, Nostalgically

Last night's mauling by the Gators was an good ol' fashioned taking to the woodshed jes like grandpa used to do. Schadenball at its finest too (do you prefer white or dark crow meat Hugh?). A good--although ridiculously delayed and still somewhat inconclusive--way to end another drawn out and ultimately unsatisfying college football season. Wake me when you come up with a playoff system.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tails You Lose?

If by chance, the Buckeyes happen to fall to Florida tonight, how long will it take Hugh Hewitt to assign the blame to John McCain for the opening coin toss? I'm sure that if Romney had tossed the coin, the Buckeyes would have won.

Damned If You Do...

Bing West and Eliot Cohen opine on the paradox facing President Bush in Iraq in today's Wall Street Journal:

We prefer an offensive strategy based on three ironclad principles: take the offense immediately against the death squads in Sadr City, who are now unsettled; arrest and imprison on a scale equal to the horrific situation (or at least equal to New York City!); and insist on a joint say in the appointment of army and police leaders. If the Iraqi government refuses, we should be willing to disengage completely, and soon.

The paradox of American strategy in Iraq is this: President Bush can achieve success only by threatening to do something he is morally opposed to doing -- leaving swiftly and risking chaotic civil strife. If the president showed the same iron will toward Mr. Maliki that he does toward Congress and public opinion, Mr. Maliki would blink first.

The only course that will work entails not only the risks of greater casualties, but the risks of walking away from promises unmet and hopes unfulfilled. More money and troops are inputs, not outputs. A new strategy needs benchmarks for success -- arrests, imprisonment and the adviser ratings of leaders. Our only hope lies not in American troops but in the development of an Iraqi security force free of militia influence, working for a government that understands the penalty for failure.

Killed By Reality

John Derbyshire relates a tragic tale he came across on a recent visit to New Orleans at National Review Online:

The most recent murder, in the early hours of Thursday morning, was of a young wife in the pleasant middle-class Fauborg Marigny district. The woman and her husband had a two-year-old son. Police found the husband, shot three times but still alive, clutching the infant near the front door of the house. The wife had been killed by a gunshot wound to the neck. The husband has survived.

These were educated white liberals--they had been dormitory mates at Harvard--who had returned to New Orleans after Katrina to do good works in "the community." The husband, a doctor, ran a clinic that turned no one away. The wife... well, let the Times-Picayune tell it:
Hill wore thrift store garb and made experimental films, a craft she sought to share with other women, holding "film-making bees" in which they made rudimentary films... Gailiunas [i.e. the husband] sang songs about love and leftist politics in a solo act called Ukelele Against the Machine...

The couple also ran a feed-the-homeless enterprise named Food Not Bombs. You get the picture. These were not Republican voters.

What happened to this young couple was unspeakably horrible, and there is of course no excusing such barbarism. It is hard, though, not to shake your head at the couple's unworldly naivety. What kind of people did they think they were going to encounter when they got down and dirty with "the community"? The Times-Picayune story quoted a neighbor of the couple saying this: "They would never do it, but they should have answered the door with a gun." Hard to disagree with that--either part of it.

Sneak Previews

I've been able to secure an advance copy of a future Star Tribune editorial about the hanging of Saddam Hussein. Read it today so you can tell your colleagues at the next faculty meeting or peace poetry/drum circle workshop that you read and appreciated its wisdom first!

Like any good middle school student using the Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia as a crutch, the Star Tribune likes to rearrange a few words and paraphrase things to keep people guessing. Before you go spouting off about your prescience, how can you be sure the next Star Tribune editorial wistfully recalling the dignity of Saddam Hussein is based on this particular source? Look for these irrisistible Hertzbergian rhetorical flourishes:

1. Glib, leaden alliteration:

The deposed dictator's dangling the President said, "is an important milestone on Iraq's course to becoming a democracy"

A phrase like "turned-out tyrant's take down" in the Star Tribune version will be a huge red flag.

2. Moral equivalency arguments:

but the Bush Administration's disdain for such institutions was nearly a match for Saddam's own.

Which could easily be substituted for Bush is worse than Hitler, Pol Pot, or at the most extreme, United Healthcare CEO William McGuire.

3. Taunts that the war critics were right all along and resignation to defeat:

Compared to many of the other horrors that have served as milestones along the four-year journey from shock and awe through stay the course to surge and pray, what happened at 6:10 A.M. on December 30th in that dank, foul-smelling execution chamber was relatively free of bloodshed.

It did not take long for the hanging to become a metaphor for the over-all disaster of which it is part.

Which could be summarized by the Star Tribune as "we were right all along, surrender now!"

Of course, no matter the topic, all Star Tribune editorials include variations on these themes. But with just a little study and pattern recognition ability, you too can say on the date this one is published - that story is so last week.

Not Your Father's Atheism

In Friday's Wall Street Journal Sam Schulman writes that Without God, Gall Is Permitted (sub req):

What is new about the new atheists? It's not their arguments. Spend as much time as you like with a pile of the recent anti-religion books, but you won't encounter a single point you didn't hear in your freshman dormitory. It's their tone that is novel. Belief, in their eyes, is not just misguided but contemptible, the product of provincial minds, the mark of people who need to be told how to think and how to vote -- both of which, the new atheists assure us, they do in lockstep with the pope and Jerry Falwell.

For them, belief in God is beyond childish, it is unsuitable for children. Today's atheists are particularly disgusted by the religious training of young people -- which Dr. Dawkins calls "a form of child abuse." He even floats the idea that the state should intervene to protect children from their parents' religious beliefs.

For the new atheists, believing in God is a form of stupidity, which sets off their own intelligence. They write as if they were the first to discover that biblical miracles are improbable, that Parson Weems was a fabulist, that religion is full of superstition. They write as if great minds had never before wrestled with the big questions of creation, moral law and the contending versions of revealed truth. They argue as if these questions are easily answered by their own blunt materialism. Most of all, they assume that no intelligent, reflective person could ever defend religion rather than dismiss it. The reviewer of Dr. Dawkins's volume in a recent New York Review of Books noted his unwillingness to take theology seriously, a starting point for any considered debate over religion.

The faith that the new atheists describe is a simple-minded parody. It is impossible to see within it what might have preoccupied great artists and thinkers like Homer, Milton, Michelangelo, Newton and Spinoza -- let alone Aquinas, Dr. Johnson, Kierkegaard, Goya, Cardinal Newman, Reinhold Niebuhr or, for that matter, Albert Einstein. But to pass over this deeper faith -- the kind that engaged the great minds of Western history -- is to diminish the loss of faith too. The new atheists are separated from the old by their shallowness.