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?