Friday, March 30, 2007

No Wars at a Time

As we see another round of British hostages being humiliated in front of the world, I harken back to a not too dissimilar situation that happened a little closer to home:

Outright war with England nearly took place in the fall of 1861, when a hot-headed US. naval officer, Captain Charles Wilkes, undertook to twist the lion's tail and got more of a reaction than anyone was prepared for.

Jefferson Davis had named two distinguished Southerners, James M. Mason of Virginia and John Slidell of Louisiana, as commissioners to represent Confederate interests abroad, Mason in England and Slidell in France. They got out of Charleston, South Carolina, on a blockade-runner at the beginning of October and went via Nassau to Havana, where they took passage for England on the British mail steamer Trent.

Precisely at this time U.S.S. San Jacinto was returning to the United States from a long tour of duty along the African coast.. She put in at a Cuban port, looking for news of Confederate commerce raiders which were reported to be active in that vicinity, and there her commander, Captain Wilkes, heard about Mason and Slidell. He now worked out a novel interpretation of international law. A nation at war (it was generally agreed) had a right to stop and search a neutral merchant ship if it suspected that ship of carrying the enemy's dispatches. Mason and Slidell, Wilkes reasoned, were in effect Confederate dispatches, and he had a right to remove them. So on November 8, 1861, he steamed out into the Bahama Channel, fired twice across Trent's bows, sent a boat's crew aboard, collared the Confederate commissioners, and bore them off in triumph to the United States, where they were lodged in Fort Warren, in Boston Harbor. Wilkes was hailed as a national hero. Congress voted him its thanks, and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, ordinarily a most cautious mortal, warmly commended him.

But in England there was an uproar which almost brought on a war. The mere notion that Americans could halt a British ship on the high seas and remove lawful passengers was intolerable. Eleven thousand regular troops were sent to Canada, the British fleet was put on a war footing, and a sharp note was dispatched to the United States, demanding surrender of the prisoners and a prompt apology.

It was touch and go for a while, because a good many brash Yankees were quite willing to fight the British, and the seizure of the Confederate commissioners had somehow seemed like a great victory. But Lincoln stuck to the policy of one war at a time, and after due deliberation the apology was made and the prisoners were released. The Trent incident was forgotten, and the final note was strangely anticlimactic. The transports bearing the British troops to Canada arrived off the American coast just after the release and apology. Secretary of State Seward offered, a little too graciously, to let the soldiers disembark on American soil for rapid transportation across Maine, but the British coldly rejected this unnecessary courtesy.


This was the so-called Trent incident, which was the source of Abraham Lincoln's famous quote about fighting only "one war at a time."

Britain threatened and prepared for war over some sketchy foreigners getting abducted from a British ship. Imagine how they would have reacted back then to their own sailors getting lifted off of a ship of war and humiliated in front of the world. We have to imagine that, because there wasn't a government in the world that would have attempted such a thing in the nineteenth century.

And the Union believed the Brits would travel across the ocean and invade over this relatively minor offense, so they capitulated to British demands, careful never to repeat the offense. That's what a plausible deterrent can do for you. The means and will to make your tormentors suffer lessens the incidence of being tormented. Said in other words, about a different context, by VDH today:

With the demise of fascism, Nazism, and Soviet Communism, and in the new luxury of peace, the West found itself a collective desire to save money that could be better spent on entitlements, to create some distance from the United States, and to enhance international talking clubs in which mellifluent Europeans might outpoint less sophisticated others. And so three post-Cold War myths arose justify these.

First, that the past carnage had been due to misunderstanding rather than the failure of military preparedness to deter evil.


We all know that Europe, even the UK, has basically disarmed itself over the past few decades. Not as evident to me was the effect this had on (or was it the original cause of?) the will, even the survival instincts, of their people. The British Marines gave themselves up without firing a shot! I suspect their rules of engagement were in essence, no firing at anything, ever. Which is fine, as long as your enemy doesn't know that.

Now that the cat's out of the bag, how can they even do the job they were assigned by the UN (stop and board ships, looking for smuggling operations)? If the suspect ships don't stop, what are they going to do them, if they won't even fight to save themselves?

If this mindset is the new paradigm, this could be last time you ever see the British Navy conducting operations outside of British waters. An historic, tragic moment for the world.

They Will Never Forget

Americans have been accused of having short memories and being ignorant of history (especially among the young--a point emphasized by Dennis Prager last night at the University of Minnesota). At the same time, there is an undercurrent of American thought that believes that many other countries don't properly recognize and appreciate the sacrifices that we've made for them in the past.

I've recently spent a fair amount of time working with some guys from the Philippines. Through this contact, I've learned that April 9th is a national holiday in their country called, "Araw ng Kagitingan." In English, that's "Day of Valor" also known as "Bataan Day." The holiday honors the American and Filipino soldiers who were captured on April 9th, 1942 after valiantly fighting the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula and then forced on the infamous Bataan Death March.

How many Americans know about the Bataan Death March? Or about the Filipinos who fought alongside us against the Japanese? Or that April 9th is a national holiday in the Philippines (I did not until a few days ago)?

It's also local interest to note that Minnesota is one of the places in the United States that also commemorates the event (from the Wikipedia article):

The 194th's Company A was deployed to the Philippines in the fall of 1941. To commemorate the military and civilian prisoners that were forced to march from Bataan to Camp O'Donnell, an annual Bataan Memorial March, organized by the 194th Armor Regiment of the Minnesota Army National Guard and is held in Brainerd, MN. The march is open to anyone who wishes to participate with ten and twenty mile distances. The march has different categories consisting of teams, individuals, light pack, or a heavy pack. A closing ceremony is held at the end to award the finishers and pay tribute to the survivors and their comrades who did not survive the death march.

It's important to know and honor our past. And to know that other countries do as well.

Capitals Are Increased By Parsimony

On the doorstep from FedEx today:

The Politically Incorrect Guide(tm) to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Work/Life Balance

Is it just me or are people getting a little too comfortable at the workplace these days? Earlier today, a guy was flossing his teeth in the bathroom mirror. A few weeks back, some dude was clipping his toe-nails whilst on the can. I can understand the desire to brush your teeth after lunch, but do we really want to start bringing all of our little hygeine tasks to work? I for one say do it on your own time pal.

Atomizer Sez: I have a co-worker who routinely clips his fingernails at his desk. Yeah, you read that right. AT...HIS...DESK. The sound is enough to drive one batty. He does, however, have the decency to hover over a wastebasket while he grooms himself in public. Very considerate of him, don't you think?

Neil Duncan Benefit

Neil Duncan Benefit:

Army Sgt. Neil Duncan, from Maple Grove, MN, was severely injured in Afghanistan on December 5, 2005 when an improvised explosive device (IED) ripped through his Humvee. Neil was seriously wounded as a result of the explosion. He lost both of his legs, shattered his jaw, broke his elbow and hand, and sustained multiple shrapnel wounds. Within a week of the attack, Neil was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC where he began the long road of recovery.

Neil went through more than 20 surgeries, rigorous physical and occupational therapy along with dental reconstruction over the last 14 months at Walter Reed. However, through his mental/physical strength and determination, Neil has overcome this huge hurdle as he is now able to do things he was once able to enjoy.

As Neil will be coming home to Minnesota, his friends and family want to give him a proper welcome home and help him financially as he starts his new life as an independent person. A homecoming benefit to honor Neil and to express our sincere appreciation for his sacrifice and commitment to our country will be hld. This benefit will include a silent auction, raffle, and cash donations as well as a chance for people to meet our hero. All proceeds will be used to help Neil build an independent life adapted to his specific needs - a handicap accessible house, a vehicle with adaptive equipment, etc.

The benefit is scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2007 from 2-6 p.m. at the American Legion in Osseo, Minnesota.

American Legion Post #172
260 4th Avenue SE
(Hwy. 169 & Cty. Rd. 81)
Osseo, Minnesota 55369

It will be open to the public and seeks to raise money to help Neil make the difficult adjustments that lie ahead, such as buying a house and adapting it to his specific needs. The event is being organized primarily by Neil's parents, sister, and brother-in-law who are actively seeking contributions from the public as well as from private organizations who want to be a part of this noble cause.

All donations are welcomed. Both cash donations as well as donations for the silent auction are being requested. All contributions--big or small--will be gratefully appreciated. "We know that people live very busy and active lives. Anything ranging from a gift card to a coffee shop, to a round of golf at a golf course, even tickets to a special event will be a hit!" Minnesotans are saddened that Neil's life has taken such a dramatic turn as a result of the explosion, yet Neil's family is confident that Minnesotans' heartfelt compassion will be reflected in their generosity.

Thank you for your attention and support in honor of Sgt Neil Duncan--a real hero!


If you can't attend the benefit, but would like to help out, you can make a donation through PayPal.

Reer

As noted by both Vox Day and Power Line (you don't get to write that everyday), it appears that the New York Times was smack dab in the middle of a good ol' fashioned cat fight last Friday:

A catfight at The New York Times Friday still has staffers in shock.

Cat fight?

The dustup between two female editors in the Styles department disrupted work on the Thursday and Sunday Styles sections as co-workers froze at the fracas.

Fashion editor Anita LeClerc was the aggressor and her superior, deputy editor Mary Ann Giordano, the victim, sources say.

The two had exchanged words just moments before, allegedly over turf, and LeClerc began stomping around the office, muttering loudly to herself. But when Giordano, a talented import from the Metro section, came over in a conciliatory way and tried to smooth things over, LeClerc made it physical.


Yeye cat fight!

"She shoved Mary Ann and pushed her, and Mary Ann said, 'Don't you touch me! Don't you touch me!'" says a source. "Mary Ann grabbed her wrists to try to stop her, and [LeClerc] just started flailing."

T-t-t-t...

One aspect of the story that wasn't noted by either Vox or Power Line caught my eye:

The scrap at the newspaper could inspire jokes ("Pulitzers for Pugilism at the Black-and-Blue Lady?") but it's not funny, sources say. "Mary Ann is afraid now," says one. "She's a really nice woman, too. She keeps candy on her desk!"

This is all it takes to be considered "nice" in corporate America? Keeping candy on one's desk? God help us.

Talk Isn't Cheap

Scott Johnson, the straw that stirs the Power Line cocktail, has posted an e-mail from a reader raising some interesting questions about an NPR story on the families of Minnesota National Guard soldiers who have had their tours in Iraq extended. One part in particular caught my attention:

How can it be that a reporter of the stature of John McChesney drove 700 miles, interviewed members of seven families, and came back with less than two minutes of content, and less than half of which is an interview with just two of the presumably seven wives he spoke to? Of course, I know that Mr. McChesney was unlikely to have control over editing the raw material, or even what would go to air, and what would not. But if I were a reporter who had just returned from a trip that no doubt cost NPR tens of thousands of dollars, and less than one minute of material directly from the ostensible subjects of said expedition was aired, I would be worried about my job!

I've actually had the same thought a number of times regarding other stories that I've heard on NPR. How can they justify sending a reporter to Timbuk-frickin'-tu to do a story on some arcane subject that ends up airing for two or three minutes? The same goes for the Wall Street Journal. A guy does a piece about the best hamburgers in the country and then get deluged with e-mails saying he needs to try this burger, that burger, etc. So as a follow-up he flies to Couer D'Alene, Idaho to sample a particularly well-regarded burger himself and scribble an eight-hundred and twenty-two word article on it. From a strictly financial standpoint, how can that possibly be worth it?

I realize that news organizations aren't going to do a cost-benefit analysis on each and every story they cover, but there has to be some criteria about who travels where and for what, doesn't there?

Cement Head Semantics

While perusing an article in this week's City Pages on Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard (which I'm sure I'll have more about later), I came across this all-too-common and incredibly annoying conflation of fighting and stick-related stupidity in the NHL:

Apologists argue that fighting is a safer release for aggression than the alternative: high stick work that can crack a rib or slice up a guy's face. Plus, fans like fights. A good scrap is as likely to make the highlight reel as a goal.

"Sometimes it's to light a spark, other times it's to defend a teammate," says David Singer, whose website, Hockeyfights.com, has gone from a labor of love to something players name-check in post-game interviews. "It's usually pretty fast, usually nobody's hurt, and the game is brought up to a different level afterwards."

In recent weeks, though, several ugly incidents have cast a harsh spotlight on hockey fighting. Earlier this month, the NHL levied the third-longest suspension in its history--25 games--against New York Islanders winger Chris Simon for his two-handed stick swing at New York Rangers forward Ryan Hollweg. And on March 21, Todd Fedoruk got cold-cocked by the Rangers' Colton Orr and had to leave the ice on a stretcher.

"I'm not afraid to talk about the fact that we should look at fighting in hockey," NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell told the news agency Canadian Press last week. "I think you have to ask the question because of what's happening out there. It's incumbent on me, because of my position, to ask the question.

"I think if you had discussed this even three or four years ago, you would have got pooh-poohed out of the game. But now I think because of the size of our players, where we're at in sports and in life, I think we have to look at it."


Let's be clear about something here: what Simon did was idiotic and he should be punished severely for it (I believe JB recommended that he be drawn and quartered at dawn), but IT WAS NOT FIGHTING and should in now way be used as an excuse to crack down on fighting in the NHL.

Here's a little taste of Boogaard as a youth to whet your appetite:

The Boogeyman speaks about his first big scrap in the awed tones of a man discussing his epiphany: "I just got pissed off, really mad about something. And I just fought and fought--fought one kid, fought another kid. I don't know how it happened, but I was in their bench asking the whole team to fight."

That was the day the Boogeyman was discovered. Todd Ripplinger, the director of scouting for the Western Hockey League's Regina Pats, was in the stands. The Pats were in the market for an enforcer, and Ripplinger was impressed with the enthusiasm Boogaard brought to his work.

"It took both linesmen to drag him off the ice!" Ripplinger recalls, some eight years later.


UPDATE: Despite the flawed comparison that I pointed out earlier, you HAVE TO read this entire piece (and all the related content--nice work CP). Another juicy tidbit:

Another kid cut short the Boogeyman's rookie season by breaking his jaw. "That sucked," the Boogeyman says, stroking his mandible. "I don't think you'd wish that on anybody."

But the Boogeyman didn't let it discourage him from his profession. After his jaw healed, he skated up to the kid and asked, "You wanna go?"


And:

The challenge was keeping his cool. On April 9, 2001, after the buzzer sounded in the Cougars' losing effort to the Portland Winter Hawks, the Boogeyman ran over the opposing goalie--a cardinal sin in hockey. Making matters worse, the net minder had bent down to pick up the puck as a souvenir of his first playoff victory.

The WHL brought swift punishment, suspending the Boogeyman for seven games to be served the following season. But the time off did little to quell the Boogeyman's fury. His second game back, he again lost control, manhandling a linesman and flipping off a referee.


How can you not love this man?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

I discovered a fail safe method of cutting the cancer sticks out of your life. Once I realized the absolute fool proof nature of this cure and how effective it has been for me for well over a week now, I was inspired.

I thought about putting it all down in a self help book like this one, this one, this one or even this one.

I thought about partnering with a health care group out there to develop a counseling program based on my revolutionary techniques like this one and these.

I even thought about going on the road with my plan and making wads of cash off of other peoples' shortcomings like this guy and these guys.

I could have done all of that...but as a public service to you, the loyal readers of Fraters Libertas, I have decided instead to lay out the entire program here...completely free of charge. So here it is:
Stop buying cigarettes.
It simply cannot fail. You're welcome.

Relatively Speaking

There's a fascinating discussion underway at FIRST THINGS on whether relativism is indeed a philosophy seriously espoused anymore. Robert Miller lead off with a post on March 20th titled Right Reason in the Public Square, which he followed up with Right Reason in the Public Square, Part II the next day.

He finished the trilogy today with It's Not All Relative:

So, in practice, there are no virtually no relativists. What we do find are people who disagree--even radically disagree--with Catholic moral doctrine in various different ways because such people are consequentialists, deontologists, social contractarians, Rawlsians, divine-command theorists, or advocates of various other moral systems, all of which differ radically from the virtue-theoretic, natural-law reasoning of the Catholic moral tradition.

Few of these people, however, can plausibly be called relativists, and almost none of them reject rational argumentation wholesale.

When Catholic thinkers encounter bad arguments or arguments from premises radically different from their own and then say that the people making such arguments are relativists who reject the use of reason, they therefore make a very serious mistake. It's quite possible to disagree, even radically disagree, with the Catholic position on the foundations of ethics and continue to believe that some moral judgments are objectively true and others objectively false. The Catholic view is not the only objective one in ethics. Labeling everyone who disagrees radically with the Catholic position a relativist is thus unfair to most such people and makes the Catholic thinker who does it appear uninformed. It also tends to cut off rational argument that could be pursued if the Catholic thinker engaged the real position of his interlocutor. This is a mistake we need to avoid if we want to participate in the discussion in the public square.


But just when you thought it was safe to remove the word "relativism" from your rhetorical quiver, Stephen Barr weighs in with An Opinion About Opinions:

Often, I suspect, when people assert that they or others have "rights" they are not making claims about an objective moral order that grounds those rights. What they have in mind is the idea that, in many areas of behavior, it is impossible really to know what is right and wrong (since their is no scientific way to settle the matter), and indeed there may not be an objective right and wrong, and consequently no one is in position to make rules for everyone else on those questions. They say "I have a right" but really mean "It's none of your business," "It is my private concern," "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries." Rawls? Never heard of him; just mind your own damn business and stop trying to impose your rules on me. That's what they mean by rights. Of course, implicit in these "arguments" may be the premise that people ought to mind their own business. But that simply shows that it is impossible to be an absolute relativist.

Admittedly, everyone sees murder and embezzlement as wrong, because they do observable and even quantifiable damage. But, where the damage is not measurable, as in supposedly "victimless crimes" or behavior "between consenting adults," people are very apt nowadays to write off the possibility of really saying anything objectively true about the morality of the deeds in question.

It may well be that in their heart of hearts such people still think there are objective moral norms. But they are not as confident about it, and certainly not confident enough to argue in the public square. In other words, even if not relativist in their hearts, they are intimidated by relativism to keep their mouths shut. And this, as Pope Benedict said, is a kind of dictatorship of relativism. A dictatorship can be enforced by a small number of people on a much larger, but cowed, population. Consistent and convinced relativists may be few, but the moral outlook of the many has been considerably softened up by the assaults of relativism.

Of course, this is just my opinion.

Turning The Ship

Captain Ed makes a course correction on smoking bans:

However, I am no longer so sanguine about these laws. It seems to me that a business owner should be able to set his own rules about the custom he wants, and if he or she doesn't mind smokers in the establishment, the state should not tell them any different. If the state has a great untapped consumer pool of people like me who would hang out in bars every night if it weren't for those darned smokers, bars that banned smoking would pull in good business. That has not been the case, and even it if was, those owners who don't mind smokers would still have the right to serve them.

No one doubts that the proponents of these bans have their hearts in the right place, but it opens a troubling precedent. Once we establish that the state has an interest which overrides two key rights -- the right to assemble and the right to private property -- just to modify personal behavior that the state considers unhealthy, where will they stop? Will Minnesota, like New York City, attempt to ban trans-fats from restaurants? Will we have two-drink limits at bars as well?

Smoking cigarettes is unhealthy and foolish. I was fortunate enough to give them up without too much trouble, and I only smoke a cigar about once or twice a year these days. However, unless the state wants to criminalize tobacco, then it really has no business dictating to bar owners and restauranteurs that they cannot serve smokers, even outside in a patio area.


Why the turn to the starboard position?

I should credit Chad the Elder and Brian Ward from Fraters Libertas for helping me change my mind on this issue. We have had several debates on this over the past few years, and they have been very convincing.

Food Bites Woman

It was only a matter of time before we saw a story like this, Woman ill after eating recalled dog food:

OTTAWA -- An Ottawa, Canada woman has become violently ill after eating some of her dog's food.

It's a case that could be related to the tainted pet food that has killed several dogs and cat's and sickened dozens more across in Canada and the United States.

Elaine Larabie tells the Ottawa Citizen that for three days she suffered symptoms that included loss of appetite, vomiting, foaming at the mouth and trouble urinating. She went to an emergency room on Tuesday and is now awaiting test results from blood work.

After noticing her dog, Missy, wasn't eating, Larabie said she took bites of Iams pet food in order to trick the terrier into thinking it was people food.

The ploy worked and the mealtime routine continued for about two weeks until both dog and master became sick on March 17.


The only surprise (other than learning that someone would eat dog food for TWO WEEKS to appease a finicky pup) is that the story came out of Canada and not the heartless America of George W. Bush where starving senior citizens have no doubt been reduced to eating dog food as they did in the days of Reagan.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

He Is Ironman

Bill from Virginia e-mails:

Hi, I saw that you posted some info about Fisher House the other day. I was hoping that you could help spread the word about my Fisher House fundraising.

I am attempting my first Ironman race this year. An Ironman is a triathlon that consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. I am not an athlete, but rather a 40 year old father of three that got off of the sofa a year ago and started to enjoy the thrill of racing and living a healthier lifestyle. The race takes place in Louisville, KY on August 26th.

As part of my journey to becoming an Ironman, I am raising money and awareness for the Fisher House Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps the families of injured American military men and women. Fisher House builds homes on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. The use of these homes is available free of charge to the families of injured service members. It allows them to be close to their loved ones during hospitalization for a combat injury or other unexpected illness. There are 37 Fisher Houses across the country and more raising money to be built.

All of the money that I raise will go directly to the Fisher House Foundation. I am paying for all of my race expenses (entry fee, travel, equipment, etc.) out of my own pocket. I decided to raise money for Fisher House because I believe that providing comfort to these injured service members and their families is the least that we can do for them. I also want to show our troops that there is support for them back home.

You can visit my website for more information about me, the Ironman race and Fisher House. The Fisher House website is here. I appreciate your consideration.


Can you help him?

Raising Awareness Without Raising Alarm

This morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show, Laura was discussing the news that Tony Snow has had a reappearance of cancer with her guest, Senator John McCain. Taken with last week's story about Elizabeth Edwards and a number of other reports of high profile people battling cancer (both Ingraham and McCain have dealt with cancer as well), it would be easy to conclude that cancer is more prevalent than ever before. In fact, Senator McCain did just that on the air this morning by speculating that "It seems like something is going on" and "Maybe we need to look into why there are all these people with cancer" (I'm very roughly paraphrasing his comments).

But, as Robert Brinner reminds us, "the plural of anecdotes is not data" (at least that pithy remark is usually attributed to him). If you look at the American Cancer Society Statistics for 2007, you'll find that the both the death rate from cancer and the cancer incidence rates have been declining in recent years (at least through 2003-2004, the latest years for which trend data is available).

I pulled three pertinent slides from the ACS statistics presentation, which you can see here.

Obviously, the death and incidence rates are still far too high and there is no doubt about the terrible toll that cancer continues to take despite the many medical advances of recent years. But before we leap to conclusions and start talking about the need to act now, it's important to step back and take a dispassionate look at the numbers that tell the real story.

What's Good For California...

...is not necessarily good for the rest of us, especially when it comes to Assembly Bill 32, the "California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006." Mitt Kibbe explains how Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer are trying to impose the Golden State's draconian reductions in CO2 on the rest of us in a piece in the Wall Street Journal (sub req):

So what is California to do? Handicapped by a deeply flawed legislative mandate, some Golden State pols are hoping that their newly empowered congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., can force the rest of the nation to drink the same carbon-free Kool-Aid. One of San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi's first acts as House Speaker was a tactical end-run around Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D., Mich.), no friend of extreme environmentalists. Promising House consideration of national global warming legislation by July 4th, Rep. Pelosi created a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and put Rep. Henry Waxman, who represents Beverly Hills, in charge of it.

In the Senate, California's Barbara Boxer is perhaps the most extreme congressional voice on this issue. As the new chairman of the Senate environment and public works committee, she wields an influential gavel. Her well-orchestrated March 21st committee hearing on the dangers of climate change turned into a public relations circus -- the de facto East Coast coronation of former Vice President Al "The Goracle" Gore. Sen. Boxer claims that unless Congress enacts new taxes and other limits on energy consumption, "we could risk global climatic disasters on an unprecedented scale, ranging from dangerous sea level rise, to increasingly damaging hurricanes [such as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita], increased deaths from air pollution and disease, to widespread geopolitical instability." Scripts this scary used to be produced in Hollywood, but ever since the Oscars, it is getting harder and harder to sort fact from fiction.

The first real casualty of all the hype surrounding global warming seems to be simple economic common sense. Just a few years ago, in 1997, a Senate resolution sharply criticized proposed CO2 limits under the Kyoto Protocol, calling on then-President Clinton not to sign it or any other international climate change agreement that ". . . would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States." The Kyoto Protocol would have compelled the U.S. to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 7% below 1990 levels by the years 2008 to 2012. Adopting Kyoto-style restrictions would have cost the economy 4.9 million jobs, something Sen. Boxer and 96 of her Senate colleagues apparently found morally, or at least politically, unacceptable.

Unfortunately, with AB 32, California has adopted its own mini Kyoto, so Sen. Boxer, Rep. Pelosi and Rep. Waxman are "all in" at a high-stakes game of tax, cap and trade. This push from the California delegation stands American federalism on its head. Competition and innovation among the states are the driving force behind federalism, but Sen. Boxer and Speaker Pelosi hope to take an extravagantly expensive idea from their state and force it on the rest of us, even as similarly draconian carbon restrictions are failing miserably in Europe.

In reality, continued economic prosperity is essential to addressing real environmental challenges. Congress should be considering a positive environmental agenda that strips away agriculture subsidies, drops tariffs on cleaner and cheaper fuels, and eliminates other barriers to technological innovation like excessive taxes on new capital and investment. Unfortunately, environmental stewardship informed by the laws of supply and demand will do nothing to bail out California.


Gee, thanks California. Why don't you just go ahead and secede already?

Monday, March 26, 2007

We Toured The World And Elsewhere

Interesting article in Saturday's Wall Street Journal on how the military is recruiting lesser known acts to entertain the troops overseas (sub req):

As the war in Iraq enters its fifth year, the USO is having some trouble recruiting A-list stars. Increasingly, the military's old, Bob Hope-style approach to entertainment is being partly supplanted by a different model. The new approach relies on sending little-known bands to the Middle East in an effort to provide more concerts at more remote bases in combat zones.

This reflects the way troops are now being deployed. Many soldiers are posted in remote bases in active battle zones of Iraq and Afghanistan, accessible mainly by helicopter. Troops are facing the longest armed conflict since Vietnam and, in many cases, multiple tours of duty.


This is providing new opportunities for acts looking to break through as well as reminders on why musicians should stick to music:

For the four members of Edison, a hard-rock group, the question of whether to go to Iraq prompted some heated discussions. The group had mainly been playing bars in Connecticut and New York City when AFE contacted singer Ethan Isaac to ask if he and his group would consider a tour to the Middle East. Mr. Isaac had done an AFE tour of Europe with a previous band.

Mr. Isaac and two other band members were enthusiastic, but lead guitarist Jonathan Svec refused. A staunch opponent of the war, he worried about the symbolism of working with the military. "Are we the entertainment cog that gets thrown in to help keep the war machine turning?" he remembers thinking.


Yeah dude, that's it. For bands willing to be a cog in said machine, the payoff can be increased visibility and new fans:

Touring with the military can translate to a boost in album sales for some bands. Pop-punk group Ballentine played for an audience of 3,000 soldiers at Guantanamo Bay -- compared to the crowds of a few hundred it usually gets at home in L.A. Singer Niki Barr, who is about to leave for her fifth AFE stint, says she sees about a 40% bump in merchandise sales after every tour. Rock group Cinder Road landed a record deal with EMI and an opening slot on tour with "American Idol" star Chris Daughtry after building a big fan following on AFE tours.

Bands aren't paid for the tours, but receive free lodging and a stipend of $75 per person for each day they're away. In remote areas, performers usually eat alongside soldiers in chow halls and stay in the same cramped quarters.

Bands are banned from selling their CDs and other merchandise on the bases to prevent competition with the military exchange stores. Instead, AFE gives bands up to $1,500 to pay for promotional items such as T-shirts, CDs and fliers, which they give away to the troops. Some acts bring laptops and burn their music onto blank CDs.

Some in the music industry say AFE is emerging as a force in helping bands get noticed. "It's filling a void. They're actually helping to break artists," says Tamara Conniff, executive editor and associate publisher of Billboard, which plans to sponsor an AFE tour of R&B bands.


AFE receives a surprisingly larger number of applications from bands wishing to tour, but not everyone makes the grade:

The next applicant -- a folk singer who played guitar on stage accompanied by instrumental tracks he'd prerecorded in a studio -- didn't fare as well. "Someone doing this in front of a crowd of soldiers would get booed off the stage," said Capt. Davidson as he aimed the remote control at the stereo. "Let's just stop the pain."

I gave my love a cherry / That had no stone / I gave my love a chicken / That had no bones / I gave my love a story / That had no end / I ga...

Greatest Live Band...Ever

Enjoy The Beat Farmers.

God rest your soul, Country Dick.

Separated At Birth?

The four teams going to St. Louis in the NCAA Frozen Four bracket and...

...my Frozen Four bracket picks posted on Friday?

In fact, I went ten for twelve in this weekend's regional games. Which helps take a little sting out of the Gophers OT loss to the Sioux Sunday night (the fact that I wasn't able to watch the third period and OT also helps ease the pain). A little.

It's just a shame that the two best teams in college hockey had to play in a regional final instead of the Frozen Four championship game in St. Louis.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shall We Go A Brawl?

Nice old North Stars/Canucks brawl here. I believe that is Bob Rouse in the last heavyweight bout: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zS4b5qlH2tQ

The Best Evar! Bruins/Stars brawl 1981. Glen Sonmour apparently told the boys to go out and start as many fights as they could. And they did. Craig Hartsburg, Greg Smith, Bobby Smith, Steve Payne and even Gordie Freaking Roberts get in on the action. One for the ages: http://youtube.com/watch?v=bh16CdzU_Vo&mode=related&search=

Nice Al MacAdam scrap from 1983 at Met Center aqui: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvwU0M3GT-o

The Elder Jabs: Nice work JB. I'd really be impressed if you can find video of Dino leaving the box to fight Tim Trimper of the Winnipeg Jets. Pretty sure we both were at that game at Met Center.

There's Only One Slam, Bang, Tang

In yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Eric Felten notes that calling a drink a Martini does not make it one (sub req):

The most common complaint I hear about the offerings on the current cocktail scene concerns the epidemic of "Martinis" that aren't Martinis. For the purists, it's bad enough that a drink of vodka and vermouth is referred to as a Martini. But one doesn't have to be a stickler to bemoan the candy-colored cocktails with labels like "Raspberry Martini" or "Apple-tini" that fill out the "Martini List" at innumerable bars and restaurants. A drink of vodka, sweet liqueur and fruit juice is not a Martini.

Most definitely not.

And what a shame that would be. Though hardly the purest of the purists, I am firmly of the belief that a Martini is a drink of dry gin and dry vermouth. No other drink has what songwriter Frank Loesser called the "slam, bang, tang" of the original. But beyond my unshakeable fidelity to the basic ingredients of the Martini, I must admit a tendency to apostasy. For example, I like to have an olive or three in the glass (two olives is bad form), which is anathema to the most orthodox, who insist a twist of lemon peel is the only acceptable Martini garnish. And even more heretically, every now and then I like to doctor Martinis with a smidgen of liqueur.

He had me up to the "smidgen of liquer." However, Felten does offer up an acceptable solution:

The point is well taken, which is why I think we should make it clear that any cocktail that varies from the strict Martini paradigm is no Martini, but rather a drink of some other name altogether. Thus we can enjoy the occasional permutation on the Martini theme without contributing to the linguistic erosion of the Martini.

David Embury, in his opinionated 1948 classic "The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks," decrees as acceptable "occasional interesting variations in your Martinis," but each variation he suggests comes with a name attached. Add a couple of dashes of orange curaçao to a Martini and you have a Flying Dutchman. If instead you add a touch of the herbal French liqueur Chartreuse, the drink is called a Nome. A dash of crème de cassis and you get an International. Embury is so serious about correct Martini nomenclature that he insists a Martini is not worthy of the name if it has not been stirred: "If you shake the Martini, it becomes a Bradford."


Now that's some hardcore orthodoxy. I'm open to shaken or stirred myself.

It is only natural that a popular cocktail will breed variations on the theme -- witness the proliferation of Pomegranate Margaritas and Mango Mojitos. When the dry gin Martini was at its peak, there were dozens of "special" cocktails anchored with gin and vermouth. One of my favorites is a house cocktail that was served at London's Savoy Hotel: Dry gin, dry vermouth and a little mellowing Dubonnet. The Savoy Hotel Special is a fine, sophisticated drink, and one that might appeal to those who like the idea of a Martini but who find gin and vermouth alone to be a bit demanding.

Just please don't call it a Martini.

Don't You Hate It When...

...your hockey game on the other side of town starts right in the middle of the Gopher-Sioux showdown to determine who goes to the Frozen Four? I got no timing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Whew....

The Gophers rally for three straight late in the third to escape plucky Air Force 4-3. That certainly felt like deja vu all over again for a while. My highlight of the first two periods was cleaning out our litter boxes in the intermission before the third period. Yes, it was that putrid for the Maroon and Gold.

But a win's a win no matter how ugly it was. And with all the upsets and near upsets so far in the tourney (two #1 seeds gone already), no one is going to look a gift goal in the mouth.

I notice that Sisyphus didn't live blog this one. Another first round upset might have just sent him over the edge. I recall he went to ground for a quite a while after last year's Holy Cross disaster.

Let's hope that this one serves as a wake-up and the Gophers come ready to play tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Tomorrow

In anticipation of Dennis Avery's appearance on the NARN broadcast this Saturday I'd like to toss out another brief excerpt from the book he co-wrote with S. Fred Singer entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years", this one dealing with the scary prediction that cities around the world are in imminent danger of becoming submerged:
Judging from measurements made on corals, sea levels have been rising steadily since the peak of the last Ice Age about 18,000 years ago. The total rise since then has been four hundred feet. The sea levels rose fastest during the Holocene Climate Optimum, when the major ice sheets covering Eurasia and North America melted away. For the last 5,000 years or so, the rate of rise has been about seven inches per century. Tide gauge data from the past century show a rise of about six inches- even after the strong warming period between 1920 and 1940.

When the climate warms, ocean waters expand and glaciers melt, so sea levels rise. But a warmer ocean evaporates more water, some of which ends up as snow and ice on Greenland and on the Antarctic continent, and that makes sea levels fall. More warming and more evaporation are adding ice to the Antarctic ice cap. Thus, there is no reason to expect any big acceleration of sea level increase in the twenty-first century. Researchers say it would take another 7,000 years to melt the West Antarctic Ice Sheet- a small fraction of all the ice- and we're almost sure to get another ice age before then.
Buy the book to read more and be sure to catch Dennis this Saturday at noon on AM1280 The Patriot.

Nine Out Of Ten Skeptics Prefer

Flat Earth Brewing Company in St. Paul sounds very promising:

Beer & Fun. That's what we are all about. Let's be honest, making beer is actually work but it is a lot of fun, too. As our beers begin to roll out of the brewery, you may start to see a theme develop around them. Every beer name was designed to spark conversation at your favorite watering hole, and when we mean brewing on the edge we plan to create and deliver styles that are not frequently found in the upper Midwest. These things take time, so be patient with us as we develop and expand.

Is it Easter yet?

Quick & Dirty Puck Picks

I've already filled out enough NCAA hockey brackets and can barely recall who I picked to win what anymore. Since the first puck drops in about two minutes, I'll skip the analysis and scores and get down to my nitty gritty upset-laden predictions:

Northeast Regional

New Hampshire over Miami
BC over St. Lawrence

BC over New Hampshire

East Regional

Clarkson over U. Mass
Maine over SCSU

Maine over Clarkson

Midwest Regional

Notre Dame over Alabama-Huntsville
Michigan State over BU

Michigan State over Notre Dame

West Regional

Minnesota over Air Force
North Dakota over Michigan

North Dakota over Minnesota

FINAL FOUR IN ST LOUIS

North Dakota over BC
Maine over Michigan State

North Dakota over Maine

Game on.

Your Government At Work

New Bill Would Require Textbooks to be Listed Alongside Course Schedule:

Senator Richard Durbin (D, IL)--with Norm Coleman (R, MN) as original cosponsor--has introduced a bill entitled the "College Textbook Affordability Act of 2007." The bill seeks to identify ways of decreasing the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials by mandating certain disclosures, some of which will directly involve institutional registrars.

If you hear a loud bang up Stearns County way, it just might be King's head exploding.

A Convenient Fool

The great thing about reading Brian Lambert is that you don't have to wait months, weeks, or even days for him to contradict himself and expose his utter foolishness. No, the former-MSMer (now writing for the free monthly "The Rake," which is sort of an assisted-living home for former "City Pages" writers), who wishes that everyone who disagrees with him on global climate change would just shut the hell up, makes it easy for us by displaying his incongruous thinking within the space of a single paragraph:

To Sherno's credit he inserts a clip of the crackpot, "Global Warming is a Fraud", (not exact title), movie the wingnut wants St. Louis Park to show ... as balance. He also points out that ... no surprise here ... the winger hasn't bothered to see, "An Inconvenient Truth", (yet flatly asserts it is partisan, politically motivated, yadda yadda, insert the usual talking points).

Let me get this straight: In one breath, Lambert is criticizing me for daring to form an opinion about "An Inconvenient Truth" without having seen it (although I did sit through an hour-long PowerPoint presentation on C-SPAN questioning much of it) and in the next he labels the "The Great Global Warming Swindle" as "crackpot" without even bothering to get the name right (it's called "Google" dude), to say nothing of actually watching it?

One could write:

...the moonbat hasn't bothered to see, "The Great Global Warming Swindle," (yet flatly asserts it is crackpot, yadda yadda, insert the usual talking points).

If you read Lambert's entire post, you'll also note that he uses the term "wingnut" or "winger" five times (bringing back fond memories of his days as a sidekick on the Nick Coleman Show). As a former newspaper writer and ex-talk radio host, one would think that Lambert would have developed a more extensive vocabulary. Perhaps after he figures out how to use this new fangled "Google" thing, he can get some help in that area as well. After all, people do judge you by the words you use.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Day After Tomorrow

In anticipation of Dennis Avery's appearance on the NARN broadcast this Saturday I'd like to toss out yet another brief excerpt from the book he co-wrote with S. Fred Singer entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years":
...none of the scary scenarios posited by today's global warming advocates took place during the Earth's past warm periods.

Why have humans chosen to panic about the planet returning to what is very probably the finest climate the planet has known in all its millions of years? Is it simply guilt because climate alarmists told us we humans were causing the change?

If so, then it becomes all the more important to check their evidence.
Buy the book to read more and be sure to catch Dennis this Saturday at noon on AM1280 The Patriot.

If You Offer It...

...they will come. After hockey this morning, I headed to a nearby Panera Bread to participate in a conference call. While downing eighteen, nineteen cups of coffee (free refills!), I noticed that about 60% of the crowd was on their laptops taking advantage of the free WiFi that Panera offers. The other 40% were senior citizen coffee klatches gabbing about their health problems.

I spent most of the morning there catching up on e-mail, before grabbing a sandwich to go and heading to the office. Free WiFi definitely appears to be helping Panera get customers in the door and encourages them to stay a while. And the longer you hang out in a Panera, the more likely you are to give in to temptation and sample their tasty menu. I'm far from the first to make note of this very savvy business move, but it's something that others would do well to emulate.

But How Will It Play In The Park?

[Warning: gratuitous, self-important, navel-gazing lies ahead. After all I am a blogger, whaddya expect?]

The early reviews are in on last night's media appearance.

Dan from Minnetonka:

Well done on the news tonight. You looked and sounded good!

The Jim Jones like leader of The Kool Aid Report chimes in:

Nice haircut. Loved the parting shot Scherno took at you "...though he admits he never saw the movie." Dude, next time, lie. It's not like they have any gatekeepers or anything.

A point echoed by JB:

Nice selective labeling there "Republican party activist"? Are lefties given similar appellations? And I like the shot about not seeing the flick. You shoulda just said you saw it.

Yeah, Sherno really thought that "he admits he never saw the movie" was a zinger, didn't he? Actually I did spend some time explaining to him why I didn't need to see the movie to be able to form an opinion of it. After all, I haven't watched "Norbit" either, but I'm pretty sure it SUCKS ARSE! Unfortunately, like most of my best material, that bit ended up on the cutting room floor.

Dave from Ohligarchy adds:

I just saw your segment on the KSTP news site and you sounded good, as always. Something seemed a little odd, so I went back and viewed it again with the sound off. The first time your face appears on screen, you look very concerned. The video then switches over to what appears to be a flying sperm that fertilizes an egg labeled "2005". It then switches back to you, looking as concerned as you did before. It looks like it's either the start of a really funky Viagra commercial, or you are denying charges that you are the father of Anna Nicole's baby (who would have been conceived in 2005). Who the heck edits this stuff?

Good question Dave. I noticed that they used one side angle shot that shows my neck muscles straining as if I'm about to explode in a rage over the issue. In reality, I was getting a little frustrated because the video trailer for "The Great Global Warming Swindle" was taking a while to load on my PC.

The whole experience was a little surreal, especially considering how quickly it all came off. Just as I was about to leave work yesterday, I received an e-mail from Sherno asking me to call him ASAP. I did so on the way home. After arriving at my abode, I barely had time to choke down a pastrami (which I find to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats) sandwich before the crew arrived.

My wife and child hid in the basement the entire time (get to the cellar, the mainstream media's a comin'!). Her main concern was not whether her husband would be able to articulate his case, rather that the house would look messy and that I would appear a hick with my missing toof. At least the house looked well-kept.

I'm a novice at the whole television interview game and one thing I found unsettling was that I never knew when they were shooting and when they weren't. Tim Sherno and I were basically talking the entire time he was there. Some of it was captured on tape, some wasn't.

It was also interesting to see how he tried to "sex up" the story by hyping my outrage. He asked me how I felt when I first learned that SLP was sponsoring a showing of the film. I said I was surprised. He asked if I was upset about it. Yeah, I suppose I was upset, I replied. That translated to, "Doughty is upset..." in the story.

But my favorite line had to be "Chad Doughty is hot about..." because it both reaches for the easy pun and dramatically overstates the case. Which I suppose is perfectly appropriate for a local news story on global warming.

At Least They Spelled My Name Right...

...actually they didn't. Kstp.com-Al Gore's movie fuels debate in St. Louis Park:

Al Gore's documentary 'An Inconvenient Truth' may have won an Oscar, but plans to show the global warming movie has pushed some hot buttons in St. Louis Park.

Gore's movie was scheduled to be shown as part of a discussion on climate change, but one local Republican Party activist and blogger says, the plan is one-sided at the tax payer's expense.

"I sent an email to my city council person, two at large city council members, and the mayor of St. Louis Park expressing my displeasure, saying, if you want to show the 'Inconvenient Truth,' you should also show the other side of the story," Chad Dought said.

The mayor of St. Louis Park says, discussion is the goal of the screening and he welcomes films from all sides of the topic.


You can also watch a video clip of last night's story at the above link.

The good news? The way I understand his remarks in the story last night, the mayor of St. Louis Park is now willing to have the city also show a movie presenting an alternative view on global climate change.

The bad news? We received a letter this morning from the City of St. Louis Park informing us that our house is blocking construction of the new Matlock Expressway. We have 72 hours to vacate. At that time they will blow up our house and any remaining Doughtys.

You win some, you lose some.

She's Grown Up Before Our Eyes

Democratic Representative Betty McCollum bids a fond adieu to some old friends:

Last week, we received news that the Minneapolis Star Tribune's two Washington correspondents will be taking other assignments as a result of the paper's change in ownership. I want to thank Rob Hotakainen and Kevin Diaz for more than 20 years of service each with the Star Tribune and wish them well in their new assignments.

Seems like an awfully cozy relationship between the government and the press there . When the people who are supposed to be afflicted by the press are going out of their way to thank them for their fine performance, you have to get a little suspicious. Let's just say I don't expect to hear reports of Michele Bachmann and John Kline sending cookie bouquets to them any time soon.

But the departure of the current batch of Star Tribune reporters doesn't mean the good times will end for Rep. McCollum and the rest our DFL Congressional contingent:

I and the rest of the Minnesota congressional delegation look forward to working with the Star Tribune's intern, Brady Averill, who will now be responsible for covering the news from our nation's capitol.

I'm sure they do. I must say that's an interesting choice for the Star Tribune in terms of covering our nation's capitol. At the very least, it should make for an interesting business card: Brady Averill, Star Tribune Intern and Washington Bureau Chief.

It seems like only a year and four months ago, Chad and I were perched on barstools at Keegan's getting interviewed by a pleasant, fresh-faced, young journalism student and intern from the Pioneer Press named Brady Averill. No doubt some grizzled yet savvy editor heard a rumor that "blogging" was the next big thing and he dispatched his ablest, most promising underpaid employee (not including Craig Westover), to get the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I don't want to rehash all the gory details (which were freshly hashed for you back in December of '05). Suffice it to say, the process and end product were less than confidence-building for the fifth estate. An unfocused, superficial interview yielding an article with errors of commission, omission, and a documented partisan bias. Granted, she was just a student, learning the ropes. And that effort was probably good enough for an A- at the local journalism schools.

She does get bonus points for finding a way to jam in a quote from Media Golden Rolodex Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Professor Larry Jacobs, on why blogs can't compete with newspapers:.

Along with partisanship, credibility is another problem for blogs. There's nothing in the First Amendment about the need for an editor. Bloggers can write anything they want; they can spout fact or fiction. [U of MN Professor Larry Jacobs] advises readers to beware: "There's no gatekeeping here."

That quote of course was the genesis of the NARN sensation "This Week In Gatekeeping" so perhaps we owe her a little bit of gratitude (and probably thousands in royalties once our Showtime special debuts later this year).

My summation of that article written by the future Star Tribune Washington Bureau Chief:

I suppose it's hard to work in any depth or understanding or balance into an 831 word article, which is all Brady Averill is allowed to provide. But it's this kind of easy, cheap lunch the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press have served up for years. This town deserves better from its newspapers.

But that's just my opinion. I'm sure the likes of Betty McCollum will continue to be thrilled.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Day After The Day After Tomorrow

In anticipation of Dennis Avery's appearance on the NARN broadcast this Saturday I'd like to toss out another brief excerpt from the book he co-wrote with S. Fred Singer entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years", this one dealing with the tired old canard that the quantity and severity of storms will increase dramatically due to global warming:
There has been no increase in the frequency or severity of hurricanes, blizzards, cyclones, tornadoes, or any other kind of storms during the warming of the past 150 years. That makes sense, because storms are driven by the temperature differential between the equator and the polar regions. Since greenhouse warming should boost the temperatures at the poles much more than at the equator, warming will reduce the differential and moderate the storms. History and paleontology tell us the warmings have experienced better, more stable weather than the coolings.
Buy the book to read more and be sure to catch Dennis this Saturday at noon on AM1280 The Patriot.

The Other Side Of The Mike

If you want to catch a glimpse of me in "action", tune in to the Channel 5 KSTP news at 10pm tonight. I was just interviewed by Tim Sherno about my opposition to the City of St. Louis Park showing "An Inconvenient Truth." (Interestingly enough not for anything that I posted here, rather for a couple of posts on the subject at the Minnesota GOP Senate District 44 blog, which I also contribute to).

Chances that I come across as a complete idiot? About 99.99%. I half expect the scrawl running underneath will identify me as "Global Warming Crank."

More later.

SP ADDS: Once Chad is done making his city safe from Al Gore, maybe he can take up the cause of making it safe for ol' Huck Finn.

When daughter Nia was assigned to read it in her 10th-grade honors class, his memories of a racially volatile childhood came surging back. Now Gilbert and his wife, Sylvia, are reviving a century-old debate by asking St. Louis Park High School to remove the novel from the required-reading list.

What's wrong with St. Louis Park? Sounds like a case of poor leadership. Draft the Elder in '08! Slogan: Less Gore, More Finn.

UPDATE: I love the label "Republican Party activist," although "operative" has a more sinister ring.

The Splendor Of Truth

If you missed our March 10th interview with Father Richard John Neuhaus, founder and editor First Things and the author of Catholic Matters: Confusion, Controversy, And the Splendor of Truth, you can now listen to it here.

Five For Fighting? Try Ten Large

Wild tough guy Derek Boogaard has some great quotes on the silliness of the NHL's Fighting-in-last-5-minutes rule:

On March 8, Derek Boogaard, wearing stylish eyeglasses and a debonair suit, watched in fear as Wild trainer Don Fuller attended to a dazed Marian Gaborik, who had just been given a rough ride into the boards by Boston defenseman Andrew Ference.

A sore back kept Boogaard, the Wild's enforcer, off the ice that night. At that moment, Boogaard wished he could turn in his suit for a Wild sweater so he could mop the ice with a couple of Bruins.

But in reality, Boogaard's intimidating presence in the lineup would have meant nothing. Ference boarded Gaborik with 2 minutes, 10 seconds left, meaning there was no way Boogaard would have gotten another shift from coach Jacques Lemaire.

Players who instigate a fight in the last five minutes earn a one-game suspension and $10,000 fine for their coach.


Welcome to today's kindler and gentler NHL. Now, let's hear from Boogaard:

"The players should decide the game, not other people," Boogaard said. "Some guys say that rule's not in the back of their heads, but it is. It's probably never good to cost your coach 10,000 bucks."

Not if you want to see the ice again.

"I still won't play the last five minutes," Boogaard said. "Back in the day, guys came into the league not-so tough and when they left they were tough. Now I don't respect a lot of these guys. They come into the league soft and they leave soft.

Now that's old-time hockey talk. Boogaard's remarks recall the spirit of Eddie Shore.

"No matter how much [the NHL] says, 'Oh, we like fighting,' if they liked it so much, why are they putting all these rules in? It's a joke."

Unfortunately, no one (especially the TRUE hockey fan) is laughing.

On The Home Front

An e-mail request from Soldiers Angels:

We are currently having a Spring Fling for the Fisher Houses. A Fisher House serves as a home away from home for the families of military personnel and veterans seeking medical care at major military and VA medical centers. They are designed to accommodate 16 to 42 family members at any time and feature common kitchens, large communal dining rooms and living areas stocked with books and toys for the children. Families can stay free of charge.

The average stay in hospital for a combat-wounded serviceman or woman is 45-60 days, and in many cases can go well into a year or more. Providing the means for families to be with their loved ones is critical in their recovery process. All of the houses are built by the Fisher House Foundation, and Soldiers Angels works with the House staff to meet their ongoing needs. As the number of combat casualties continues to climb, these facilities will be called upon to serve more and more families. We at Soldiers Angels are proud of our support to the Fisher Houses across the country.

Cards should be to common stores: Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart etc., or prepaid Visa or Mastercards. The cards should be sent directly to the Fisher House of your choice--be sure to note that you are with Soldiers Angels.

Here is a link to the Fisher Houses if you would like to choose one for your donation.


The address and contact info for the nearest Fisher House in Minnesota is:

Zachary & Elizabeth M. Fisher House
Minneapolis VA Medical Center
1 Veterans Drive
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417
Manager: Maggie Swenson
Phone: (612) 467-2157 Fax: (612) 970-5864
EMail: margaret.swenson@med.va.gov

You can follow the link above to find the Fisher House closest to you.

Some Sweat When The Heat Is On

If you're not too busy at work today, you might want to check in on the testimony before Congress on global climate change, which is being shown live on C-SPAN:

Fmr. V.P. Al Gore appears before the House Energy and Commerce Subcmte. & the House Science and Technology Submcte. He's joined by Professor Bjorn Lomborg, author of a book titled, "The Skeptical Environmentalist." Gore will also appear later today before the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.

UPDATE: Just for fun, I've been watching Gore with the sound turned down. Judging by his constant hand gesturing, his knowingingly smug nods, and oh so serious facial expressions, I imagine the very future of the planet must be at stake. I am finding the visual-only Gore much easier to take. If only Mike Nelson was available to provide commentary...

UPDATE II: Well, it's not Mike Nelson, but this Power Line forum on Al Gore's testimony sure beats actually watching (and listening) to Gore.

Bracket Buster



Senator Patrick Leahy expresses dismay upon learning he's tied for 98th in the US Senate NCAA Basketball Pool and calls for an investigation about receiving faulty, possibly manipulated, intelligence from the Bush Administration.

Looking at his choices, I'm not surprised he's so irate. Only a fool would pick Arkansas Eastern over Arizona.

Heart Of Darkness

An editorial in yesterday's WSJ (sub req) looks at the budget plan put forward by Kent Conrad, a very blue Senator from a very red state:

Mr. Conrad, the Senate Budget Chairman, pulled off the neat magic trick of claiming his budget includes "no tax increase," even as it anticipates repeal of the Bush tax cuts after 2010. How does he pull that rabbit out of his hat? By positing what amounts to a giant asterisk where the tax increase is supposed to go and hoping no one will notice.

Mr. Conrad has no intention of extending the Bush tax cuts, which he voted against and whose repeal would slap the economy in 2011 with the largest tax increase in U.S. history. But Senate Democrats don't want anyone to know this, at least not before the 2008 election. So Mr. Conrad says his budget revenue estimates "assume that Congress will take steps to counter the effects of the expiration of tax cuts in 2010 in a manner that does not add to the nation's debt burden." How so? Well, "this additional revenue can be achieved without raising taxes by closing the tax gap, shutting down illegal tax shelters, addressing tax havens, and simplifying the tax code," he avers.

What the Senator should have said is "Abracadabra." The 10-year revenue increase from repealing the Bush tax cuts is something like $2 trillion, according to Congress's static-revenue models. Mr. Conrad is claiming that Congress will make up for all of that lost revenue by chasing down such illusions as the "tax gap," which the IRS claims is the difference between the taxes people owe and what they pay.

But if this magical $345 billion a year (as of 2001) were easily found, don't you think the army of IRS auditors and tax collectors would have found it by now? The only way to close this "tax gap" is by harassing taxpayers or closing loopholes in ways that are sure to meet political resistance and perhaps result in a backlash. Congress will never do it.


The editorial also provides an update on who's really paying the piper:


By the way, the latest IRS data also show that the wealthiest Americans continue to carry a record share of the income tax load. As the nearby chart shows, the richest 1% paid 35.6% of all income taxes in 2004, the most recent year in which data are available. The top 10% pay a remarkable two-thirds of all income taxes. The irony is that the Bush tax cuts have made the U.S. income tax code more progressive. But according to John Edwards and other class warriors, that's not enough.

It's never enough.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Day After The Day After The Day After Tomorrow

In anticipation of Dennis Avery's appearance on the NARN broadcast this Saturday I'd like to toss out a brief excerpt from the book he co-wrote with S. Fred Singer entitled "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years":
The Antarctic Peninsula, the thin finger of land pointing north toward Argentina (and the equator) has been getting warmer. We've heard an inordinate amount of hoopla about the warming on the peninsula, which makes up less than 3 percent of the Antarctic's land area. That's because (1) that is where most of the scientists and thermometers are; and (2) it is the only part showing any agreement with the Greenhouse Theory. The other 97 percent of Antarctica has been cooling since the mid-1960s.
Buy the book to read more and be sure to catch Dennis this Saturday at noon on AM1280 The Patriot.

Madness or Mythology?

Jared Sandberg looks at the real impact that "March Madness" has on business in today's Wall Street Journal (sub req):

But the real madness of March is excessive fear mongering in the workplace, where legions of employees don't know Blue Devils from Buckeyes. To them, March Madness has more to do with that unspeakable Spring Break in Cancún.

For actual fans, the tournament is simply this month's distraction. "People who are wasting time always find a golden opportunity to waste more," observes Steve Bosking, a marketing director.

In reality, March is pretty mild. Researchers Birinyi Associates found that Big Board trading volume during the busiest days of the tournament have been higher than average for the past 10 years. For plenty of people, the NCAA games aren't distracting. In a recent survey, WorkPlace Media found that 69% of American workers won't be wagering in the office pool. Nearly half say they "have no interest in the tournament at all."


Don't believe the hype.

Saturday In The Park

Last Saturday on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, I mentioned that my city, St. Louis Park, was putting on showings of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" using city resources on city property. I've fired off e-mails to my city council reps and the mayor of St. Louis Park expressing my displeasure with this action (you can find their contact info here). So far the response has been less than encouraging and it appears that the city is likely to go ahead with the educational propaganda efforts.

However, all is not lost. After the film has been shown, the city is planning on having discussions on climate change. One of our callers from last week's radio show has already e-mailed me to say that he has signed up to attend the April 21st showing to represent an alternative viewpoint. It would be great if we could get people to turn out to both events to demonstrate that the climate change debate is far from over and the "scientific consensus" on the matter far from universal. Here are the relevant details:

Movie: An Inconvenient Truth--Ages 12 and up

Join us to view the movie "An Inconvenient Truth." This documentary is directed by Davis Guggenheim who elo-quently weaves the science of global warming with Al Gore's personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. "An Inconvenient Truth" is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry to protect the one earth we all share. "It is now clear that we face a deepen-ing global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely," said Gore. The movie is one hour and 40 minutes, with a discussion to follow the movie. It is rated PG but is recommended for ages 12 and up.

Westwood Hills Nature Center, 8300 W. Franklin Ave.

Saturday, April 14, 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.
Activity # 3467

OR

Saturday, April 21, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Activity # 3468

Free Registration deadline: when program is filled


If you plan on attending, drop me an e-mail at rightwinger23@hotmail.com and let me know. Remember, politics (and especially local politics) is all about who shows up.

Speaking of climate change, we are happy to announce that we've rescheduled Dennis Avery, co-author with Fred Singer of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, to appear on the NARN this Saturday, March 24th at noon. Dennis had some car troubles last week, but assures us that his carbon offsets are now up to date and he shouldn't have any difficulty reaching us this time around.

Rabid Fans?

Someone might want to check the drinking water in Stearns County for traces of lysergic acid diethylamide. In his NCAA hockey breakdown, Sisyphus at Nihilist In Golf Pants notes that the St. Cloud Times has a posted an interactive NCAA hockey pool. And it looks like a number of delusional Husky fans are actually picking SCSU to win the national championship.

SCSU? The team that's never won a SINGLE NCAA playoff game and was thumped by North Dakota and beaten by the Badgers last weekend? C'mon, it's one thing to support the local squad, but you gotta be somewhat realistic, don't ya?

UPDATE: I don't know what's worse: the delusional Husky fans believing that SCSU will win the title or Mark Yost (the guy who had SCSU and Wisconsin in the WCHA Final Five championship game) picking BU? Both teams are dogs. Me thinks that Mr. Yost should stick to subjects that he's a bit more versed in.

Sanity Plates?

License number spotted on a car with North Dakota plates this morning:

LFT2RT

I didn't get close enough to see if Mitch Berg was the political convert behind the wheel.

Short But Sweet

Matt e-mails with a great, albeit short, hockey fight video:

A nice little scrap for a Savage (Burnsville HS) kid playing for the Lancers in Omaha.

YouTube - Junior Hockey Fight

This is a classic. Watch the way it begins (clearly premeditated), the flurry of punches, the way that the bench reacts, and the fact that the white player has to be helped from the ice by teammates.

Monday, March 19, 2007

March To Madness

[Our scene opens with Saint Paul, JB Doubtless, and Chad The Elder gathered around the water cooler at Fraters Libertas world headquarters.]

Saint Paul: The C-SPAN coverage of the Ways and Means committee hearing was absolutely spell-binding. I spent most of my weekend...

[Atomizer suddenly appears and interrupts the conversation.]

Atomizer: Hey guys, how are you doing in your brackets? I still have three of my Final Four left, but that Wisconsin game was a tough one. And can you believe what USC did to Texas? Didn't see that...

[Saint Paul, JB Doubtless, and Chad The Elder stare at Atomizer in disgust for a few seconds before turning their backs and walking away.]

Atomizer: Guys wait! Don't you want to hear about my fantasy baseball draft? Guys?


------------------------
Atomizer (the real one, not the one that haunts The Elder's brain) Sez: While it is true that I have three of my Final Four teams still alive on each of my two brackets, I most certainly did not pick Wisconsin to advance past the second round on either one of them. I may be a brain addled drunkard, but I ain't stupid. Chad's right about one thing, though. That Texas loss was definitely a nut cruncher.

As for my fantasy baseball draft report, you'll all have to wait until next Monday for that. Try not to think about it and it'll be here before you know it.

Correction

Ann e-mails:

Re the quote at the top of the Fraters Libertas page, if you're talking about the Irish doctor and inspiration for Joyce's Buck Mulligan, it's Oliver St. John Gogarty, not Gregory. Minor issue, of course, and I don't mean to sound like Mr. Peabody, but when you have an MA in Modern Irish Literature, you have to jump on those exceedingly rare chances to use it.

Glad to give you a chance to put your college edumahcation to use Ann. A correction has been made. We regret the error.

Doctor Who

We would like to extend our wishes for a full and complete recovery to Kathy from Cake Eater Chronicles, who has just gone through an experience that would try the hardiest of souls. If you get a chance, please drop by and wish her well.

Temptation

Posted on our company's intranet today:

6 Seats, Section ***, for 3 games Saturday and Sunday 24th/25th, face value ($100 for all 3 games) to any Gopher fan interested in travelling to Denver.

Hmmm...there must be some legitimate business reason that I have to make a last minute trip to Denver this week. Let's see...

Not As I Do

John Fund notes the gaping holes being poked in Al Gore's "moral imperative" zone by the mainstream media in a piece at OpinionJournal (free for all!):

The media are finally catching up with Al Gore. Criticism of his anti-global-warming franchise and his personal environmental record has gone beyond ankle-biting bloggers. It's now coming from the New York Times and the Nashville Tennessean, his hometown paper that put his birth, as a senator's son, on its front page back in 1948, and where a young Al Gore Jr. worked for five years as a journalist.

Last Tuesday, the Times reported that several eminent scientists "argue that some of Mr. Gore's central points [on global warming] are exaggerated and erroneous." The Tenessean reported yesterday that Mr. Gore received $570,000 in royalties from the owners of zinc mines who held mineral leases on his farm. The mines, which closed in 2003 but are scheduled to reopen under a new operator later this year, "emitted thousands of pounds of toxic substances and several times, the water discharged from the mines into nearby rivers had levels of toxins above what was legal."

All of this comes in the wake of the enormous publicity Mr. Gore received after his documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" won an Oscar. The film features Mr. Gore reprising his famous sighing and lamenting how the average American's energy use is greedily off the charts. At the film's end viewers are asked, "Are you ready to change the way you live?"

The Nashville-based Tennessee Center for Policy Research was skeptical that Mr. Gore had been "walking the walk" on the environment. It obtained public records showing that for years Mr. Gore has burned through more electricity at his Nashville home each month than the average American family uses in a year--and his consumption was increasing. The heated Gore pool house alone ran up more than $500 in natural-gas bills every month.


Al Gore part of "Big Zinc"? This just keeps getting better and better.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Prayer, A Dive, & A Salute

If Blake Wheeler dives at the puck one-hundred times, he might be able to knock it over the goalie's shoulder once or twice. Thankfully for Gopher fans, last night was one of those times.

(Photo courtesy of Gopher Puck Live)

Now, we wait for the NCAA brackets to be announced. Rumor has it that the Gophers and Sioux could be headed for a rematch in the Denver regional.

UPDATE: The brackets have been announced and, as expected, the Gophers and Sioux are in Denver. The Gophers will face Air Force in their first game (hometown advantage to the Falcons?) while the Sioux get Michigan. Not exactly a cake regional for the top seeded team.

Atomizer Sez: Here is a link to the You Tube video of the goal. Now, compare that gem to this eerily similar game winning goal by Neal Broten in the 1979 NCAA championship game against...yeah, you got it, the Fighting Sioux.

The Elder Adds: Atomizer, Sisyphus, and Sid Hartman: great minds thinks alike?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Something Of A Name

Joe Carter gets some much deserved recognition from the Washington Post:

Three decades later, the chasm between evangelical Protestants and Catholics has narrowed as conservatives from both denominations have teamed up on issues from religious school vouchers (pro) to gay marriage (con). And perhaps nowhere has that relationship change been more apparent than in the realm of bioethics.

Carter, now 37, is a good example of the shift, having become something of a name in the blogosphere as author of http://evangelicaloutpost.com. On the blog, which is about one-third bioethics issues, Carter rails against embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and in vitro fertilization -- causes commonly taken up by Catholic bioethicists and the Vatican.


Kudos to Joe, truly one of the good guys of the 'sphere.

Separated At Birth?

Even though he's a North Dakota fan, Bill T. has a good eye for SABs. Here's his college hockey special:

Old-school Michigan coach Red Berenson and...

...Ed Harris as old-school NASA engineer Gene Kranz?


Unfortunately for the Wolverines tonight against Notre Dame, failure was an option.

The Warming Is Unstoppable But The Guests Aren't

We apologize to those of you who tuned in to today's NARN Volume One show hoping to hear Dennis Avery discuss global warming. He had some car trouble and was unable to reach a phone. Apparently his Prius was swept into the ocean by a tidal wave and he was then attacked by a polar bear who floated by on a chunk of melting Arctic ice. We hope to reschedule him soon.

Saint Patrick's Breast-Plate

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through the belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness
Of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension,
Through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of Cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In prayers of patriarchs,
In predictions of prophets,
In preaching of apostles,
In faith of confessors,
In innocence of holy virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven:
Light of sun,
Radiance of moon,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of wind,
Depth of sea,
Stability of earth,
Firmness of rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptations of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone and in multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.

Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me abundance of reward.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the threeness,
Through confession of the oneness,
Of the Creator of Creation.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some Like It Hot

Whilst watching the Gopher hockey squad down the Badgers tonight (A Minnesota-North Dakota WCHA tourney final? Who'd have thunk it?), I was also able to catch some of Marlo Lewis' presentation on C-Span that debunks much of what Al Gore espouses in "A Inconvenient Truth":

Marlo Lewis, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute talks about global climate change and critiques former Vice President Al Gore's Academy Award-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." Mr. Lewis finds the film's claims about climate science and climate policy to be unconvincing. Mr. Lewis spoke to congressional staff and the media in the Rayburn Office Building.

You can find a link to the video here.

Tomorrow at noon on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, we'll continue the discussion on global climate change with Dennis Avery, co-author of Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years. He brings some inconvenient truths about the history of natural climate variation to the table and dismisses most of the fears of global warming as overwrought scaremongering.

Tune in at 11am on AM1280 The Patriot here in the Twin Cities or listen live on the internet stream anywhere in the world. Feel free to join the fun by calling us at 651-289-4488, especially in you're a true believer in Al Gore's climate change camp. Don't you dare miss it!

Schadenball (In Progress)

It's too early to feel joy yet, but according to the latest NCAA Basketball Scores & Schedule from Yahoo!, Notre Dame is trailing hated Winthrop (named after Louis Winthorpe III) by twelve with seven minutes left in the game and Wisconsin is also down ten to Texas A&M Corpus Christi late in the first half.

UPDATE: The Irish have closed to four with about four minutes left. Go Eagles!

UPDATE II: Turn out the lights, the party's over. Winthrop beats Notre Dame by ten!

Texas A&M C.C. is up by nine in the second half. Go Islanders!

Now, if Lake Superior State (I was wearing my Lakers jersey as recently as last Saturday) can take care of business in the CCHA tourney, it will indeed be a capital day of Irish bashing.

Speaking of college puck, North Dakota has rolled up the newspaper and is beating the misbehaving Huskies about the head by a 5-2 score after two.

UPDATE III: Goooaaalllll!!! It's now 6-2 Sioux. Meanwhile on the hardcourt, the Badgers have come back and now lead Texas A&M C.C. by seven late in the contest.

UPDATE IV: In hockey, the Sioux win. In roundball, the Badgers prevail.