Saturday, December 31, 2005


Reposting this set of fours from my comment at Mitch Berg's:

1) Farmhand
2) Domino's Delivery Driver
3) Teaching Assistant
4) Computer Programmer

1) Quigley Down Under
2) Friday Night Lights
3) Star Wars
4) The Great Escape

1) The Guns of August
2) India: A Million Mutinies Now
3) Lord of Light
4) The Mote in God's Eye

1) Adrian, MN
2) Brookings, SD
3) Mpls/St.Paul, MN
4) Atlanta, GA

1) Mythbusters
2) House
3) Gilmore Girls ('til they jumped the shark...)
4) Columbo

1) Ireland
2) UK
3) Germany
4) Chicago

1) National Review Online
2) Instapundit
3) Arts and Letters Daily
4) Althouse

1) Lemon Grass Chicken
2) BBQ Beef/Pork/Chicken
3) Pizza
4) Indian

1) Kennedy Spaceflight Center
2) Ireland
3) Mexico City
4) Tokyo

And a Bonus catagory, since what fun is food without drink...

1) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
2) Basil Hayden's Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
3) Talisker
4) Midelton Very Rare Irish Whiskey

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Oh, Star Tribune...

You editorial types at the Strib should take a look at this work from your colleagues at the Chicago Tribune. Just be sitting down before you do, so there is no injury when the vapours strike. They concluded the fellow you so love to hate (that guy in the Oval Office) did NOT lie about Iraq. Would y'all like to reconsider a whole bunch of your editorials now? (via Instapundit)

The Conservative Mind

Jeffery Hart's essay in Opinion Journal is worth reading (especially by liberals) if only to remind people that there is an intellectual basis to conservatism. I don't have the ability to critique most of it, but there are a couple of points that I have some disagreement with.

On abortion, he contends that the Roe v. Wade decision was a libertarian one. With all due respect, it cannot be considered a libertarian decision if the child in the womb is considered to be human since the child's rights are not considered. If the fetus is not considered to be a child, there is still the question of ownership. Half the genetic material comes from another person who surely has an interest of some kind in the fetus, also not considered by Roe.

On foreign policy, he considers the GOP to be a party of Wilsonian utopianism, because George W. Bush has decided embrace democracy in the Middle East. I don't think Bush's policy has been chosen out of utopian impluse but out of pragmatism. The other types of 'realistic' foreign policy implemented in the past haven't improved (and maybe helped create) the mess the region is in now, so why not try democracy? It isn't utopian to look at a situation, and decide that trying the same failed solutions over and over again probably won't get us a better outcome this time.

I would like to unreservedly endorse his remarks about the environment. It is my belief that conservatives have not lived up to their ideals on this concern. Private propery rights and the free market by themselves are not a guarantee that the wild will be preserved or our environment will not be poisoned. Both can be useful tools but they rely on the goodness of human nature, which conservatives know to be flawed. Thus a need for some government intervention.

Overall, a fine essay well worth the read. For more debate over the contents there's plenty at The Corner. (Just keep scrolling).

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Those Sinister Conservatives

The Strib has detected an 'attack' on the Livable Communities program. Apparently questioning whether the best way to spend two and a half million dollars in project money on a park by the Mall of America and in Apple Valley is an attack, in the view of the Strib's editors.

Do the Strib's editors actually think that money couldn't be better spent in other parts of the metro? Especially since Bloomington and Apple Valley are both weathly suburbs that could come up with the money themselves if they really wanted the parks? I expect there are projects in Minneapolis, Richfield, St. Paul or other not-so-wealthy suburbs that would be of greater benefit. So why is questioning the spending an attack? Or are the questions bad because they are being asked by conservatives?

Now I expect that conservatives could make a pretty good case against providing tax subsidies to private developers, which doesn't fit in well with the idea of free markets. But from reading the items linked above, that wasn't the intent of the objections from Mr. Georgacas. So, is this more distortion from the Strib's editors?

More Sad Sack

My December 15th Strib went into the bushes rather than on my step last week, so I missed this lovely Sack cartoon (# 2 in the slide show) on the Iraqi elections. He portrays Iraqis as ducks in a shooting gallery, implying the courage and will shown by Iraqi citizens to vote in spite of threats of violence is futile. I imagine that describes the hallucinogen-inspired but reality-challenged views of the Star Tribune's editorial board perfectly.

Yes, there was some violence. But not a lot, and an estimated 66% of eligible Iraqi voters participated, including many Sunni Arabs. (Would that the U.S. have similar participation.) So, despite the perceptions of the Strib's editors, real progress continues to be made there. Not that Steve Sack noticed.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On the U of M and the Solomon Amendment

Today's Star Tribune has a commentary written by three faculty members of the University of Minnesota. Their purpose: taking Katherine Kersten to task over her column criticizing the Law School's suit challenging the Solomon Amendment, which makes equal campus access to military recuiters a condition for receiving grants from the federal government. Let's start with this:
First, let's make clear what she does not: the law school does not bar military recruiters. They get the same access every employer gets.
While technically true, the fact is they do indeed ban military recruiters because of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy dictated to the military by Congress. They use their anti-discrimination policy to justify it, but saying they do not ban recruiters is ludicrous on its face.

The law school follows the non-discrimination principles laid out by Minnesota's Human Rights Act and by the University Board of Regents' policy on equal employment opportunity. Accordingly, recruiters using the law school's facilities have long been required to pledge that they do not discriminate against our students on the basis of several criteria, including race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation.

These forms of discrimination are morally wrong, contrary to the values of the legal profession, and harmful to our students. For example, we would bar employers who refuse to hire black law students, women, or Catholics.

Similarly, we bar employers who discriminate against gay law students. However, under a federal law known as the Solomon Amendment, the whole university would lose all federal funding if the law school barred recruiters from the military, which in effect excludes gay Americans from service under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.

In 2004 alone, this would have jeopardized $351 million in federal grants to other parts of the university for important medical and scientific research. The law school, which is not dependent on federal funds for its operations, has neither the power nor the right to impose this huge penalty on the rest of the university. It's not that the law school's principles are for sale, as Kersten's column suggests, it's that our principles can't be enforced at others' expense.

This gets to the nub of things. If the rest of the university allows recruiters except for the law school (apparently in violation of University policy), isn't the principled course of action for the university to ban all recruiters from campus and not take the money? Federal grant money is not an entitlement, after all, and Congress is not required to make grants to the University if it doesn't want to. Congress also has a pretty free reign to attach conditions to that money. Congress also imposed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on the military. (I'm not claiming the military is chomping at the bit to admit gays, but the policy came from Congress.) Now since other parts of the campus do allow recuiters (and take the money), is it possible that the Law School has interpreted the policy incorrectly, or are their academic colleagues just sellouts to the Man? It seems fairly simple to me - if you don't want recruiters on campus, don't take the government money.

They also make the interesting claim that their First Amendment rights are being violated. How? If they object to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" they are "welcome to speak up" in the same way they advise students who disagree with the law school's discriminatory policy against the military. The faculty can protest, they can set an information booth next to recuiter to explain their point of view, etc. . I guess it's less work to ban the dissenting viewpoint instead of engaging it. As far as the possibility of money being denied to other schools on campus, no one said that First Amendment rights are consequence-free.

I also find it interesting how little they trust their own students. The faculty seems to think the mere presence of recuiters at the law school will turn their students into raging homophobes. On the contrary, their students are adults in their own right and are quite capable evaluating the pros and cons of military service for themselves without faculty indoctrination or interference. If these faculty really believed in the First Amendment, they wouldn't be trying to "protect" their students this way in the first place.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I wonder

what Susan Lenfestey and the editors of the Star Tribune would have to say to this Marine.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Here's a Carey Tennis demonstrating his support for democracy at Salon. Anyone who actually believes in democracy wouldn't be writing junk like that, and if he hadn't flunked his civics classes in elementary school he would know there will be a change in administration in 2009.

Salon must be in dire straits to keep publishing this kind of junk.

It must be a cold day in Hades,

because I'm actually argeeing with something Syl Jones wrote. How weird is that? I oppose the death penalty, but I can't see why Tookie Williams deserves more mercy than other murderers who have been executed by the state of California. Having celebrity friends doesn't count, and I'm pretty sure he ain't innocent. I can't say that I have a lot of sympathy for the man who gave us the Crips. It might have helped if he at least took responsibility for his actions and expressed regret for them, but he is unwilling to do even that.

More of the Usual Lenfestey Garbage

The Star Tribune, in its quest to provide a platform for Bush-hating moonbats sound, logical analysis of the Bush administration, has printed another Bush-bashing piece from Susan Lenfestey.

She purports to explain why it is necessary for opponents of the current administration to abandon moderation and civility for the kind of expression she prefers. Stuff like this, or maybe this is more to her liking. Or perhaps stuff like this (via Michelle Malkin) . She probably considers stuff like this to be supportive of our soldiers. What a load of crap.

Her argument is since the government under Bush has become 'uncivil' and is a disaster (unproven by anything she writes here) that any extreme of rhetoric is justified. Not that she can demonstrate how the Administration has become "uncivil", of course. She just disagrees with them.

Her objections to Bush can be condensed basically to she disagrees with the decision to invade Iraq. Like pretty much every other ant-war Democrat, she repeats the the "Bush Lied" accusation, and she fails to say how the liberals and the Democrats would have handled the Iraq situation any better. She also fails to apologize to the Iraqi people for not leaving them under the despotic rule of a murderous dictator, the natural consequence of her position on the war.

Her position seems to be "I disagree with you, so I can make any dishonest, extreme argument I want, regardless of merit." Earth to Lenfestey: That ain't good enough. Oh, and keep spewing the bile - then you can greet President Guliani or President McCain in 2009.

There was one number in her piece that caught my attention. If anyone out there actually reads this and knows something about the subject, could anyone tell me if a single Marine air wing could deliver 500,000 tons of bombs to Iraq since 2003? Is that a reasonable number? Thanks.

Update: If Iraq is the hell Ms. Lenfestey thinks it is why do most Iraqis think life is getting better?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Waiting for the DA

Our boys in purple have won their sixth straight this week and as predicted by many, much of furor over their nautical exploits of October appears to have faded. There's even serious (if not yet warranted) talk about a playoff run.

Before we welcome them back with open arms however, I'd like to wait and see what the DA says. Actually, I have no idea one way or the other whether or not these guys (whichever ones were there) have committed offenses against anything other than good taste and decorum. But if drug and/or prostitution charges are filed, it'll take some of the fun out of it.

What is the Democrat Strategy

Reading this at Althouse (along with the comments) just reinforces something I've noticed about the Democrats ever since the invasion of Iraq.

First the treatment the Dem's rank and file gives to Democrats who don't toe the Dean/Pelosi line on Iraq. Apparently dissent from the position that Iraq is a mistake and an unwinnable quagmire is verboten among the ranks of the Donkeys, and apostates like Joe Lieberman will be punished.

Second, the refusal of the anti-war crowd to even acknowledge the existence of evidence the current situation in Iraq is not an unmitigated disaster. Admittedly the media makes it easier via its singular focus on the problems of the occupation, while not saying anything about the successes. Still, wilfully ignoring facts that don't agree with one's political desires is stupid.

Third, given the Dem's insistence that Bush's execution of the war and occupation are completely incompetent, what is their superior plan? Unless they really believe running away and throwing a fledgling democracy to the wolves is the way to go, where is their winning strategy? If memory serves, I seem to recall that John Kerry's plan for Iraq was basically to do what the administration was already doing, only better. (What "better" meant was unclear.)

So Democrats, where's your better ideas?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Why the GOP wins elections, part II

More reason why a lot of people (myself included) can't take the Dems seriously. The cartoon really doesn't deserve a response as it is just another example (albeit a more disgusting, reprehensible one) of the use of the politics of personal destruction by Democrats and their fellow travelers on the Left. Since a reasoned response isn't really needed, let's talk feelings here.

Mr. Oliphant, your cartoon is a fine example of a mean-spirited work drawn by a no-talent historical illiterate whose drawing ability is only slightly better than those of that other cartoonist you split a half-wit with, Ted Rall. This cartoon says more about you and your employers than it does about President Bush, and if you had an ounce of sensitivity or respect for the craft you would be ashamed of yourself.

(via Michelle Malkin)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

From the "Why the GOP wins" dept.

Way to support the troops, Governor Dean.


You guys might consider taking my advice from a few days ago.

Books, Covers and all that

Via Instapundit, a story that reminds us that being a phony is not a trait that comes with a political label, and that all who claim bias are being completely truthful, even when the tale appeals to our prejudices. More stuff from the Volokhs.
Exercise condemnation with caution, however, since Professor Bradford's side of the story has not been disclosed yet. It is interesting, however, that the Indiana University law school did not really vet this guy before hiring him... .

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Just Because I Can

I just wanted to post this photo taken at the British Museum. No particular reason, just because I liked it. Unfortunately, I can't remember who this big fellow represents. I guessing it's one of the Pharoahs, but I don't know which one (Ramses, maybe?)

Here's something we won't see in the Strib

Iraqi Sunnis helping the Marines.

Join the MOB!

Yep, you too can join the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers at Keegan's Pub on December 17th (starting 5pm to whenever) for a pre-Christmas evening of fun and wit. Naturally I've opted to raise the level of wit and fun by not being able to come (the dreaded pre-existing commitment) but that only improves things for everyone else.

For a fellow with no life, I sure have a talent for conflicts with MOB events, damnit!

Score One for the Good Guys

More proof, contrary to the administration's critics, that the hunt for al-Qaida bigwigs continues. Here's hoping he gets a nasty surprise when Allah judges him... .

Bent, but unbroken

Turns out that some of those old buildings are tougher than they look. I remember Zip feeds from the farm I grew up on. You could find the empty bags in all sorts of unexpected places roofs, chicken coops, etc. years after the stuff wasn't sold in our area. In a weird anthrpomorphic way, it's nice to see the old mill had some fight left in it after all.

Update: there was also video of the demolition at the Argus Leader.

Sucking Wind....

Haven't been blogging much of late, mostly because having colds while being asthmatic really rather sucks. It is undoubtedly a boon for those in the business of selling pharmaceuticals and the tissue I've went through has undoubtedly deforested a small county, but it's hard to keep up with the news when your lungs decide that air is really an irritating foreign substance.