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.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Democrats may not like President Bush's ideas on how to win the war in Iraq, but this at QandO demonstrates their lack of ideas (or coherent thought, for that matter) on how to do better. More evidence the Dems are more concerned about beating Bush (who isn't running for anything) than the best interests of the United States. Unless they believe a US defeat in Iraq is better for us, of course. Not to mention even more reasons why I'm glad John Kerry isn't president of the United States. (I can't say that GWB pleases me much, but Kerry makes him look like Abraham Lincoln.)

The irony is, if they would put in the effort to come up with a better strategy for the Middle East, or a better way to success in Iraq, they could win in a walk in 2006. Instead, they carp and whine. If they don't pick up seats in 2006, they've no one but themselves to blame.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Here's a letter that the Strib's editors should take to heart:

Here's where to start

How refreshing! The Star Tribune calls on President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and all Republicans in Congress to vow to start a meaningful, respectful debate.

Why doesn't this include all Democrats and especially the Star Tribune editorial page contributors?

Does this mean no more cartoon caricatures of the president as a puppet sitting on someone's lap? Does this mean no more articles contributed by such writers as Molly Ivins referring to the president as "Dubya"? Does this mean no submissions from writers making personal attacks on his intelligence or calling him a liar?

My God! How will you ever fill your editorial and opinion pages?


Mr. Clemens, I salute you! May I suggest the Star Tribune start the DFL side of the discussion by refraining from this. (note: flash animation) Then, they might even attempt to grapple with conservative ideas, rather than sneering at them, but that is undoubtedly too much to ask.

Soon to Appear at a Jail in California...

Randy Cunningham, ex-Congressman. Good riddance. 'Tis a shame that his best days were over Vietnam.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


For Scotland and Freedom!

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0

Well, the other choices were Batman or the Terminator, what do you expect?
created with

Monday, November 21, 2005

Walking the Line

Saw "I Walk the Line" last night at the theater with friends, and must admit it was better than I expected. For vague reasons I've never been fond of singer biopics, somehow they just don't interest me much. I've always liked Johnny Cash though and maybe that made a difference. There seemed to be a lot of other people who liked it as well, as the theater was full on a Sunday night.

The move covered the early part of Cash's life up to when he peformed a Folsom Prison in 1968. I'm not a student of the guy's life, so I did learn a few things about him I didn't know. First was what a s**t he was during his time as a drunk. I also didn't realize just how long he was a pill-popping drunk. 13 years is a long time to live in a bottle, pill or beer. He came back from a fairly deep hole, but he was fortunate in that he had some money when the crack-up came, and he had June Carter. Maybe she was enough, I guess.

Insanity on the Other Side

Ok, well both are the other side if you're an independent, but in this case it's the Dems who have a problem. If this guy and commenters represent their base, I just don't know what to say. (via Michelle Malkin)

Well, maybe this: if you're going to characterize the people you disagree with as evil and criminal, it is helpful to actually be able to cite some evidence. The same goes for accusations of fascism and authoritarianism and other assorted garbage. It also would do to remember that the Bush administration is not a regime, nor is it a dictatorship, they are not trying to destroy the damn country, and someone else will be in office come January 20, 2009. Those of you out there who want a Democrat to be that person need to cultivate patience and rediscover your sanity, or it won't happen. How about respecting the idea that Republicans and conservatives have principles and ideals as well, their disagreement does not make them evil.

Speaking as an independent, I would like to see the DFL become a more effective opposition party. If nothing else it helps keep the GOP honest. Unfortunately, although I don't have much affection for the GOP, I have come to despise the current version of the Democratic Party. Why? Part of it is the vitriol, bile, and hate speech that comes in a torrent from the party of "tolerance". Another part of it is the inability to actually propose something constructive. The whole of the DFL seems to have decided that hating Bush is enough, and has never gotten over the 2000 election. Why should I vote for your guys when all you can offer is "We hate Bush"? Give me something to vote for.

Quit whining about the fact our forces are in Iraq. If you're convinced the administration is fighting this war incompetently, don't just sit there whining and bitching about it, show me how we can win it. Don't promise me an economy that will give me handouts because globalization makes me unemployed, what policies do you have that can create the conditions to allow me to make my own way? In other words, don't snark and complain, make an argument.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Overlooked Days in History

What do I mean? Read this at Samizdata. It's a shame the Velvet Revolution seems to have been lost in the shuffle of history.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

After reading this at Instapundit's and the other blog posts linked from it, I have two questions.

First, what does one call the people on the Democratic side of the aisle who have been selling the "Bush Lied!" lie? Unpatriotic probably is not the term, since these people have undoubtedly convinced themselves that their dishonesty is "for the good of the country". Make no bones about it, this is a story that has been dishonestly presented. See this Norman Podhoretz' piece for a rebuttal of the "Bush Lied" view.

Second, given the uncritical reporting of the Democratic version of the Iraq war debate by the media here in the US, are there any journalists out there who are disgusted at total lack of scrutiny of what the Dems were saying to the public, if only as a matter of journalistic craftsmanship? Or is that unimportant in a profession whose membership skews Democratic by a 7:1 ratio?

A bonus question based on the comments to the Matt Welch piece at Hit and Run: Given the difference between what journalists report from Iraq (mostly negative) vs. the reporting being done by the soldiers themselves via milblogs etc. which appears to be considerably more positive than press accounts, how likely is it journalists are giving us a complete picture of what is going in Iraq? What effect does the skewed narrative have on the conduct of the war in Iraq? (Gives encouragement to the Islamists and Baathist murderers, I expect)

Monday, November 14, 2005

City vs. Suburb

Over at a Shot in the Dark, Mitch Berger expounds on the good vs. not-so-good parts of living in the city, and gets a spirited response from the from the suburbanites at Freedom Dogs and the Fraters', with the Warrior Monk chiming in from Minneapolis.

Since I never pass up opportunities to spout an opinion that no one will ever read on a subject that I only have passing familiarity with, here's how I resolved the dilemma. I work in Eagan, but when I finally decided to buy a home and started looking there, it became rather obvious that I would be living somewhere else (the laughter from my real estate agent when I mentioned the price I could afford and Eagan in the same breath was my first clue). I ended up looking at the places in the first ring suburbs and in St. Paul. Minneapolis was ruled out immediately because I was pretty sure the city government there would drive me insane, and because the taxes there were rather a lot higher than in St Paul and the 'burbs. The northern 'burbs were affordable, if I was willing to drive an hour each way to work, and the communities on the south side of the river were higher priced than I could pay.

With some trepidation I started looking in St. Paul becuase there were homes there with prices that I could almost afford. After looking at various homes on the East Side I ended up in a modest three bedroom house near 3M that is close to quite a few amenities and was under 200K. So in a word, price was the controlling factor. The neighborhood is actually kind of a nice compromise between the 'real' city and the suburbs, being at the edge of Maplewood but only a 20 minute bus ride to downtown, with shopping, parks, and a library in walking distance. The lots are smaller but that just means less yard work. And I don't even have any bullet holes in the walls... .

I feel the need for an ale,

'cause I'm


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

And here I thought that my liking for stouts was merely a matter of taste.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Speaking of Katherine Kersten...

the Strib's Reader's Representative wrote a column about the reaction of the Strib's readership to her hiring. It seems that she gets plenty of hate mail from those nice, tolerant, diversity-loving liberals who find a conservative metro columnist to be not included in their definitions of "diversity". Are the letters expressing disappointment at their own failure to respect diversity? Nope. They are demanding that Kersten be fired. How disillusioning... .

I wonder about the folks complaining about her, sometimes. Here's a letter from Sunday's Strib about Kersten's 11/04 column about the latest group of local anti-war protesters (no link available yet):

With her Nov. 4 column, "Students should take another look at antiwar rally", Katherine Kersten once again fails to recognize the role of educated citizens in a democracy.

She appears to be a proponent of totalitarian government - her way or no way. She defines patriotism as unthinking fealty. Perhaps her homework should be to read what life is like for all people under totalitarian regimes.

I am proud of our children who believe in causes and civilly act on them. Perhaps there is hope for a future flourishing democratic United States.

I can't really express how silly this letter is. First, here's a link to Kersten's column. See if you can find where she equates patriotism with support for totalitarianism. Hint: she doesn't unless one equates totalitarian with the Bush administration, which marks the letter's author as having Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS). Kersten was describing (and disapproving of ) the organization organizing the march. That is her right under the Constitution establishing this republic, after all. Nor was she saying the students didn't have the right to protest. She just was asking those who supported the march to examine the motives of the organizers. The letter writer obviously equates criticism with censorship or being unpatriotic or some other nonsense.

Of course there could be a simpler explanation. The letter writer simply didn't bother to actually read Kersten's column before bitching about it. Thus the Strib shouldn't have bothered to publish her letter, either.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On Nov. 4, Katherine Kersten characterized Socialist Alternative, the organizers of the 11/2 protests, as being Marxists. The Strib prints this commentary from Ty Moore, an organizer from Socialist Alternative, who complains that Kersten was 'red-baiting'. He then attempts to rebut her by agreeing with what she said about Ty's organization. For example,

We want to replace capitalism with a system of democratic control of the economy from below. Instead of industry and government being run by the super-rich, we believe the top 500 corporations should be put under the control of elected workplace committees, and production organized around a democratic plan. All economic decisions, from foreign policy to wage scales, should be decided democratically, based on human and environmental needs, not the short-term profit drive of CEOs and wealthy investors.

This has nothing to do with the Stalinist dictatorships that Kersten implies we are aiming to re-create.

I don't know ,Ty, but so far the track record of places that have tried the things you describe is that they always seem to turn into those Stalinist dictatorships that you don't intend to re-create. Sounds pretty Marxist to me, anyway. In any case, how can Moore accuse Kersten of red-baiting when she accurately describes what Moore's organization believes?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Paris Burning

There seems to be two schools of thought on the internet about what is driving the rioting in France. On one side we have the argument that it is Islamism driving the violence. The other school of thought is the rioting is due to frustration caused by the lack of economic opportunity, the institutional racism of the native French, and unwillingness of many of the North African, mainly Muslim immigrants to assimilate properly as French citizens.

Personally, I see no reason why both theories can't be true. They can be symbiotic, each feeding off the other. Lack of opportunity and social mobility breed frustration, and Islamists present themselves as a way out. At the same time, the Islamists claim the anger is justified and proper. White (for lack of a better term) Frenchmen see the agitation and become even more suspicious of the recent arrivals from Africa and the Middle East., thus reducing the available opportunities for immigrants to make a better life for themselves. Each reinforces the other.

How to deal with it? I don't know. It does seem the first step would be to restore order. After that, some means needs to be found by which the first and second generation of immigrants in the ghettos can find a way out of their predicament. That of course is the really hard part.

A Pretty Typical Election Day

here in St. Paul. In other words, everyone I voted for lost. Here's hoping my taxes don't go as high as I think they will.

Election Day

Don't forget to vote today. (Ok, maybe not you dead guys in Jersey...)
It's always heartening to see evidence that Al Qaeda isn't uniformly popular in the Middle East. (via Norman Geras)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Why I don't forgive

the actions and words of the attendees of the Wellstone memorial service/campaign rally. This post is a reaction to this Strib opinion piece from Sarah Janecek chiding those who still hold the happenings of the memorial against the DFL. Like Katherine Kersten.

I'm not inclined to quote it, it makes more sense to read the whole thing, and Kersten's piece if one feels the need. Essentially, Janecek's position seems to be that people should not hold a grudge over the actions of the crowd and the speakers at the Paul Wellstone memorial service, becuase the things that were said and done there came from grief. I agree those who planned the memorial probably weren't cynically using the occasion for political purposes. I don't have a problem with her criticism of Kersten, although reading her criticism inclines me to think she missed the point of Kersten's column. On the rest, I beg to differ.

The people who harassed Governor Ventura, who booed the Republicans who came to pay their respects, the folks who snubbed the Vice President knew what they were doing. Likewise, the people who wrote the speeches knew what they were writing, and what they were saying. They meant what they were saying. The fact the speeches weren't vetted doesn't change that. These are the same sort of people who demanded Trent Lott's head for what probably was an attempt to flatter a fellow Senator on his 100th birthday. The same people who mercilessly roast conservatives over the coals for mistatements and nastiness but give their fellow DFLers a pass for saying egregious falsehoods about conservatives and GOPers. So I think they should continue to reap the whirlwind of their words and actions, until this political controversy dies its own natural death. May it happen soon.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I just want to draw attention to this Cathy Young post about abortion and men's reproductive rights (or actually lack of same). Also see this one from her as well.

To those that would say that if men don't want to be fathers "they should keep their pants on", I have one question: why shouldn't the same standard apply to the ladies?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another Day, Another

non-sequitor of an editorial in the Star Tribune. The editors have chosen the Lewis Libby indictment as an occasion to print another "Bush lied" editorial. But first, they start out with a hefty dose of hypocrisy:
Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, stands indicted for lying to a grand jury and obstructing investigators probing the outing of an undercover CIA operative. These are serious charges brought by a serious prosecutor. They are not, as some would have it, "technicalities." You can't have justice unless people cooperate with criminal investigations and tell the truth when they have sworn an oath to do so.

Certainly if Libby lied to the grand jury he should be appropriately punished. The Star Tribune's endorsement of the idea that one should be punished for perjury comes rather late, as they were rather cool to the idea when the liar was President Clinton. Then, it was "only about sex" and thus unimportant.

The rest of the editorial is an attempt to cast a policy disagreement as a crime. The usual allegation of taking the country to war in Iraq on shaky intelligence is made, without mentioning that most of the world's intellegence services agreed that Hussein's Iraq was working on or had possession of WMDs. It also ignores the other arguments made in favor or removing Hussein, implying the only reason for the invasion was WMDs.

The editorial accuses the administration of "smearing" Joseph Wilson while ignoring the fact that what the administration said about Wilson was in the main correct , and omitting the fact that Wilson's version of events as reported in the New York Times was not what Wilson reported to the CIA (as noted by the Senate's investigation of the intelligence failures in Iraq).

To the Strib's partisan clowns - where's the thousand crimes?

Friday, October 28, 2005

A little car-blogging

I thought I'd try my hand at a little car blogging today. If it's good enough for Kaus and the Instapundit.... .

A week ago Friday I had the chance to test drive a 2006 Ford Fusion. My car was at the dealership for some routine maintenance, and while I was killing time in the lot a salesman even more bored than I was tried selling me on a small SUV.

I told him his time would be better spent with someone who actually was interested in buying a car, but apparently those people were in short supply that day as well. He was good enough at what he does to find out from me what kind of car I'd be looking at if I actually was buying one, and I found myself agreeing to a test drive.

The Fusion is the replacement for Ford's Taurus. The car I drove was the SEL model with a 3.0L V6 rated at 221 horsepower - about 50 more than my current seven year old Contour and almost as much as the 5.0L '89 Mustang I used to own. The car accelerates decently (at least compared to my '98)and got down the freeway on-ramps with power to spare. The 6-speed automatic took some getting used to - it just seemed busy when accelerating from a stop. The car rides well if a bit firmly, and it went where I pointed it without any fuss. Cornering at speed - I can't say, since I wanted to be careful with a car that wasn't mine (I mean, they know who I am there). The milage looks like it would be a bit less (21/29 vs. 22/30 for the old car) and the thing had more gadgets than I knew what to do with. I guess when you keep cars a long time the natural march of technology just makes the standard load of gadgets more impressive.

Inside, the car was done in leather (I'm one of those people who prefer cloth, what can I say?) and the color scheme was basic black, with not much chrome or anything else to distract. Compared to my Contour, it's very quiet, and the 6 disc CD changer was rather nice. All in all, if I was actually in the market, I might consider one.

Alas, one thing hasn't changed: new car smell + me = asthma attack. Annoying on a daily basis, which probably provides a neat excuse for buying used cars all the time (besides my natural cheapness, of course...).

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Oil for Food, coming to

a local company near you... . Of the estimated 2200 companies implicated by a UN report on the OFF program for paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein, KARE-11 TV reports 2 of them are based here in Minnesota. Yep, Cargill and St. Jude Medical were fingered for kickbacks, Cargill to the tune of $81,000 and St. Jude Medical for about $650,000.

It sure doesn't do much for that squeaky-clean Minnesota image....

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Just Because

Here is an image from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), a view of galaxy Centaurus A, taken with UV, Infrared and X-ray cameras.

The photo is linked gallery of images from GALEX.

Deja Vu, Anyone?

I found this article at NASA's website discussing the vehicles that will be taking us back to the moon. Here's an artist's conception of what the lunar vehicles will look like. Deja vu, anybody?

I guess after 35 years I was hoping we could come up with something better.

So George, didn't

you notice the noose (pdf file) on the end of the rope Norm Coleman was handing you?

Georgie isn't a big fish, but it's still good to see a blustering, sycophantic suckweasel to Saddam get the right kind of light shown on him. Let's see if he can crawl back under his rock as fast as he came out.

All in all, it couldn't have happenend to a nicer guy.

(via Harry's Place)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Howard Dean,

the gift that keeps on giving - to the GOP, that is...
"I'm tired of the ayatollahs of the right wing," Dean said. "We're fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're going to fight for freedom in America."

Well, at least he admits that it's freedom that our soldiers are fighting for in Iraq. Now if he could just figure out that Republicans are not ayatollahs.
(via Drudge).

I oppose the Miers nomination

I oppose the Miers nomination. (just in case the Ecosystem didn't pick it up from the title)
Not all that long ago, I wrote a
post chiding John Podhoretz and other conservatives for what I felt was an unwarrented elitism running through their crticism of the Miers nomination. After further consideration, I feel compelled to oppose her nomination.

Why? Two reasons. The first is that she has just not impressed me as having the right abilities to be on the Court. Admittedly, there isn't much info out there to work with, but I do expect that a Justice be able to reason clearly and communicate that reasoning for a decision just as clearly. What little of her writing I've seen doesn't support the idea that she can. I admit to being a bit biased when I found out she is a supporter of race and gender based affimative action. I cannot understand how the Constitution (and the 14th amendment) can be read in a way that allows unequal treatment under the law based on race, but I digress. Obviously, I'm not a lawyer, so I may not be the best judge of her writings.

The second reason is even her supporters do not seem to know how to sell the nomination. She's presented as one thing to one group, another thing to another group. It's all very muddled. If her own supporters can't make a clear case for her being a justice (beyond the "trust the president on this" line), perhaps it's because they can't. If so, the president should find someone else.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This is probably a waste of effort, but I wrote a letter to Senator Norm Coleman today asking him why he voted against the Coburn amendments. I also expressed my disappointment in the GOP's inability to exercise the restraint on spending promised by them when they were campaigning for office. After all, if I wanted DFL-type spending from Congress, I would have voted Democratic.

I can't say I expect anything but a boilerplate response, but when/if I get a response I'll post it on the blog.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Is it possible

for the lefties in Berkeley to set aside their hostility to the military and to George W. Bush for even one day?

Apparently not.

(via Michelle Malkin)

Not even one hour, apparently. I just have one request for the Berkeley Veteran's Day organizing committee: Grow up. If you don't agree with the cause, you can at least have the good grace to honor the good faith and service of those who have answered the call, many of whom have died in our service. Not Bush's service. Not the "neocons" service. Service to the citizens and Constitution of the United States of America.

Please. Can't you drop the damn politics for just one damn hour?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knowing your opponent

I was "leafing" through the archives of Dissent (an intellectual magazine of the Left) from 2002 (which covered the period of the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath), and I couldn't help but notice references to conservatives as the "authoritarian right" or hubristic statements like this:

Liberals and radicals are the only people in politics who can insist on closing the gap between America as the apotheosis of democratic strivings and the sordid realities of greed and arrogance that often betray it.

This, out of an otherwise interesting piece about patriotism and the Left, helps illustrate what I think is one of the great flaws of the American and European Left, however they are defined. The flaw is their inability or unwillingness to objectively evaluate their political opposition.

In the case of the American lefties, they seem to be unable to separate US conservatives from the images of brownshirted thugs. In so doing, they close themselves to the truth (or possibility if one prefers) that conservatives have cherished values, principles, and goals, with some of said goals and values being pretty similar to those of the Left - democracy, opportunity, liberty, stuff like that. Instead, we get Marxist class rhetoric and writing that basically writes off the other side as stupid, dishonest money-grubbing imperial oppressors and such.

Perhaps those intellectuals on the Left should read some Buckley, some Hayek, read though some National Reviews and Weekly Standards, rather than get their views on the Right filtered through the Nation, The New Republic or the New York Times. The Right is not primarily Limbaugh and Michael Savage, after all.

One other thing - could someone explain what the phrase "social justice" means? I see it used a lot in publications of the left, but no one ever bothers to explain what it means as if we are somehow born knowing it, even before we pick up little tricks like spoken language. Does "social justice " have a single defined meaning or is it one of those vague catch phrases that are used to bond without actually having a definite meaning?

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Gentleman's 'D'

I heard John Podhoretz's segment on the Hugh Hewitt show about the Harriet Miers nomination and I must confess to a certain disappointment. On this subject, he came across as rather a snob. One would think that Mr. Podhoretz could allow that 25 years experience practicing law might actually lead to some knowledge of it but apparently practicing law isn't anywhere near as valuable as writing about it, in his view. From his tone, one could get the idea that he considers himself a better choice for the Court than Miers.

Does he really think that extensive experience practicing law, managing a large law firm, serving as White House counsel are intellectually undemanding exercises? Could it be his patently unfair 'D' grade of Ms. Miers is partially due to his disappointment that a Luttig or Janice Rogers Brown wasn't picked this time? Perhaps he should get his head out of the ivory tower, instead.

Look. This post isn't a defense of the nomination. I'm certainly not a Constitutional scholar, nor am I an expert politician. But. The fact is that the criticisms that I have seen from conservatives seems to be along the lines of "we didn't get the person we wanted, this one must be incompetent". The one valid complaint I've seen is the nomination smacks of cronyism. Given her membership in Bush's inner circle, that one's got some traction. But that fact does not establish incompetence (or competence for that matter). At this point, the only accurate thing that can be said about her qualifactions is that she would not be the only Justice was not a constitutional lawyer, and that we don't really know how competent she would be. Hopefully the hearings will provide some insight into the issue. Until then, why not reserve judgement instead of trashing the lady before she has a chance to make a case?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I had the misfortune of spending about 20 minutes listening to the Mike Malloy program on our local Air America affiliate this evening. It was an unexpectedly difficult exercise, but I did learn some things from it:

First, that Mr. Malloy seems to think that invective and personal attacks are the equivalent of making an argument. In the time I listened, I was treated to a nasty description of Newt Gingrich's sex life, informed that Republicans want to destroy America. Why? He doesn't say. In the whole block of time, he did not make a single statement in support of his assertion.

Second, if Malloy's off-air personality is similar to the on-air one he appears to be a narrow, intolerant, contemptible excuse for a human being.

Third, if he qualifies as one of Air America's stars, they've sure defined down the term 'star'.

If this is how the left defines the equivalent of conservative talk radio, they need to think again. The only right-wing talker I know of even close to being this obnoxious is the reactionary Michael Savage. The others at least can make an argument.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Jeff Jarvis Endorses "Fake but Accurate"

Jeff Jarvis writes a post criticizing Tim Russert for asking pointed questionsof Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard about his false story of how the Feds being responsible for the death of a 92 year old woman in a Louisiana nursing home during Hurricane Katrina. Money graf:
Too much of journalism is turning this way today: If we nitpick the facts and follow some rules some committee wrote up, we’ll be safe; we’re doing our jobs. No, sir, our job is to get more than the facts. Anybody can get facts. Facts are the commodity. The truth is harder to find. Justice is harder to fight for. Lessons are what we’re after.

Mr Jarvis fails to comprehend that facts in many cases are not so easy to get. Many of the controversial issues of the day are controversial (at least in part) because we are unable to agree what the facts are. Abortion is an example, becuase we are still unable to determine when life begins.

Facts are the building blocks of truth, as logic and reason is the mortar. You can't have truth without them and those who misuse and abuse facts should be called on it, even when you agree with them.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Metrodome Matrimony

This Saturday I had the opportunity to attend my first baseball wedding. Two friends chose to tie the knot at the Metrodome with 82 other couples. 'Twas an interesting experience especially for the Twins and WCCO, methinks. It had bit of a disorganized feel to it, the feel of something that neither organization had tried before.

Unsurprisingly the ceremony was a civil service, since unless you're Rev. Sung Yung Moon it's pretty hard to put together a religious ceremony that would be appropriate for this sizeable group. (The diverse part would have daunted even him.) I was surprised at the mention of God in the ceremony though. The fellow officiating did manage to avoid the use of phrasing like "Do you [state your name] take this...", thus avoiding at least on opportunity for jokes. In any case the ceremony went off pretty well and I didn't even screw up my part holding up a piece of heart in the card section.

Congratulations Laurel and Kevin, and may your lives together be long and happy ones.

And yes, the Twins beat the White Sox 5-0, with Johan Santana fanning 13 Sox along the way.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Why I ignore TV critics

Neal Justin has decided the press are true heroes of Katrina. Why, because they got mad (at President Bush, of course). I guess the requirements of heroism are perfect hair, a microphone, a cameraman and a rescue effort to complain about. Apparently carping at the inevitable errors, foul-ups, and fog of confusion that is part and parcel of responding to a catastrophe is heroic. I do have a couple of questions for Mr. Justin, however.

1. How many people did the press save? Say, as compared to the Red Cross, the United States Armed Forces, the National Guard, and all of the other first responders in the Gulf Coast states hit by Katrina?

2. How well did any of the people mentioned in your column explain the process by which federal assistance is provided to states and smaller locales in the event of a natural disaster. Did they mention that the Department of Defense was able to get resources moving towards LA in half the time required to do so in 1992 for Hurricane Andrew? Did the Times-Picayune read their own stories about the poor preparedness of the city of New Orleans and the State of Louisiana before writing their open letter criticizing the feds? How often did the people Justin holds up as models report on the efforts of the US Coast Guard, rescuing people along the Gulf coast as early as the day after Katrina struck?

3. Mr. Justin, in what way is the government (which government, by the way? there is more than one level involved in the relief effort) intimidating the press? How many reporters have been put in jail for reporting on the relief effort? Does criticism of press reporting by government officials qualify as intimidation? I hope the press is sufficiently thick-skinned as to be able to accept criticism, but maybe our brave guardians of freedom find it just too intimidating. What a shame. In what way is the goverment turning the public against the press? I thought the press' declining reputation has a lot to do with lousy, sloppy, and occasionally biased reporting, not the nonexistent PSAs from Uncle Sam warning us against the evil press. Silly me.

A Moment of Reflectlion

for those who died 4 years ago today. For those who were on the planes, and those who dared fire and rubble to aid those caught in the Towers and the Pentagon.

A moment of sympathy for those who lost loved ones on that fall day turned bleak, four years ago today.

For the hijacker/murderers, nothing but contempt. For them and for all they thought they stood for. For what they stood for, a reserved spot in the ash heap of history.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Relief

I've been away on vacation and getting the house insulated (yep, even in this climate builders didn't always choose to insulate), so no blogging of late.. Nor will there be much until after Labor Day. Today, just a word about Katrina.

What has happened along our Gulf Coast is almost too appalling for words. Rather than bloviate about it, I just want to direct attention to organizations that are trying to do good down there and could use a bit of your money. I'll start with :

The American Red Cross

I see that Instapundit has already compiled quite a list of links to relief organizations, so check it out.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


From this story in Tuesday's Star Tribune, we learn that Medica spent two and a half million dollars defending itself against our camera-loving Attorney General, Mike Hatch. I hope this embarrasses him, since the citizens of Minnesota are going to get screwed both ways - 2.5 million of costs Medica will pass on to its customers, and the 100,000 spent by Hatch's office paid in taxes levied on those same customers and the rest of Minnesota taxpayers. Wonderful.

Pat Robertson, Idiot

Pat Robertson demonstrates once again indulges in his penchant for saying idiot things by advocating the assassination of Hugo Chavez. Just as the Democrats have to suffer Howard Dean and Barbara Boxer, the GOP has its Pat. The difference is the Republicans don't make their wackos DNC chairman or elect them to Congress.

I wonder whose idiot remarks will get more criticism from the MSM, Robertson's or Cindy Sheehan's?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nick Coleman, Twit

Nick Coleman, current holder of the Most Hateful Star Tribune Columnist Award, wrote a snide piece (I'll link it when I can access the Strib's website) in Wednesday's Strib about his dislike of the University of North Dakota's efforts to keep its team nickname, the Fighting Sioux. UND had the termerity to actually object to the new NCAA policy banning Indian logos, mascots, and nicknames at NCAA post-season games. Just the kind of politically correct garbage favored by people of Nick's political persuasion. The University president, Charles Kupchella, wrote an open letter to the NCAA detailing the University's objections to the policy.

Rather than actually evaluate President Kupchella's arguments, Coleman spends several hundred words calling him a toady to a dead guy. That's our Nick - never make a reasoned argument when there is an ad hominem to hand.

Do us a favor, Nick. Get a job in Berkeley. We'll both be more comfotable with you there.

Things as they should be

I did a couple of Google searches to see what kind of reaction there would be to the news that Coleen Rowley and Becky Loury were making a pilgrimage to Crawford in support of Cindy Sheehan. Some of the lefty blogs seem to be efflusively praising it, but nothing from the righty blogs. That seems appropriate. Why is it news, after all, when politicians act like politicians?

Note: Ms. Rowley is presently running for the US House seat presently held by John Kline. That makes her a politician. Exploiting a dead soldier for political gain seals it. Any denials of political motives by her are laughable.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Syl Jones Writes, Syl Jones Wrong

The Strib's second most hateful writer (only because Nick Coleman writes more often), Syl Jones gives us this piece of reasoned, thoughtful prose in today's Star Tribune.

The point of it, (if he actually has one) is that there is no leadership in this country and what leadership exists is morally corrupt. His "proof" is to give a laundry list of complaints that are pretty much the MoveOn type-laundry list:

  • Tim Pawlenty's "No New Taxes" pledge (as if MoveOn actually even notices MN)
  • Bush "lied" about WMDs in Iraq (Not proven. Best conclusion from the facts, he listened to intel folks - not just ours - who believed they were there.)
  • We liberated the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Bush gave the press the middle finger (disproven in this video from The Political Teen, as long as one can tell the diffence between a middle and index finger. Maybe Syl can't.)
  • Donald Rumsfeld told an unpleasant truth about war in general - "you go to war with the army you have and not the Army you want".
  • Bob Novak "outed" Valerie Plame. (Scare quotes because it apparently was common knowledge among the press that Plame worked at CIA, and Novak apparently cooperated with the investigation sparked by his column. Hardly the act of a "prince of darkness".)
This looks a lot more like a litany of complaints about an administration he dislikes than evidence of moral decay. He didn't seem to think that moral decay involved oral sex in the Oval Office, so I have trouble understanding what standard other than a partisan one Syl is using. He doesn't mention such insignificant items as kickbacks and bribery in the Oil for Food program, for example. Is it just because it was administered by the UN, thus making corruption moral?

He complains the current administration is vulgar. This after referring to Karl Rove as a "Turd Blossom" and Ann Coulter as a "skank". Even so if the administration does have a "vulgar" edge, where would GWB get good taste instruction, Syl? From Howard Dean and Sid Blumenthal?

Did I mention the Star Tribune could improve its quality by an order of magnitude simply by firing Syl Jones and Nick Coleman (Like Janet Robert did, in Nick's case?) Not that it would improve the rest of the paper, just that it would provide the Strib less exposure to ridicule.

See, Not Everything French is Bad

Via Winds of Change and the New York Times, evidence that good things can come out of France, just in case we need reminding. One can get lost in all the frog-bashing sometimes (yes, even if a lot of it is justified). Also a reminder that lifesavers don't always have to be complicated and expensive.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I wonder if Cindy Sheehan has given even a moment's thought to what her son Casey might think of her activities since his death. I don't presume to know what he would think, but the fact that he did volunteer to serve in the armed forces suggests that he might have looked on the war in Iraq differently than his mother does.

If that did happen to be the case, is it right for her to use his memory to score political points against a president she dislikes? Maybe not... . Note that her family has asked her to stop.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

This Makes Me Tired, Again

This item from Marc Cooper isn't at all bad, but he tosses off a meme that just annoys the hell out of me. It's in this line:

It doesn’t matter, it seems, that Cohen supports the war because he actually believes it is consistent with his liberal views on human rights; no. must just must be some sort of a right-winger. Too often the instinct on the Left is to discredit and dishonor your antagonist by suggesting there is something more sinister in play.

Note the part about right-wingers. Sorry, Marc, but the majority of people on the Right believe in the classical liberal ideals of human (read individual) rights, too. It's the kind of casual, thoughtless smear that convinces me those of the Left are every bit as intolerant, bigoted and ignorant as they regularly claim conservatives are. The inability to even consider the possibility that those on the right can have principles, too. When you can't argue ideas, attack your opponent's motives and ethics instead. A shame Cooper only recognizes the Left's tactics only when used against other lefties.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


This column at Jewish World Review by Ruben Navarette Jr. puzzles me somewhat. Mostly becuase I don't quite understand what he wants. The column is about immigrant workers and the all-to0-often deplorable conditions that they work under (in this column, farm workers in CA). He agrees with President Bush's description of the jobs they do - "jobs that Americans won't do." He dismisses the idea of Americans doing the work for the right price (implying that strict immigration enforcement is what he has in mind, but at the same time deplores the "guest worker" plans proposed by Republicans. Why? Because it makes it too easy for employers to get more low-wage workers. His solution? Don't legally recognize them as having a right to work here, but treat them as if they do. Chaos!

Wouldn't it be better to figure out what we should allow, instead? Either allow guest workers or not, and if one does subject their employers to the same rules that apply to citizen workers. Don't mess around with this half-in, half out nonsense.

One other thing. There are large parts of the country that do not have lots of illegal immigrant labor, and the dirty jobs there get done - by Americans. Perhaps part of the problem is the willingness of some people near the borders to use the presence of illegal workers to drive down wages? Hmm?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Good Luck, Discovery

I just wanted to wish the crew of Discovery Godspeed and good luck for their return to Earth on Monday morning.

Update: Ok so make it Tuesday. Anyway, welcome home!

This Makes Me Tired

This is a typical example of the kind letter appearing on a regular basis in the Star Tribune (this from Saturday's):

Though it may be more neoconservative spin than substance, it's been refreshing to learn recently that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts may have somewhat balanced views and a softer, more compassionate side ("High court nominee helped with a key gay-rights case," Aug. 4).

This is a startling anomaly compared to the typical automatons we've come to expect from the Bush/Rove administration.

Now if we could only find out something like this about John Bolton.

Apparently the quality of compassion is a surprise when found in a conservative. I guess they aren't human or something. I'm so tired of this crap.

Of Traffic and Networking...

I haven't been blogging much of late, which undoubtably has improved the traffic numbers for this place. It's pretty tough to tell the difference between really unnoticed and merely very unnoticed, but in the name of masochism we endeavor to do so . If nothing else, the words just written can be filler while I actually think up something worth saying.

I haven't been following the news much in the past week because of the problems I've been encountering while switching to the new PC. I recently decided to augment the old PII here at the manor with a new generation, and it has left me with the problem of moving the old data that I still want to from the old to the new one. The old machine was built before CD burners, and the price of SCSI CD burners managed to dissuade me from putting one in the old box. That left networking them together so I could copy the data I wanted to save to the new machine. Should be easy for a computer guy, right?

Both machines are set up as dual-boot (Windows/Linux). Setting up Windows file sharing between the two actually went pretty well, as Windows XP generated a floppy that set up the old Win98 machine with only modest tweaking. (Did I mention that I don't know anything about networking PCs?) A few grudging points to Microsoft, there. The linux part, to put it euphemistically, was rather more of an adventure. I managed to turn a five minute job for someone who knows what they are doing into a week's comedy of trial and error involving dhcp, nfs, shorewall, and a host of configuration files. The end result is that they talk to each other, but I'm pretty sure I did it wrong... . I now know what is meant by "expert friendly".

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I Love Hate New York

Via Norman Gera's Normblog, comes this pseudo-serious piece of punditry. Ms Decca Aitkenhead is having a problem reconciling her and her friends' anti-Americanism ("a legitimate response to the current political climate") with the attitude held by many of the same anti-America types that New York City is somehow different and exempt from the rest of the hated Bushland. Her contention is that NYC is just like the Red States she apparently despises.

She goes on for several paragraphs about the perceived flaws of New York and psychoanalyzes New Yorkers. In her world, people from Idaho are "lard-arsed inbreds", New York is no different from any other major city in the world (except worse), New Yorkers are lacking in self-confidence, and that the "I (heart) NY" campaign is a response to 9/11. A great many words, even greater ignorance. She has the tone of someone who visits the USA, then comes home to proclaim how superior she is compared to the proles she saw on vacation. Lileks would handily deal with this kind of stuff, but since his site is currently a mess I'll take a shot at it.

She doesn't like our political climate. What a damn shame. I don't like hers. And we don't care. I suppose she would be happier spending money here if we had elected President who sends a cop to serve a warrant in Kabul instead of sending the armed forces to liberate it. And permanently shutting down the torture chambers in Baghdad being thrown into the bargain. Bitching about us is easier than going to Tehran or Pyongyang and registering her displeasure with the mullahs or Lil' Kim, I suppose.

She thinks New Yorkers are delusional in thinking they are different from other Americans. Guess what, dearie! All the regions of the USA think they are different from all the others. We also are pretty proud of the differences. Some silly idea about variety being interesting or something. We are composed of fifty sovereign states, and if you think all Americans have the same attitudes and opinions you haven't visited many of them. Ask a Southerner what they think of Yankees, if you want a quick lesson.

New Yorkers brag because they have no self-confidence, she says. Hey, it takes considerable self-confidence to shout "Ours is the Best!" to the whole world. It takes confidence to rebuild even higher after what happened there on 9/11/2001. It takes confidence to build the greatest city in the world. Yep, we who don't live there do make jokes about New Yorkers, but they (and their city) are ours. Despite the differences. Despite their voting Democratic. Despite their brusqeness (not rudeness, not really).

Ms Aitkenhead is inadvertently right about one thing. New York is like America. What she doesn't understand is that America is so much more (and I think better) than she bothers to perceive. I'll make her an offer. If she can ever bear to bring herself back to the USA and go farther west than NYC, I'll be happy to bring her to Boise, where she can explain to the local folks what makes them "lard-arsed inbreds".