Sunday, November 16, 2008

More on Media bias, part "whatever"

Via Instapundit and Extreme Mortman, Deborah Howell at the Washington Post writes another article about the perceived liberal bias at her paper. To me, one of her most telling points:
But some of the conservatives' complaints about a liberal tilt are valid. Journalism naturally draws liberals; we like to change the world. I'll bet that most Post journalists voted for Obama. I did. There are centrists at The Post as well. But the conservatives I know here feel so outnumbered that they don't even want to be quoted by name in a memo (emphasis mine).
I wonder if she saw it herself. If the Post is so collegial and objective, why should the conservatives at the Post feel like they have to hide?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Sun Has Set on Northwest Airlines

I don't normally talk about my employer here, but yesterday Northwest Airlines passed into history. The people, aircraft and other things that once composed Northwest now belong to Delta.

I suppose I should look upon working at NWA as just a job, but after nearly 15 years that seems insufficient. Northwest has been a part of Minnesota for 82 years flying people, cargo and mail around the world. I've been a small part of it for a good while now, and on the whole I've been proud of what we've done. We've been the Twin Cities' gateway to Europe and Asia, helped a lot of folks get a break from winter, and brought a ton of people to shop at the Sprawl of America. We've provided press planes to the President, charters for the pros, carried our soldiers to the Middle East and brought them home again.

After 15 years it's still a thrill to see those red tails taking off from MSP, and a point of pride we gave Minnesota wings.

Goodbye, Northwest.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Here's a couple of photos of the Japanese garden at the McNeely Conservatory, just because. Politics just kind of sucks as a topic, anyway.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I was surfing about looking for reactions to Sen. McCain's acceptance speech tonight and came across Megan McArdle's reaction. No offense intended, but what is it about John McCain that is so distasteful to her? She can't seem to comment on the guy of late without mentioning how awful she thinks he is. Generally I find her blog thoughtful and worth reading, but she just really seems to hate McCain. Her post seems rather snarky and cynical, with no indication why:

The words "I fought corruption" should never pass the lips of a charter member of the Keating Five.

Someone should inform Ms. McArdle McCain (along with John Glenn) was cleared of any misconduct. Moreover, Bob Bennett (one of the fellows investigating the Keating 5 at the time) has pointed out that the reason McCain was included in the Keating 5 is that Democrats did not the Keating investigation to be an all-Democrat affair.

"I fight for you" is a clever tag line, and I presume the image that the McCain campaign has settled upon. This will allow them--just barely--to keep making the ridiculous claim that John McCain doesn't like to bring up the fact that he was a POW. If John McCain didn't want to bring it up, he would have instructed his staff not to mention it to every single person they talk to, including the barista at Caribou Coffee.
Yes McCain mentions his POW experience more than he did in 2000. How Ms. McArdle connects the "I fight for you" line to the POW escapes me. I suspect he mentions the POW experience fairly often because of the traumatic and transformative effect those 5 1/2 years had on the direction of his life. Imagine that. Sort of like Obama mentions his upbringing helping to make him the One who will heal the planet.

Ack! The dreaded "Free America from Dependence on Foreign Oil" meme rears its ugly head. This is high definition hogwash. Drilling isn't going to save us from Demon Oil any more than windmills will. It might make us some money. But we'll still be part of a world economy that will be pigheaded about buying their oil from funny people who don't even speak English.

How is this different from Obama's hogwash, except McCain is willing to allow more drilling while we work on alternatives? For all of Obama's talk, we'll still be dependent on petroleum when he leaves office (if he wins).

John McCain does not seem particularly comfortable talking about God. The lines are there, but they're mechanical, clearly recited by rote.
A lot of people are not comfortable talking about their belief in God in public, not even politicians. Just because he finds it awkward to talk about doesn't mean he's being phony. McCain is not the Huck, after all.

McCain claims he'll cut government spending. I'll believe it when I see it.

At least McCain will try, unlike Obama.

Boy, the folks at the RNC really hate national health care.
Don't libertarians hate national (aka government-run) health care too? McCain is for letting people choose their health insurance options from the private market, and provides subsidies for those who need help to buy insurance. What's sooo awful about that?

The other major change isn't really a change--it's a relative shift to emphasizing the martial virtues. This, I think, is why Kerry seemed so ridiculous "reporting for duty"--his political persona was about as far as you could get from the warrior ethos. McCain is the real thing. Too much of the real thing, for my taste--he seems to think that the values that guide a brigade should also guide the nation at large. This is a bad idea for the same reason that we should not be run by the codes of the Bar Association or the Hippocratic Oath.

Where in his speech did Sen. McCain propose to re-organize the country as a military brigade? I must have missed it. What values did he mention that are 'brigade values'? The speech I heard emphasized things like:

Service to/love of his country.

Reforming the Republican Party by moving it closer towards its core ideals.

Working with the opposition to solve our problems, where possible.

What is so awful about that?

Sunday, May 25, 2008


you can see in Minnesota when the weather isn't punishing us...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

How Should Tax Burden be defined?

Depending on whether one is talking with a liberal or a conservative, we are taxed unequally with the liberal arguing the rich don't pay enough and the conservative arguing the rich pay too much and the middle class and poor not enough. Both use a different way of describing the tax burden.

Well, here's my simple definition of tax burden. My tax burden is the tax I pay to any and all levels of government on every dollar that I earn and spend. In other words, the total amount of income taxes, FICA, Medicare, gas tax, property tax, car registration, sales taxes, etc. that I pay as a proportion of my total income. I figure it's about 40 cents of every dollar I make. I'm guessing that people like Warren Buffet pay less, proportionately, since most of the money they make is treated as capital gains and is taxed at 15% vs. the 25% Federal tax bracket I'm in. Anyway it leaves me with two questions.

For conservatives, why should rich folks get a discount on their taxes - i.e. why should I pay more of every dollar I make than Warren Buffet does?

For liberals, just what justification is there for government to cost forty cents of every dollar I make? How does one keep up with the mortgage, pay rapidly increasing fuel costs, etc. when government takes almost half of what I make?

Lastly for both: what's wrong with adopting these parts of the Megan McArdle tax plan shown below?

3) Eliminate the corporate income tax

4) Eliminate the special treatment for capital gains. All income should be taxed at the same level, regardless of its source.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Bill Maher

In keeping with this blog's tradition of being far behind the bleeding edge, I just wanted to write a bit about Bill Maher. He stirred up the blogosphere during Pope Benedict's visit to Washington and New York. He called the Pope a Nazi and accused him of being an apologist for pedophilia.

This generated a modest furor of course. Did conservatives get Maher fired? Nope. Did they Maher to apologize to Catholics or the Pope? Nope. Did it change anything? Not really. Personally I don't think it ever will. Bill Maher is a seldom funny, arrogant, smug comic who has found a market niche entertaining people who share a world view similar to his. They're the people who don't respect religious folk, and people who know that conservatives are stupid and/or evil. Conservatives and conservative Christians are not part of his audience, just people for Maher to mock and be contemptuous of. He doesn't care if he offends them. HBO doesn't care as long as he makes HBO money.

Perhaps it would be better if we ignored the jerk instead of giving him free publicity.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Unlike the LA Times, I think John McCain earned that disability pension.....

Lest one thinks

that Democrats have cornered the market on stupidity and intolerance, witness the campaign of Tony Zinkle ... . (via Little Green Footballs)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's stuff like

this that makes me feel unwelcome in the Democratic Party. What a demonstration of the virtues of embracing diversity and tolerance.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Today at the MIA

Today is what is called a 'fine spring day' up here, so a break was taken from politics today to visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art to see the John C. Weber collection of Japanese art. Since photography isn't allowed in the exhibit, I had to settle for a photo of the replica teahouse and garden that's part of the permanent collection.

I admit to being an ignoramus about art, but there is just something about the look of the Japanese screens, fans, the tea house that I just find greatly appealing. It's sort of a combination of simplicity with meticulous fine detail that just fits my sense of what's right.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A livelier Star Wars

Just some nostalgia from years ago... . Not better, just different. James Last's version of the MECO Star Wars theme.

A little self-exmination blogging..

This post over at Althouse prompted me to take a look at the posts on this little blog to see what kind of blog it is. It seems that I've become a male political blogger of sorts. Funny thing is, I'm not a very political person. This blog started as a place to vent after the Wellstone "memorial" and as a place to express myself on whatever caught my fancy. This included stuff like Project Runway, astronomy pictures, weather, occasionally sports, and lots of politics.

Why politics? It may be my inner curmudgeon prompts me to write about stuff that annoys me. Politics as a subject has a pretty high annoyance factor with me. Since I live in St. Paul and DFL elected officials are thick on the ground, I find lots of things about the DFL to be annoyed about. I get the chance to see the Minnesota DFL and their friends in the press work up close and they are a constant source of disappointment. The GOP isn't much of a power here, but I suspect that if they were, I'd be annoyed with them too. Certainly Jason Lewis wouldn't think much of this place, if it was worth noticing... .

Sunday, April 13, 2008

This development looks like something from the movie "Enemy of the State" . I don't believe that fighting jihadis justifies this kind of domestic surveillance. I think I agree with the Democrats' view on this one.

Democrat Bigotry on Display

Via Tom Maguire, (who has much more to say about it) this post from the "Big Tent Democrat" at TalkLeft just reinforces my dislike of the way Dems are unable to listen to a Republican without labeling them as a racist or bigot or some other derogatory term. Apparently, if one disagrees with a liberal Democrat that person must be evil in some way. Republicans of course are racist by default. I'd call them jackasses, but that would insult the good name of donkeys worldwide.

Spring in Minnesota

Worth a thousand words... mostly unprintable ones.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Welcome Back, James!

I see that James Lileks is once again gracing the pages of the print edition of the Star Tribune. About bloody time. Now, how about adding via subtraction by firing Nick Coleman?

Obama's Speech

Am I deluded, or was the Kim Ode/Patricia Lopez story about the effects of Barack Obama's speech on racial issues just a little one-sided? They mentioned one person who was critical of Obama's effort. Everybody else, it seems, was sure that white folk just don't understand. Would it have hurt that much to have actually paid some real attention to what his critics were saying? How hard would it have been to report the reactions of more than one person critical of the speech, as opposed to getting one critical opinion, followed by every other person they quoted being critical of those who did not like what Obama said?

Of course that might have been confused with objective journalism, and we can't have that at the Star Tribune, can we now?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Who's to blame for McCain?

Over the past couple of weeks, I've a lot of comments from alleged "true conservatives" on blogs expressing sentiments like this:

Again, dont blame me if Obama or Clinton win in November. Blame the people that brought us McCain. If they were really interested in winning the general election, they would have known better than to nominate this liberal.

Well, I'm going to go with the " blame it on conservatives " option here. More specifically, the failure of conservatives to produce a GOP candidate better to their liking.

Setting aside differences over policy, I've seen three complaints about how McCain won. He didn't get the majority of Republican votes. He got a lot of support from independents and Democrats in the open primaries. He's been foisted on conservatives by the GOP establishment. Horsehockey.

John McCain didn't cheat to win the nomination. He won it by the rules established by the Republican party. He got more votes than any of the other candidates, enough to win 50% + 1 of the delegates. It's not McCain's problem that the "true conservatives" couldn't find a candidate to unite behind. If conservatives don't like open primaries, get the rules changed to make them closed. It's not like there wasn't time between the 2000 election and 2008. The notion of the GOP Establishment forcing McCain down conservative throats doesn't pass the smell test either. This would be the same establishment that McCain went against so often, on issues like spending, taxes, and campaign finance reform. The GOP establishment didn't really start lining up behind the guy until he started winning primaries. In short, conservatives have only themselves to blame for the current nominee.

What other things should be considered by "true conservatives" before they vote Democratic or stay home? How about 4 possible Supreme Court vacancies in the next 8 years? How about the fact that there are not enough conservatives votes in the US to win a Presidential election by themselves. This means the GOP has to attract some moderates and independents (and possibly some conservative Dems) to win. So perhaps some compromises would have to made after all.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Downs and Ups

This has been an up and down week. One of the people I've worked with for years lost his eldest son in an auto accident, so I attended his son's funeral this week. When I spoke with my friend/coworker, what could I do or say that would help? Not a single solitary thing.
The same day as the funeral, we had a little congratulations party at work for another coworker who, after 13 years of effort, became an American citizen. I can have only respect for someone who becomes one of our citizens by choice rather than by accident of birth. Congratulations, Jay. (Personally, I think he's gonna frame those citizenship documents.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lean Times

for Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Pity Nancy Pelosi doesn't get it. Look, the merits of invading Iraq were debatable but if one styles themselves to be of the "reality based" community, isn't willful denial of the facts on the ground kind of silly?

(via Drudge)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

McCain is doing well tonight

I wonder if Mark Levin's head will explode (figuratively)...

My First Caucus

After many years of just voting, I went to my first caucus tonight. Since I am not a member of any MN political party I didn't know if I would be considered to be rather like the skunk at a picnic, but I guess when you live in St. Paul and go to the GOP caucus they tend to want to make a fellow welcome.

In truth, the gent running the show seemed quite impressed with the turnout (district 67B for those keeping score) of about 150-200 people (my very unscientific guess) . I ended up as the Sgt-at-Arms for my caucus room, oddly enough. Fortunately the job mostly consisted of making sure the speakers adhered to the time limits for debating resolutions. Anyhow, if I had wanted to be a delegate for my precinct it would have been pretty easy to do (3 delegates + 6 alternates for the precinct, and 5 people present) , but it seemed to me that being elected a Republican delegate when I'm not a Republican wouldn't be cricket.

The straw poll was held first with Mitt Romney winning, followed by Mike Huckabee.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Deranged by McCain

I'm a political independent, so I don't have a dog in this fight until November, but I confess to having a problem understanding the hatred and vitriol currently being directed at John McCain by many talk radio hosts and other self-styled "true" conservatives. Under what criteria does 25 years of voting with conservatives eighty percent of the time make someone a liberal and a socialist? Those of Jason Lewis.

Why? After listening to his on-the-verge-of-incoherent ranting, it seems to be on five things.

  • McCain believes that there is such a thing as man-made global warming.
  • Immigration - supported naturalization for illegals, after legal immigrants have been processed first.
  • McCain-Feingold.
  • McCain opposed the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.
  • The press likes him.
Here's my opinion on these items (in order):

  • The debate on global warming is at best unsettled. I think the Senator's proposals are premature, but do you really think the Democrats will produce something more sane? In what universe?
  • McCain has conceded his error on immigration - what more do you want?
  • What free speech has been stifled, really? The law has been unsuccessful and misguided, but the Supreme Court did not find it (in the main) unconstitutional, because money is not speech. More on the 1st amendment issue later.
  • On the tax cuts. McCain opposed the cuts on two grounds, that upper income folks gained disproportionately, and that there were no provisions to limit spending. Lewis only talks about the first, calling it "class warfare". He conveniently ignores the spending side of McCain's objections, which show McCain's conservatism on government spending. Does he really think Hillary/Obama will act the same on spending? Again, in what universe?
  • It is true the press is somewhat less hostile to the Senator than to some of his fellow GOPers, but that has much to do with him treating the press as something other than an enemy. Perhaps his opponents should try it. In any case, the Dems in the race get much better press than any Republican, according to Brent Bozell's media watchdogs.
In contrast to Jason's rants, let us take a look at McCain' s actions that conservatives should approve of:

  • Voted against the Medicare prescription drug requirement.
  • Has never in 25 years voted for a tax increase.
  • Has always voted pro-life.
  • Has authored/introduced a bill in the Congress to prevent the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.
  • Stoutly supported winning the war in Iraq, and the "surge", even when it was politically unpopular.
  • In 25 years in Congress, has never used an earmark. He is one of the best in Congress at resisting unnecessary government spending.
  • Voted in favor of conservative judges, including Roberts and Alito.
  • Promised to work to retain the Bush tax cuts.
  • Acknowledged his errors in the immigration debate, and agrees that immigration enforcement must come first.

By Jason's lights, John McCain is liberal. Jason Lewis is an idiot.