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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Monday, October 30, 2006

MN Top Ten for First Half of '06

Before conservatives' chances for gains in Minnesota elections this year got swamped by a tidal wave of anti-Republican sentiment at the national level (due to fallout from the Mark Foley and Jack Abramoff scandals), there were actual developments in Minnesota politics worth noting, for better or for worse. Here's my top-ten list of the most significant developments in Minnesota politics during the first half of 2006:


10) With the help of a TCF donation and a crazy land deal, the U of M got approval for a stadium for its football team. Most significantly, the U set a new, free-spending precedent: getting state funding for something without having to prioritize it on a list of capital-improvements projects contending for funding in the omnibus bonding bill.

9) The legislature passed a bill, signed by the governor, authorizing a few small-town officials to acquire inventory and operate convenience stores. Apparently, some former eastern European economic planners were able to convince our State Capitol crowd that “communist” grocery stores were instrumental to efficiently providing basic staples to remote small towns.

8) Concerns about mobilizing the voting blocs of competing special interests (outdoorsmen vs. tree-huggers vs. underappreciated artists) were all that prevented the legislature from agreeing to put on the ballot a constitutional amendment dedicating general funds to specific environmental and arts projects. And no matter how good any one project might seem, it was very short-sighted for the executive branch to lend moral support to dedication, a concept that infringes on its authority to shift priorities and spend or impound funds based on changing assessments of critical public needs. Congress has become infamous for its “earmarking” version of dedicated funds; we need not follow in its fiscally wasteful footsteps.

7) In another sign of the decreasing clout of political party organizations, State Sen. Michele Bachmann was able to flood party delegations with fiercely loyal followers that allowed her to trounce a strong field of contenders for the Sixth Congressional District Republican endorsement. Our political parties are now at the mercy of charismatic, well-funded, and well-organized candidates. Bachmann may be willing to pursue most of the Republican Party’s objectives, but the point is that the Party would be powerless to derail her candidacy even if she were unwilling.

6) Sen. Majority Leader Dean Johnson’s self-righteous politicking might finally have caught up with him, thanks to a pastor who was willing to do more than turn the other cheek when he witnessed insincere pandering about the courts and same-sex marriage. Sen. Johnson’s “truth-sanding” may have eroded the political advantage he once had as a minister to claim a moral high ground.

5) On June 15, when Rep. Jeff Johnson questioned House Minority Leader Matt Entenza’s ability to impartially monitor an investigation of United Health if Entenza were to become Attorney General, he knocked out a pillar of support for one of the most influential DFLers on the rise in Minnesota politics. Rep. Johnson planted seeds of doubt among the media, independents, and a key part of the DFL’s core constituency with his demand that Rep. Entenza explain how he would be able to monitor an HMO. Reason: the compensation Entenza’s wife has received as one of its top execs has also been the primary source of his family and campaign funds. People who identify as independent voters tend to be very cynical about unethical influence wielded by the role of money and by special interests. Also, the media feels compelled to delve into possible conflicts of interest when specific instances are brought to their attention.

When Matt Entenza publicly acknowledged that his wife had gained “probably $20 million” from stock options during her career as a United Health executive, Jeff Johnson’s campaign offensive against Entenza had drawn blood. Learning that Entenza had close ties to a dreaded HMO and was very wealthy due to HMO stock options may forever alienate him from class-envying, populist DFLers who expect their candidates to fight for consumers and stand up for the little guy. Since this has been Mike Hatch’s battle cry throughout his political career, his operatives were then able to go public with their reservations about whether Entenza was the best candidate to succeed Hatch in the A.G. job.

Entenza has long been ambitious enough to downplay his family wealth and to not have many scruples when it came to campaign tactics. But in a span of a few weeks, his inability to tell the whole truth—Was it $20 million in options, or $30.8 million? . . . Was it less than $1000 for routine opposition research, or was it a $40,000 effort to dig up all dirt on any possible challengers?—turned his wounds into fatal political injuries. Whether Jeff Johnson will ultimately triumph over Hatch protégé Lori Swanson remains to be seen, but he has certainly done enough to earn more media and public attention for his campaign than previous Republican candidates for Attorney General have been able to get. Still, with Entenza gone from the race, it wouldn’t be surprising if the establishment media went back to not giving Jeff Johnson the coverage he deserves.

4) The weakness of platform-based party organizations has led to another significant development. In a stunning reversal of the gubernatorial politics of the early 1990s, the establishment-oriented pols (Tim Pawlenty and Mike Hatch) captured the endorsement process, leaving more principled ideological candidates (Sue Jeffers and Becky Lourey) no recourse but to wage long-shot primary challenges to promote the party platforms.

3) The judiciary upheld 2005’s so-called “health impact fee”, an abomination that has continued to pervert Minnesota politics in 2006. If tobacco companies could be pressured into a settlement with the state under the guise of recovering health-care costs, they should not be assessed twice through “impact fees” that use the same flawed rationale. A government that can use the same justification to both sue and tax a business has been entrusted with too much power. Another very unpleasant side effect from the impact fee is that public officials from across the political spectrum already have developed a vested interest in its continued existence. Now they are adding the impact fee revenue streams to their budget plans, so that they can offer tax rebates or new programs without having to make cuts in anything else.

2) Gov. Pawlenty’s transformation from conservative-leaning legislator to milquetoast career politician continued, aided and abetted by the acquiescence of other top party figures. The legislator who once opposed major taxpayer funding for pro sports facilities, especially without referenda, did not threaten to veto the bill this year authorizing a local sales tax to provide a huge subsidy for a new Twins stadium, even though he had a duty to enforce a law which requires local taxes to be subjected to a local referendum. The transformation became complete when he tried to gain credit for the new baseball stadium subsidy by holding a signing ceremony for the localized tax bill on the field of the Metrodome.

It’s not as if accepting the Twins bill this year has been an exception to an otherwise strong commitment by the Governor to fiscal conservatism, either. He vetoed NOTHING out of a billion-dollar bonding bill, vetoed only $1.5 million out of a $202 million supplemental appropriations bill, and proposed significant new entitlement spending in the form of state-paid years of college tuition for students that get above-average grades in high school.

1) Carl Pohlad’s relentless quest that a new stadium for his baseball team be funded primarily by taxpayers outlasted a sizable but demoralized base of underfunded opposition, sending the wrong message to other corporate-welfare fatcats (such as Zygi Wilf): you can get whatever favors you want from Minnesota politicians as long as you commit to applying constant pressure indefinitely.

Anonymous sloanasaurus said...

Excellent post. However, I get the feeling that the glass is half empty from your perspective.

12:57 AM, October 31, 2006  
Blogger Courier A said...

Well, Mr. Sloanasaurus, for the first half of 2006, that's because the victories for conservatives were empty, merely holding off a few liberal schemes while co-opting others.

Gov. Pawlenty has done some good things in his first term, most of them in 2003, except for the veto of the gas tax hike in 2005. It's telling that the closer he gets to election time, the more he distances himself from his conservative actions, and highlights his "progressive", market-manipulating, big-spending agenda.

I don't think we'll ever be in the position of bestowing him with JAS' Courage of One's Convictions Award.

9:56 AM, November 01, 2006  
Blogger Brian said...

Pawlenty's lack of vetoing anything reminds me of his idol, Geroge W. Bush, whom Pawlenty said he would support if Bush's approval rating fell to 2%. And kudos to Pawlenty's no new taxes pledge. THe cigarette tax, er, health impact fee was a cute ploy and I enjoyed the 20% hike in my property taxes after he pulled chunks of local government aid away from cities across teh state.

11:55 AM, November 05, 2006  

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My (crocodile) tears are flowing

Just out this morning is a circulation report for the nation's top 25 newspapers. It continues to show a decline in overall newpaper readership.

Our own Red Star, the 15th largest in the nation, fell 4.1% to 358,887 for Q2/Q3 of 2006. Yet with these falling numbers, they lean ever left. I'm starting to think that this should not be a surprise. In hard times, one runs to the base. It happens in elections, so why are we surprised that it happens in the newspaper business? If the natural tendency is to move to alternative sources like the web, they have to make extra effort to give their base a reason to buy those dead trees instead of hug them. What better than this and this and this (oh, and this, perhaps the most egregious in my opinion).

I also shed those same tears for the LA Times, another left wing rag, whose circulation fell 8% in the same period. Hugh Hewitt must be having a serious attack of schadenfreude.

Blogger ReTorte said...

At least the shreds of tree make good fire starter when in need of kindling.

12:22 PM, October 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

It would be interesting to find the average age of the current subscribers. I bet it is over 60.

1:56 PM, October 30, 2006  

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Dale Carpenter at JAS

Some organizations you join because you think you should; some because you are actually proud to be a member. JAS is the latter. It makes me proud that JAS would invite Dale Carpenter, who has views many in the group no doubt disagree with, to speak. He's an excellent example of conservatism as a way of thinking as opposed to conservatism as a list of "correct positions."

I wrote a column based on a lengthy interview with Carpenter that some may find interesting reading before the November meeting.

Kudos to the the Antient & Honourable John Adams Society.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Mr. Carpenter has an interesting point on homosexual marriage. I would take it in the other direction to say that, perhaps, the state needn't be involved in marriage whatsoever. Leave it to the church to consecrate marriage.

The purpose for the state to sanction marriage was to provide legitimacy for children. Half the population no longer finds that necessary. Other legal matters such as passing on property and sharing medical decisions can be handled through individual legal transactions.

Yes, this would complicate income taxes. Or it may simplify income taxes. But the tax structure is a debate for another forum.

11:16 AM, November 01, 2006  

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Voting Dilemma

What to do? Pawlenty committed the mortal sin of signing socialized stadia into law, forever forfeiting my vote. I don't have the intestinal fortitude to vote for Hatch. And Hutchinson is just as much a tax-and-spender as his alternatives, proposing outright an increase in the gas tax.

Yes, I hear your teeth grinding, S'?aurus and friends, and I realize that not voting for Pawlenty will elect Hatch, assuming others feel as I do. Pawlenty deserves defeat for an offense as egregious as the stadium. It is unfortunate that the taxpayers will have to suffer, but they are suffering already. Another Pawlenty administration would bring us socialized college tuition, more money spent on worthless choo-choo transit, and whatever other toys look fun over four years.

My opposition to Pawlenty in 2002 was justified. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't blame me; I went 12 ballots for Sullivan." Back then my opposition was based on Pawlenty's support of the light rail line. His supporters said, "Aw, he didn't want to do that. He just had to work with the governor. It won't happen again." But people don't change, and upon election Pawlenty got straight to work on expanding government.

The only opportunity we now have to scale back government, since the GOP put on a soviet-style charade of an endorsing convention and Jeffers lost the primary, is to scramble the best candidates for the 2008 legislative election, assuming the voting public appropriately punishes pro-stadium legislators next week. And much will hinge on the governor'?s race. If Pawlenty prevails, elected officials will be sent the message that it'?s okay to vote for big stadia, for big transit, for big pork and for big taxation. If Pawlenty is overthrown, we can only hope the opposite message will be received.

In the meantime, is there a suggestion for a worthy write-in candidate?

Blogger festivus said...

I'm going to hold my nose and vote for Pawlenty. The stadium thing ensured that I would donate no money to his campaign. In fact, I told the last few callers from his campaign that I'd love to donate $1,000, but that I thought that I should instead save that money to pay the additional stadium sales tax that our good Governor had inflicted on us.

Scrib, we've talked much about your choice, so I don't actually think I'll convince you, but I do hope that when you walk into the booth and realize what a Gov. Hatch would do to this state, you'll change your mind.

9:20 AM, October 30, 2006  
Blogger ReTorte said...

Having never enjoyed a glass of fine wine, or other adult beverage of choice, though have tipped the bottle for many others to indulge, this year's gubernatorial election might push me ever closer to the knuckle glass method of voting. A Liberal, a guy who is a Liberal in sheep's clothing, or someone in denial just how Liberal they are whom I fear becoming an enabler. Rehab I say!

At least I have the Honorable Society member, Senator LeClair, to make one vote easy. I wonder what he's doing in 2008???

12:48 PM, October 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Remember, we live in what is currently a blue state (that was proven in 2004) Voting against Pawlenty to punish the republicans in this state could actually be close to killing yourself.

Primaries are the times for squabbling.

2:00 PM, October 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I was on a field trip with my kid on Friday and I overheard two teachers complaining about building the stadium. They thought it was a complete waste of money and that the money should have been spent instead on additional health care subsidies....

I thought to myself.... Thank god for the stadium!

2:02 PM, October 30, 2006  

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Updates on Missouri Ballot Measure

Michael J. Fox admitted today on ABC News with George Stephanopoulos that he has never read the proposed Missouri ballot measure even though he urged people to vote for it on Election day. How rdiculous.

Furhter, the mainstream media continues to support the amendment. From the AP:

Missourians Against Human Cloning, the group opposing the ballot measure, claims it's deceptive for a variety of reasons - chiefly, because the measure would allow a cloning procedure known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, which it contends results in the destruction of early human life.


One would think that the associated press could accept the fact that removing the DNA from an embryo and replacing it with new DNA, effectively destroys the first DNA, which is undoubtedly early human life.

Admit it? That would be asking too much....

Saturday, October 28, 2006

1864 Election Poster


Gateway Pundit posted this 1864 Campaign poster from the Democrats titled "compromise with the South" Gateway pundit has more discussion on it here.

The only problem between the comparison from 1864 and today is that there was a lot more to despair about in 1864.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

It's not surprising the north and the south, Republicans and Democrats, had different points of view: they were fighting each other. Not the name-calling we enjoy today, but muskets, bayonets, setting each other's houses on fire. You know, a war.

6:46 AM, October 30, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Republicans and Democrats were not fighting each other in the north. If you remember, the 1864 democratic nominee was George McClellan former commanding General of the Army of the Potomic.

2:05 PM, October 30, 2006  

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Friday, October 27, 2006

The Stem Cell Debate

I am not sure what to think about embryonic stem cell research. People make a lot of claims that there will be great advances and that paralyzed people will be able to walk again. Maybe there will be great advances. However, it all seems a little creepy to me.

One thing you never hear the media talking about is the cloning aspect of embryonic stem cell research. The use for stem cells makes logical sense. The idea behind the potential of stem cell research is that you will be able to take stem cells and regrow your own tissue right in your body. This seems like an awesome and amazing technology. We could regrow our own organs or severed nerves! However, what is often left out is that you may need to have your own embryonic stem cells to grow your own tissue, which means creating an embryo clone of yourself.

I have heard some creepy responses to this aspect of stem cell research. For example, I heard one person say that we would not need to clone embryos right away... however when the time comes that cures are discovered and cloning is required, people will be able to decide for themselves whether or not they want to clone their own embryos. However cloning your own embryo requires the growth of an independent embryo and then replacing that embryo's DNA with your own DNA. That is unless we find a way to grow embryos without any DNA.

A great example of how misleading the cloning issue is can be seen in the 2006 ballot measure in Missouri that purports to put restrictions on Stem Cell Research. Clause 2 of the ballot says the following:

(1) No person may clone or attempt to clone a human being.

It seems pretty straight forward. It is the same statement that is listed on the "plain language explanation" provided in the voting booth. The ballot measure was initially sponsored by research institutions so one wonders why researchers would want to ban cloning since cloning will ultimately be required for embryonic stem cell therapy.

However if you read farther down the text in the ballot measure you find where Cloning is defined:


(2) “Clone or attempt to clone a human being” means to implant in a uterus or attempt to implant in a uterus anything other than the product of fertilization of an egg of a human female by a sperm of a human male for the purpose of initiating a pregnancy that could result in the creation of a human fetus, or the birth of a human being. (emphasis mine)

So there it is. You can clone an embryo as long as you don't implant the embryo into a uterus. The people in Missouri will be voting for cloning when they think they are voting against it.

It seems very creepy to create an embyro that has its own characteristics and then destroy it for the purposes of creating a cloned embryo of yourself. At the very least it would be nice if people told the truth about the research and told people what they are really voting for.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

The difficulty here is that while they don't look like you and me, fertilized eggs (zygotes) are human beings. That is, they are certainly alive, and they are certainly separate organisms, as opposed to being part of another organism like, say, a fat cell in my butt. And unlike egg or sperm cells, they have a complete set of DNA, unique from any other organism, and if given the right environment and nutrition, will usually grow into something resembling you and me. So given they are living organisms, what kind are they? Dogs? They are, simply put, very young human beings, in the state that all of us started in.

Even atheists should be troubled by the idea of creating disposable human beings for this or that utilitarian purpose. You could argue that this particular class of human beings is so different from the rest of us that they don't deserve the protection that we usually afford to members of our species, but historically, such distinctions haven't turned out too well.

9:10 AM, October 27, 2006  
Blogger King Oliver said...

I have never heard a rebuttal to the argument that cures for diseases are likely to come from adult stem cells. The assertion is apparently based on past experience and current research. Perhaps this is a bad argument, because it veers away from requiring us to make a clear choice between cannibalizing the unborn for the sake of the living, or not. On the other hand, there is a whiff of Providence in the prospect that adult stem cells are useful and embryonic ones are not.

3:05 PM, October 27, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

The difference between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells is that adult stem cells have already specialized into, say, butt fat cells, whereas embryonic stem cells have not yet chosen their calling.

That said, it is reprehensible to CREATE a human being for the purposes of destroying it. Such an act should withstand no ethical test.

Embryonic stem cells also have problems. For example, they have been shown to spawn brain tumors when injected into rats for the purpose of alleviating Parkinson's. By their very nature -- and I am merely supposing here, using my vast brain power with no research to back me up -- embryonic cells will want to reproduce rapidly to achieve their chosen function. This is not terribly different from how cancer cells reproduce.

Now I WILL need to do some reasearch to satisfy this curiousity.

8:04 PM, October 27, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I read this morning that the advocates of the ballot measure are pushing the measure as being an anti-cloning law... which it clearly is not.

12:32 AM, October 28, 2006  
Blogger Tom Cleland said...

I think it all depends on when the soul enters the body.

2:17 PM, October 29, 2006  

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Intifada

In the Washington Post today:

Paris - October 22

On Sunday a gang of [muslim] youths emptied a bus of its passengers, set it on fire, and then stoned the firefighters who responded.

The Post, however, argues that Europeans should jsut continue with the same attitude that got the immigrants to their country int he first place.

Muslims in Europe should be invited to embrace the countries where they live on their own terms. They should be expected to respect laws and freedoms. But politicians would do better to work on dismantling the barriers Muslims face in getting educations and jobs rather than those that distinguish Islam from the secular majority.

How ridiculous. The "terms" or what many of these immigrants want is their own country inside France. And what if the barrier muslims face in getting educations and jobs is Islam itseelf.... the Post should think again.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bachmann polls

The Constituent Dynamics (“CD”) Poll for Minn 6 Bachmann vs. Wetterling is here. The poll says Wetterling is ahead by 6. In 2002 Kennedy won this race by 20 points. IN 2004 Kennedy won by 6 points over Wetterling. The big difference in 2004 was the large turnout by Democrats in MN, which also lead to so many lost State House seats as well. In MN-06, Republicans increased their turnout by about 38% in 2004 over 2002. Democrats increased turnout by 73%.

The major difference between 2002 and 2004 was in Washington County where Kennedy who won the county by nearly 15 pts in 2002 gained very few votes, while Wetterling made the county even (50-50) in 2004.

The CD poll shows Wetterling winning the county 52-46. Who knows why Wetterling did so well in Washington Co. in 2004. Perhaps she appealed to suburban women who sympathized with her son. Some may have occurred merely because Wetterling was a woman. I think these differences will carry less weight in this election as Wetterling’s sympathy factor has diminished as here experience in Politics lengthens

In both 2002 Kennedy carried Anoka County by 2 points and in 2004 carried it by 6 points (along with Bush). However the CD poll shows Wetterling winning by 14 points in Anoka County. Do votes swing that much in 2 years?

The poll also shows that the respondents breaking out as 37% republicans, 36% democrats and 28% independents in the district (which voted Bush 57-42 in 2004 and Kennedy 54-46. (The 3% is obviously the Wetterling factor).

It is obvious that the CD poll both assumes the record 2004 turnout for democrats and assumes that enough discontent as occurred to switch enough of the independent votes. It is hard to imagine democrats getting both.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The growing restriction on Speech

I have argued at several JAS debates that I believe the way radical islam could creep into our way of life and possibly destroy it is through the self censorship of any criticism of radical islam. The self censorship comes through the real and perceived threat of violence towards any criticism. We have seen it already through the violent reaction to the Mohammad cartoons, the murder of Van Gogh in Holland, and many other examples. In my post below about the BBC, I cite two additional examples 1) the BBC admitting to self censorship and 2) a teacher France that had to go into hiding.

All the jihadists have to do is threaten writers and editors with suicide bombing of them or their families. The result of this censorship will be a white-wash of the true nature of radical islam, which will cause either no response or delayed response by us in the face of attack. To some extent the white wash is here. For example, you hear to no end how Hezbollah sets up schools and hospitals. The liberal media implies that this is a good thing, yet we never hear any details about it (about the schools being madrasses and not K-12).

There is still plenty of criticism of Islam in the conservative media, however, we will see how long that lasts....

BSG

If you are a Battlestar Galactica fan, maybe you had the same impression I have had about this year's season so far.

The premier episode signaled that the series was going to be a left wing hit job. It was good, but too cliche. The second episode was better - they got away from the cliche left wing hit job. However, this past episode was phenomenal. BSG is back! Sundries Shack describes it perfectly...

Top 5 movies

For poops and giggles, I thought I would list my favorite five movies of all time, not necessarily in any order:

Star Wars - the original
The Sound of Music
Field of Dreams
Gladiator
A Bridge too Far

Are these conservative movies?

My least favorite popular movies of recent memory are:

Sideways
Lost in Translation

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

1. The Sound of Music,
2. Doctor Zhivago,
3. Casablanca,
4. Mr Smith Goes To Washington,
5. Manchurian Candidate (original),
6. It's a Wonderful Life,
7. The Fountainhead (much better as a book), and
most of the older Bond movies.

9:16 PM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

And, the most recent movie I attended, The Incredibles! A conservative movie about the triumph of good over evil.

10:04 PM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I just saw "Thank You for Smoking." Excellent and hilarious. Rent it.

11:21 PM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger ReTorte said...

In No Particular Order..

Star Wars - The original Trilogy

Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Aspen Extreme

Major League (I and II)

Top Gun - when Tom Cruise was still an actor and not in need of high doses of psychotropic medications to control his behavior.

The Charlie Brown Classics (Easter Beagle, Great Pumpkin, and A Charlie Brown Christmas)

11:50 PM, October 22, 2006  
Blogger Courier A said...

This is from someone who vastly prefers music, literature, and well-written television series over contemporary movies, who didn't grow up watching classic movies, and can only rate them on personal entertainment value:
1)Caddyshack
2)Star Wars (the original)
3)The Blues Brothers
4)Monty Python and the Holy Grail
5)Major League 1
6)Tin Men
7)The Survivors
8)Predator
9)The Late Shift
10)The Delta Force

Notice that there are no movies from the past couple years on this list, because none of these movies are appropriate for infants or toddlers, and I don't value movies enough to squander babysitting hours on them (as opposed to JAS functions, of course).

12:42 AM, October 23, 2006  

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Barry's statue


Anyone who knows College football knows who Barry Alverez is - the most successful coach in Wisconsin Badger history. Fifteen years ago when Barry took over the program, Camp Randall Stadium was full of empty seats and nobody cared much for the badgers other than the students. Fifteen years later, the stadium has been remodeled, is always packed, and it is a lot lot harder to get into the UW than it was in 1990 (which partially has to do with Barry). Barry retired last year and a new statue was unveiled in his honor. Okay, so I am fibbing a little with the Willam Wallace pic, but you get the idea ( I could not locate a pic of Barry's statue). Barry's statue sits right outside the stadium as you come in. I am not sure about you, but it is a little creepy to have a statue of yourself being prominatly displayed while you are still alive. Having your own statue while alive is...frankly... un-american (at least Rocky is a fictional character). Perhaps Barry assumes the public is fickle. If he waits too long the public will forget about him and his statue - so why not build it now.

Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

I agree. I've seen another of this. At the William Simon school of Business at the University of Rochester, there was a very lifelike statue of William Simon, who at the time was very much alive. Weird.

9:52 PM, October 22, 2006  
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Saturday, October 21, 2006

BBC admits they are biased anti-americans

The BBC holds a meeting to discuss the subject... The article is fascinating.

I remember as a young adult, thinking that the BBC was the premier of news sources and that anyone with a high intellect would also be listening. When I lived in London for a semester I was shocked to find that many Britons had a much lower opinion of the BBC than I did. I recall one fellow British student saying something like "you have been listening too much to the BBC from World War II. That BBC is long gone." He was right!

UPDATE: Tigerhawk makes this observation.

On the show, celebrities are invited to throw their pet hates into a dustbin and it was imagined that Baron Cohen chose some kosher food, the Archbishop of Canterbury, a Bible and the Koran. Nearly everyone at the summit, including the show's actual producer and the BBC's head of drama, Alan Yentob, agreed they could all be thrown into the bin, except the Koran for fear of offending Muslims.

It is interesting that the BBC's producers are more comfortable declaring that they would discriminate against Christians than merely admitting the obvious: that political Islam deploys actual and threatened violence to veto speech otherwise protected under the law (from government, that is, but not from Muslims), and that they censor themselves because they are afraid.

UPDATE 2: Foxnews has a story about the French Intifada which notes. Read the article. It is unbelievable that this stuff is going on in France. I found this passage particularly disturbing:


In France, a high school teacher received death threats, forcing him into hiding, after he wrote a newspaper editorial in September saying Muslim fundamentalists are trying to muzzle Europe's democratic liberties.....Michel Thooris, head of the small Action Police union, claims that the new violence is taking on an Islamic fundamentalist tinge. "Many youths, many arsonists, many vandals behind the violence do it to cries of 'Allah Akbar' (God is Great) when our police cars are stoned," he said in an interview.

It's starting to get ugly.

The French at work

The Supreme Court of France has ruled that the 35 hour work week mandate also applies to hotels, bars, etc.... Prior to this the government had allowed an exception for hotel and bar workers to work 39 hours a week without overtime. The intent of the law is to encourge employers to employ more people because it would be cheaper to have two people working 70 hours a week than just one person who would earn overtime under the law. Workers were not happy about the ruling, yet they intend to keep it!


With just six months till France's presidential elections, the row reawakened divisions over the 35 hour week -- introduced by the Socialist Party in 2000 -- which the right-wing hopeful, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, says has damaged the work ethic and driven down salaries. The opposition PS has pledged to extend it, despite some misgivings from its frontrunner for the presidential nomination, Segolene Royal.

This law is undoubtedly one of the stupidest laws in history. STUPID LAW STUPID LAW. So stupid that the facts obviously show the law has not worked. IN 2000 when the law was passed unemployement in France was 9.8%. Today in 2006, unemployment is at 9.0%. That is not success. That is a nightmare.

When I graduated from college I had two jobs. I worked both at a hamburger place and delivered pizzas. Sometimes I worked at both places on the same day. Some weeks I logged more than 100 hours. I preferred the pizza place because it was more lucrative. On a busy night you could make $15 per hour. I was motivated to work long hours by one purpose - to make money. Moreover, after working in corporate America for a number of years now I have learned that most innovation and "movement of the ball" occurs from perhaps only 20% of the people. Most of the people working are pretty much along for the ride and the bottom 10% probably subtracts from growth. Many of these top 20%-ers also work a lot more because they want to make more money and people are willing to pay them for it because they are the ones who make money for the companies. The French law puts down the innovators and lifts up the worthless workers. How dumb is that - DUMB DUMB DUMB. What if you are one if these "innovators" in France. What do you do? I suppose eventually the answer is to move and innovate somewhere else.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cut and Run Conservatives new Leaders

Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.)Elected 1969, 18th termRep. Obey voted with the AFL-CIO 100% of the time. Obey voted against the Deficit Reduction Act, against Defense Funding (FY06), against the Legislative Line Item Veto, and against funding the Global War on Terror (FY04). “Mr. Obey was one of those Democrats who ripped Mr. Clinton for endorsing a balanced budget in 1995. Rather than cut spending, his goal would be to spend less on defense and more on domestic programs and entitlements.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.)Elected 1970, 18th termRep. Rangel voted with the ACLU 94% of the time. Rangel consistently voted against free trade agreements, against the Bush tax cuts, against Pension Reform, and against Welfare Reform. Rep. Rangel “opposed the Bush tax cuts and recently voted against free trade with tiny Oman. His committee's crucial health care subcommittee would be run by California's Pete Stark (1972), who in 1993 criticized Hillary Clinton's health care proposal because the government wasn't dominant enough.” (WSJ, 08/31/06) “No question about it.” -Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), when asked whether tax increases across the spectrum would be considered should Democrats take control of Congress. (CongressDaily, 09/26/06)

Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.)Elected 1964, 21st termRep. Conyers voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 100% of the time. Conyers consistently voted against any liability reform, against the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, against REAL ID, against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification bill, and against Border Protection and Immigration Reform.
“He recently made his plans clear in a 370-page report… the report accuses the Administration of violating no fewer than 26 laws and regulations, and is a road map of Mr. Conyers's explicit intention to investigate grounds for impeaching President Bush.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.)Elected 1955, 25th termRep. Dingell voted with the AFL-CIO 100% of the time. Dingell voted against exploring for American-made energy in ANWR and OCS, against reforming the Endangered Species Act, and against the Telecom Reauthorization bill. “The Michigan Congressman would do his best to provide taxpayer help to GM and Ford. But telecom companies would probably get more regulation in the form of Net neutrality rules, and a windfall profits tax on oil would be a real possibility.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.)Elected 1974, 16th termRep. Miller voted with the ACLU 95% of the time. Miller voted against Higher Education Reauthorization, against Head Start Reauthorization, and against Pension Reform. Rep. Miller is “the chief sponsor of the ‘Employee Free Choice Act,’ which would make it much easier for unions to organize by largely banning secret elections… The Californian also wants to raise the minimum wage and fulfill the National Education Association wish to spend more federal dollars on local school construction.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.)Elected 1980, 13th termRep. Frank voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 95% of the time. Frank voted against the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Act, against Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement, and against Credit Rating Reform. “…the ascension of Barney Frank (1980) would mean a reprieve for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite $16 billion in accounting scandals. His main reform priority has been to carve out a new affordable housing fund from the two companies' profits. And forget about any major review of Sarbanes-Oxley.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)Elected 1974, 16th termRep. Waxman voted with the AFL-CIO 100% and the ACLU 95% of the time. Waxman voted against the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, against the formation of the Bipartisan Katrina Committee, and against 527 Reform. Rep. Waxman “would compete with Mr. Conyers to see who could issue the most subpoenas to the Bush Administration.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Intelligence Committee Chairman Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.)Elected 1992, 7th termRep. Hastings voted with the AFL-CIO 92% of the time. Hastings voted against declaring that the U.S. will prevail in the Global War on Terror, against the 9/11 Recommendations Implementation Act, against Supporting Terrorist Finance Tracking, against the USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization, and against Border Protection and Immigration Reform. Rep. Hastings “who, should Ms. Pelosi succeed in pushing aside current ranking Member Jane Harman, would take over the House Intelligence Committee. Before he won his Florida seat in 1992, Mr. Hastings had been a federal judge who was impeached and convicted by a Democratic Congress for lying to beat a bribery rap. He would handle America's most vital national secrets.” (WSJ, 08/31/06)

Cut and Run Conservatives


So Rush is now calling them.

Here is more.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

How'd they get my baby picture?

Guilty and not apologizing. My fantasy is to have a Democrat replace Ramstad (yeah, I know, will never happen -- a girl can dream). Two years from now, we can elect an actual conservative.

9:52 PM, October 20, 2006  

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Media Bias

Investors Business Daily ran a four part series on media bias. Read them here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anti-Americanism

If you have a chance, take som time to read this article on Anti-Americanism. The article so over analyzes "anti-americanism," that I burst out laughing half way through. The major problem with the article is that in no place does it seriously discuss envy. Instead it states:

...the right overestimates resentment toward American power and hatred of American values. If the right were correct, anti-Americanism would have been high at the beginning of the new millennium.

The article completely misses the fact that America did not really surpass the big European nations in terms of per capita wealth until the 1970s. In my opinion, envy, which is a universal human failing drives most anti-americanism in the West today.

Nothing sums it up more than Bono from U2:
In Ireland you look up to that big house on the hill and say 'Someday, I'll get him.' In America you look up to that big house on the hill and say 'Someday that'll be me.'

Republicans and the WOT

Real Clear Politics posts a hit piece by Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call. In the hit piece Rothenberg argues that Democrats have “new found credibility on the Iraq war.”



Of course, the war on terrorism includes more than the Iraq War; it involves uncovering plots, apprehending potential terrorists, stopping the flow of money to terrorist groups and more. On some of those fronts, the administration has clearly been successful, and some Americans give the president credit for those successes. But in Iraq, and increasingly in the other military theater, Afghanistan, U.S. policy certainly appears flawed. For Republicans, the virtual elimination of the war on terror as an effective political issue is a disaster, since it has been the party's ace in the hole.


This is pretty much all the article says about the war on terror. The rest of the article attacks Republicans for being simple minded.

The problem with Rothenbergs thesis that “Democrats have newfound credibility on National Security,” is that the thesis is a complete joke. The Democratic approach to National Security has recently been highlighted by the failure of Jimmy Carter to appease Kim Jong Il, and President Clinton’s tirade over being blamed for 9-11. The last time Democrats had credibility over national security is when Kennedy said we would pay any price and Lyndon Johnson was willing to use derogatory terms when referring to the enemy. Since Vietnam, Democrats have lost all credibility.

Another recent line of attack is highlighted by Rothenberg:


I'm not suggesting that Republican consultants deserve most of the blame for the lack of issues to use against Democrats this cycle. Rather, the fault rests with the White House and with some Republicans on Capitol Hill, who fumbled Social Security, immigration, ethics and lobbying reform and, most importantly, the Iraq War.


Rothenberg cites these items as if the Democrats would do better. Should conservatives and independents now vote for Democrats because Bush’s attempt to privatize social security failed. Or because republicans were only able to build a 700 mile fence rather than a 1400 mile fence? And what does it mean to “fumble ethics?” No, in fact Democrats will move to make social security a larger government program and will move to keep the fence from being built. Why should republicans vote in a democratic majortity to get 0% of what they want.

Rothenberg's article also implies that Democrats have a better plan for the war on terror. What plan is that? Do they have a plan to make us safer from attack? How can we have been any safer in the last 5 years? The problem with Democrats is that the few things they do stand for are complete contradictions. They say they would be tougher, but then they oppose the patriot act and aggressive interrogations. They say they want to investigate all crates that enter US Ports, but then they don’t think we should listen to any of the incoming phone calls. They say we are caught in a quagmire in Iraq, and then propose to send more troops to Afghanistan.

Democrats and some conservatives are so invested in believing Iraq to be a mistake that they are unable to examine the conflict in any sort of logical manner or even put the conflict into context with other events in history. I have heard some Democrats repeat lines such as "the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history" or the greatest military blunder since Augustus lost three legions in the Tuetonburg Forest. These ranters forget that America lost 100,000 men in less than a year of fighting in France in 1918. Only to have to lose another 200,000 20 years later. Doesn't that seem like a foreign policy disaster? Sometimes the logic is completely disjointed - One JAS member at a recent debate, after a tirade over Bush suppressing our rights with the denial of habeaus corpus to terrorists, argued that he understood why we interned 100,000 Japanese during World War II and that it might have prevented infiltration.

Some conservatives argue that the Iraq war is so far from conservatism that it boggles the mind. Pat Bucananan and George Will are such conservatives (along with the Federal Farmer) I remember one speech given by such a "conservative" at JAS (not the Farmer) who also relished in the conservatism of the Confederacy - "the southerners were true conservatives... fighting for their land against the Northern aggressors." Except, the speaker failed to remember that it was the "conservative" southern leaders of the confederacy who were for the conquest of Cuba and Mexico before the war (and also for slavery). Conservatism has little to do with whether war is offensive or defensive, it is whether or not the purpose of the war is to conserve traditional America. Traditional America includes an America free from terrorism and free from fear. This is why Bush invaded Iraq and it is why we must stay in Iraq forever if required.

The war against Islamic fundamentalism is the battle of our time. It is infecting the middle east, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It is the Communism of the 21st century. America is the strongest, and we need to stay in the middle of the fight - we need to stay in Iraq and give the people who want to fight the Islamists a fighting chance.

This election season there has been a lot of spin about Republicans only being able to run on National Security. Liberal pundits complain that republicans don’t stand for anything else. That is a lie. However, national security is the most important issue in federal elections. If your opponent is worthless on that issue, why run on anything else.

Blogger LessIsMore said...

It seems to me that we (Americans) are stuck with in-the-box thinking: Republicans vs Democrats. The current Bush administration makes clear that power corrupts, even Consevatives. We need to think out of the box and diminish the power of the Federal Government. In the short term this means that we should assure congressional gridlock by making sure that the minority party in one house becomes the majority in one house.

11:56 AM, October 24, 2006  

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2002 Polls

Some Zogby Election Polls from 2002 via instapundit - in the week prior to the election. Some notables:

Poll:
Mondale 50
Coleman 45

Actual:

Coleman 50
Mondale 47

I remember this poll well. It was taken even after the Wellstone funeral. The Strib polls all had Mondale up big.

Poll Colorado:
Strickland 53
Allard 44

Actual:
Allard 51
Strikland 46

For a poll to be this wrong, something has to be seriously wrong with the poll methodology. How ridiculous.

Maybe comparisons like this would mean little if the actual vs. poll results were all over the map. But, they are not. The polls consistently underperform the republicans and overperform the democrats.

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

The Zogby poll this week shows Klobachar up by 7 points. If you apply the 8 point error in the zogby poll from 2002, you get Kennedy up by 1.

11:30 AM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger Clashing Devil said...

Unfortunately, there is a large segment of the population who have been brainwashed into believing that polls represent the 'real' truth, and that if actual ballot counts don't reflect the same numbers, then there must be fraud or disenfranchisement. Speaking of fraud, I occasionally flip on Air America (AM 950), just to get a good laugh, and to reaffirm my conviction that there should be some sort of intelligence test before you’re allowed to vote or procreate. Over the last couple days, one of the hot topics has been the “Voter Purge” that is/was going on in, you guessed it, Ohio. To listen to the callers and the hosts, you’d think Stalin was running the board of elections there (when we all know it’s really Karl Rove). What many of these misinformed listeners don’t realize is that the maintenance of voter registration records (including removing non-active entries) is mandated by Federal law for the specific purpose of preventing voting irregularities. One caller claimed that a recent poll for the Ohio governor’s race showed the Democratic candidate Strickland ahead of the Republican Blackwell by 20 points, and that the ‘purging’ is entirely one-sided (i.e. only Dems are being removed) as an attempt to once again steal an election. The caller went on to say that if Blackwell wins, they better get ready to call in the National Guard.

12:47 PM, October 19, 2006  
Blogger ReTorte said...

On my first day of Behavioral Statistics in college we learned how to get "4 out of 5 Dentists" to agree and correlate everything to cause or cure cancer. Needless to say, 94.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot to serve whatever purpose deemed necessary at the time.

There is only one poll in politics to pay attention to, the election!

1:26 PM, October 19, 2006  

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Close Guantanamo, however Keep the Prisoners.

The Europeans have been criticising Bush for the last few years now about the evil Guantanamo Bay. Apparently, however, we have actually offered these complaining countries to return their citizens. What do you think they said?

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett last week issued the latest European demand to close down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The existence of the prison is "unacceptable" and fuels Islamic radicalism around the world, she said, echoing a recent chorus of complaints from Europe about U.S. counterterrorism policy....According to documents made public this month in London, officials there recently rejected a U.S. offer to transfer 10 former British residents from Guantanamo to the United Kingdom, arguing that it would be too expensive to keep them under surveillance....In addition, virtually every country in Europe refused to grant asylum to several Guantanamo prisoners from China who were not being sent home because of fears they could face political harassment there. The Balkan nation of Albania agreed to take in five of the Chinese in May, but only after more than 100 other nations rebuffed U.S. pleas to accept them on humanitarian grounds, State Department officials said.

How typical.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Reminds me of when Minneapolis was going after "evil buildings," the buildings that were committing crimes all on their own. Weren't some of these ordered destroyed? Ditto with Abu Ghraib -- the building must be to blame for the notorious misdeeds. (Congress voted to destroy the prison. Did it ever happen or did I miss it?) It's the same crowd that proclaims, "People don't kill people; guns kill people."

4:02 PM, October 18, 2006  

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Caller ID and Polls


Powerline links to some interesting info on polling methodology, which examines whether current polls overstate the amount of democrats around the country (as they did in the Bachmann Wetterling race).

However, I think a more interesting point is the impact of technology on response rates. I have seen some sources report that response rates to polls have dropped from 30% to 20% since the 1980s. What effect, however, does this have on poll accuracy. This article states that it has no effect.

I am not so sure. In my own unscientific survey on this subject I have found a couple of common themes. These are that married people with kids tend to take advantage of Caller ID more than single people and older people. As for myself, I would never fall into a poll sample because I screen every call. If it is a number I do not recognize, then I don’t answer the phone. In my unscientific survey, most other people I spoke with in my demographic (married with kids) behave the same way – the screen all their calls and thus would never be included in a poll In contrast, older people tend to not have caller ID or ignore it and a lot of single people I talked to also said they answered the phone without paying attention to Caller ID. Are older and single people then oversampled when compared to married people with kids?

Caller ID has changed the landscape of opinion polling in the last ten years mostly because 1) it is very inexpensive (my digital phone service includes it for free) and 2) almost every phone you can buy now has a caller ID window on the handset so seeing the ID is much more convenient and cheap than it was 5 years ago. It is possible that polls over sample certain groups because of Caller ID. Further, it is also very likely that these oversamples include more democratic voters, which skews the polls.

Couric Hell


Drudge has posted Katie Couric's latest ratings and it is turning out to be a disaster for CBS.

NEW YORK CITY
WABC 7.1
WNBC 5.3
WCBS 3.7

LOS ANGELES

KABC 5.9
KNBC 3.1
KCBS 1.5

WASHINGTON, DC

NBC 9.3
ABC 7.8
CBS 2.5

I don't think the problem is necessarily Couric herself, it is the fact that it is network news. I used to watch the NBC evening news pretty regularly up through the late 1990s. However, the advent of the internet has changed my news habits. I haven't watched a network evening news cast for years. The only newscast I watch now if at all is Foxnews with Brit Hume and local news.

The main problem for network evening newscasts is that younger people no longer watch. The average age for the network newscasts is now 60. With this demographic, it is hard to understand why CBS replaced Bob Shieffer, a 60 year old himself, with bubbly Couric. There is also a problem with liberal bias in the network newscast. No matter how much they want to claim they are neutral, any slightly conservative person recognizes the obvious bias. Thus, why watch it if you can get less biased news from other sources (for example I am tired of hearing from the networks how Hezbollah is so great because they set up schools and clinics).

Maybe CBS was trying to attract viewers of NBC's Today show who may be younger. However, my wife, who is a watcher of the Today show, said that Couric's depature did not motivate her to switch to CBS news.

In the end it will be slow death for network news. I think that the news business is returning to the more partisan format that existed prior to World War II and that exists in Europe today. I also think a more partisan format will lead to more truth telling in the end.

Bachman vs. Wetterling

The Star Tribune poll shows Wetterling ahead of Bachman by 8 points (48-40).

The poll also notes:

Negative feelings toward President Bush, opposition to the Iraq war and a belief that the country is on the wrong track all seemed to be hurting Bachmann, even in a district that Bush carried 57 percent to 42 percent in the 2004 election.....

The poll found that the district is almost evenly divided among DFLers, Republicans and independents.

Classic Strib poll! Remember Mondale being 5 points ahead of Coleman! Powerline and RCP posted some great pieces on the Minnesota Poll a while back. It seems a little suspicious that the district would be "evenly divided among DFLers, Republicans, and Independents." Also, 2004 was a big turnout year for Democrats in Minnesota. In a normal year the district would have probably voted 60% for Bush.

Friday, October 13, 2006

ALARM! GLOBAL WARMING WILL COST US

An article today argues that if we do nothing about global warming, it will cost us about 11 trillion pounds or $20 trillion per year in 2100. The article argues that with a small investment of only $3 trillion per year now, we could limit the damage to only $12 trillion per year in 2100.

Maybe the article is written wrong, but investing $3 trillion a year today to save $8 trillion a year 95 years from now seems like a really awful investment. Further the risk premium on such an investment is high because we don't really know if there will be global warming or if we can actually stop it.

Besides, at 2.5% growth rate, GDP in 2100 should be around $132 trillion and those money grubbing baby boomers will all be dead by then.

I am all for investing to reduce global warming... except we should invest our money into creating new assets and new technoligies, not just by reducing economic activity.

Blogger Clashing Devil said...

Warming... schwarming. Although the article didn't say how the $3,000,000,000,000 is to be 'invested' (it always looks more impressive when you actually show the zeros), I'll bet they recommend that a substantial portion be allocated to the same institutions that proclaim that global warming is an eminent problem. Hmmmm… Seems to me I’ve heard something like this before in a gangster movie…

Guido: “Nice business ya got here Mac.”

Business Owner: “Yep, busted my back and bank account to get it started.”

Guido: “Sure would hate to see any ‘accidents’ happen to it.”

Business Owner: “Accidents? Like what?”

Guido: “Like the kind that don’t happen if you got protection.”

Business Owner: “You mean insurance?”

Guido: “Something like that, call it a grant.”

Business Owner: “How much does this protection cost?”

Guido: “Three trillion dollars, and that’s a bargain – it’ll be more in the future.”

Business Owner: “What happens if I don’t pay… I mean buy”

Guido: “My boss, Al, that’s Mr. G. to you, he’ll… oh my gosh, I can’t even say it, it’s so awful.”

Business Owner: “What! What! I have to know!”

Guido: “Al will make… a Documentary!!!”

4:08 PM, October 13, 2006  

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Monday, October 09, 2006

The House

The media coverage over Foley and the Republicans about to lose the house reminds is almost so cliche now, I will be surprised if it happens. The media just assumes that the Foley incident will change everyones vote or keep voters home. There are still 30 days to go. A lot can happen.

It reminds me of moment the vikings traded the future away for Herschel Walker. Everyone was talking Superbowl the moment Herschel ran his first return back for a TD and lost his shoe in the process. Eventually reality set in and Herschel turned out to be a dud.

Nevertheless, I think losing the House for a term may provide the leadership change House Republicans need. Besides, it will be difficult for Democrats to hold on the House when they got there because conservative voters stayed home for one election.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

I don't think GOP voters will stay home because of Foley. Some may opt out because the Republicans haven't been behaving very conservatively. I still can't get interested in Pawlenty because of the stadium catastrophe. And am I expected to get excited about voting for Ramstad? There's just no irresistible magnetism from the GOP this year. I will go vote; I always do. But I can see where many may find an excuse not to get there this year.

12:46 PM, October 11, 2006  
Blogger ReTorte said...

At least in our district we have the irresistible geeky magnetism of a distinguished member, the Honorable Senator Brian LeClair.

12:43 PM, October 17, 2006  

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Archbishop to Catholics in Public Life: You Are Called by God to Change the World, Not Advance Your Career.

The Catholic News Agency reports a stemwinder of a homily by the Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, at the Red Mass in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on October 3. Declared Archbishop Chaput to the assembled faithful:

We need to drill it into our heads that defending the sanctity of the human person and serving the common good can’t be separated .... Stuffing our Catholic faith in a closet when we enter the public square or join a public debate isn’t good manners, and it isn’t political courtesy. It’s cowardice. And we’ll be judged for that cowardice by the God who created us.

....

[What the world] needs more than anything else is holiness – holy men and women who love Jesus Christ and God’s Word more than they love their own careers and agendas....”

The complete news story is accessible here.

The Foley Scandal

Could it be that the end result of the Foley scandal is to allow Republicans a convenient excuse to bring up the Gerry Studds episode as an example of how morally bankrupt the Democratic party is. They should....

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Audio for Conservative Shut-Ins

If you are like me, and have challenges making all of the JAS debates that you would like to attend, this might be a resource for you.

Americana Phonic has a serious of interesting audio clips, including the Federalist Papers, accessible here.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Excellent resource, Mr. Rimpi. This might be the final straw to induce me to purchase an iPod.

As for your predicament, I predict the JAS will move into the late twentieth century with interactive web conferencing for debates within the next 40 years, or about when we all are shuffling about in walkers. Around that time, we will also be relocating our toasting sessions to Friday mornings, 8 a.m., at either Perkins or our favorite nursing home.

7:01 PM, October 08, 2006  

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fraudulent Associated Press

This story below about Hastert is so misleading its shocking that the press gets away with it. I printed it below before they change it.

The story argues at first that a third congressman reveals that Hastert knew about "lewd" emails. In fact Hastert has said he knew about the emails, (the ones of which the only out of the oridinary thing asks for a picture). What he said he did not know about was the instant messages. Nevertheless the AP story misreports in the first paragraph that Hastert contends he did not know about the emails.

Further, the AP calls the emails "lewd," in the Headline of the story, yet, the only inappropriate thing in the emails was a request for a picture. Does that qualify as "lewd?" In contrast, the AP refers to the instant messages as "salacious," which means.....you guessed it the same as "lewd."

The problem with this case is that it is so easy to imply that Hastert knew before hand about the instant messgages, by claiming that they are one in the same with the emails. What a hit job!

UPDATE: Now hear that Hastert did not know about the emails, only that his staff knew about them. The story is very confusing....

And then this new ad from Patty Wetterling:



“It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children.”

Read more about the Wetterling ad here.

Third congressman says Hastert knew
Speaker Hastert continues to deny he knew of Foley’s lewd emails to pages
The Associated Press
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - A third figure in the page scandal threatening to envelop House Speaker Dennis Hastert suggested Wednesday the speaker knew of an inappropriate e-mail that Rep. Mark Foley sent to a Louisiana boy before the matter became public.
Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., the congressman who sponsored the page at the heart of the furor, said Hastert "knew about the e-mails that we knew about," including one in which Foley asked the page to send his picture.
The speaker has said he was not aware of the e-mails when they were discussed with his staff. The No. 2 House Republican, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, and House GOP campaign chairman Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, said they had spoken with Hastert about a complaint concerning a former page from Louisiana last spring, after Alexander told them about it.
Hastert position unchangedHastert's position did not change after Alexander's comments. "The speaker's staff knew about this; the speaker didn't," said his spokesman, Ron Bonjean.
Alexander asserted on Fox News that Hastert's knowledge was limited to e-mails that made the page uncomfortable -- not the salacious instant messages Foley is reported to have made to pages. "Speaker Hastert is a good man," he said. "He is a good leader. And I think he would personally break the neck of anybody he thought was trying to sexually abuse a young man or woman."
The chairmen of two coalitions of social and fiscal conservatives in Congress rallied behind Hastert as some other conservatives demanded he step down. "Speaker Hastert is a man of integrity," Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., said in a joint statement. "Speaker Dennis Hastert should not resign."
Capital caseOn the federal investigation into Foley's communications with teenagers in the congressional page program, acting U.S. Attorney Jeff Taylor for the District of Columbia told Hill officials to "preserve all records" related to the matter, according to a Justice Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was not immediately clear when Taylor's letter to Hill officials was sent or to whom.
Foley, of Florida, resigned his House seat after the e-mails and reports of the instant messages were exposed, and checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center. The ensuing uproar has engulfed Republicans who were already at risk at losing control of Congress in elections five weeks away.
Should he stay or should he go?Conservatives debated whether Hastert should resign over his handling of the matter.
Activist Richard A. Viguerie was among those who called for Hastert to step down. "The fact that they just walked away from this, it sounds like they were trying to protect one of their own members rather than these young boys," Viguerie said on Fox News.
Asked by talk-show host Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday whether he would quit, Hastert said, "I'm not going to do that."
Hastert says he first heard details of the Foley matter Friday after the story came out. Yet he has not specifically disputed Reynolds's comment that he raised the subject with the speaker much earlier.
Even while coming to Hastert's defense, Alexander also indicated the speaker knew of the nature of e-mails that the page reported to his parents. The parents asked to have Foley's contacts stop but apparently did not want to pursue the matter further.
Hastert "only knew about the e-mails that we knew about," Alexander said, citing from one of them: "Can I have a picture of you?"
President Bush, speaking at a Stockton, Calif., elementary school on Tuesday, said he was disgusted by the Foley revelations and voiced support for Hastert.
"I know that he wants all the facts to come out," the president said.

Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Wetterling has a history of exploiting the misfortunes of children for her own egotistical gain. No one wants to say this, but I know everyone has thought it.

2:58 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Drudge just reported tat Foley's IM friend has been discovered and that ABC misreported that the former page was only 17 at the time of the emails. In fact the former page was 18.

What a nasty goof by ABC.

11:36 PM, October 04, 2006  

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Who Was the Instant Message Informant?

Today is October 2 and we have a scandal. What do they call this in an election year? Class? Anyone?


Little needs be said about the scandal itself. It's not pretty. What is interesting is how previously undisclosed instant messages by the Congressman in question made their way to ABC. Clarice Feldman of The American Thinker blog lays the entire scenario out very well and in extensive detail. To make a long story short, a group calling themselves C.R.E.W is behind the exposé (unfortunate word choices). According to American Thinker quoting The Hill, CREW and its executive director, Melanie Sloan, have a long history with Democratic causes.

Feldman goes on to impugn Brian Ross of ABC, finding it interesting that Ross and CREW seemed to come upon the instant messages simultaneously.

When will we hear about CREW's involvement from the "mainstream" media? What did they know and when did they know it? What was the purpose of this mysterious, low-flying blog that first published the not-quite-innocent, not-quite-criminal email messages?

(Let me be clear: this guy is scum and I'm glad he's been outed. I'm questioning the timing.)

Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

Great point scribbler. It is hard to imagine that Democrats did not know about these instant messages. Moreover, considering that the messages were from 1993, one wonders how long they had them. Normally the timing wouldn't matter much except for gotcha politics. However, in this case, the failure to release the messages for political purposes worked at allowing Foley to be out there as a predator.

12:24 AM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Harsh Pencil said...

Instant Messaging from 1993? Weren't those called "letters" and they weren't so instant? Care to check those dates again Saurus?

2:17 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

Compuserv had some sort of chat back then. I first used Instant Message in either '95 or '96. And the government could certainly have had some such system earlier.

But Foley wasn't in office until '95. I believe some of the email messages have been common knowledge for a couple of years, but it was my understanding the IM's were a surprise to all but those who hoarded them.

5:07 PM, October 04, 2006  
Blogger Sloanasaurus said...

I meant 2003. My mistake. At lease I encouraged some commentary.

10:04 PM, October 09, 2006  

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Futures de Stebbing

Reuters reports today:

U.S. short-term interest rate futures barely moved on Monday, leaving expectations for Federal Reserve rate policy for the rest of 2006 unchanged after a report on factory activity came in weaker than forecast.

Bigger gains in deferred futures showed the market is confident the Fed will start trimming rates in the first few months of 2007. [emphasis added]

Nearly two months ago I predicted an interest rate cut within 6 months. That would put me about exactly on the money. If Bernanke had listened to me sooner, we wouldn't even need to cut. Oh, it hurts to be right.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Debate Oct 11
LIBERALS, HOWEVER MISGUIDED, SEEK THE GOOD.

The John Adams Society
William G. Carpenter, Chairman
John Pope, Secretary
Larry Colson, Chief Whip
Roger Balfay, Chancellor

October 2006

IT WAS THE CROWNING ERA OF LIBERALS. The American Colonists took with them from England a rich liberal heritage and nurtured it in their new independence. Among their cherished liberal doctrines were those of the Magna Carta ceded by the English monarch. It represented a victory against European despotism and helped form the creed of both America’s Declaration of Independence – that all human beings are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (or property, if you read John Locke), and the United States Constitution – limiting government to government for the people by the people. Amendments to the Constitution explicitly limiting powers of the Federal government were to further ensure freedom of speech, the press, assembly, religious worship, the bearing of arms, as well as freedoms from cruel and unusual punishment, self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure, and a guarantee of due process of law and a speedy public trial with an impartial jury. With the role of government thereby deemed to protect said rights, the American colonists gorged themselves on liberty and broke away from the mentalities of ancient hierarchical societies.

At their best, liberals are flexible to the extent of apparent contradiction, sometimes positing conservatively when practical in consideration that: a government by the people can become a tyranny of the majority; free markets under the dominance of state supported enterprises are not free; free speech may be obscene and treasonous; a thoroughly liberal state may be inherently ambivalent about law enforcement. As such, liberals are divided over to whom state prerogatives should apply. After all, who and by what measure shall determine what is Good? Without this question resolved, even a great good such as the abolition of war cannot, paradoxically, be strictly held without force. Inevitably, steadfast liberals bite off more than can be chewed. So, it is not surprising that somewhere in their cultivated tangle of protections and rights, liberals lost sight of the Ninth Amendment to the US Constitution – “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

ON THE OTHER HAND, liberals nowadays have turned their trophy of limited government upside down. The past two hundred years have witnessed the co-opting of liberals by leftists of various sorts, first sporting the tone of the Jacobins, then the Utopians and now some pragmatic Machiavellian cult oriented to pain and division. Now the liberal is transfixed to be shorn on things repugnant, purposefully mocking freedom to disturb social harmony, for the welfare state they champion would actually require a national solidarity and entail private charity, yet conjure objection to the state seizure of property that liberals endorse. It is all too clear now that the innate can-do American no longer fits in the reigning puzzle of complex liberal ethics, and lest man’s unpredictable tendencies for independence and self determination emerge, the bud of free will, faith and reason must be nipped. Accordingly, philosophies of personal responsibility and any realization of self-accomplishment must be frustrated, lest the habitual victim livestock meander away. Fate, once innocently thought to rest within the hands of self and God, is now thought that of conspirators. There are yet multitudes to sow and reap for the program to have exactly as many disenfranchised as the state is willing to support. Chained by derision for obsessing about the liberal surreal, the resistant too rot in a swamp of blame, making They who control them emerge as the Eris and Leviathan of their realm.

The chairman, desperately seeking the exit of the Do-Gooder Industrial Matrix, calls for the debate:

RESOLVED: LIBERALS, HOWEVER MISGUIDED, SEEK THE GOOD.

The Debate will be held on Wednesday, October 11, 2006 at the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, in Saint Paul. The Chancellor will preside over drinks beginning at seven o'clock p.m. The debate will begin at half past seven. While there is no dress code for attendance, gentlemen who wish to speak must wear a tie; ladies should adhere to a similar sartorial standard. For those gentlemen who arrive tieless yet wish to speak, fret not: the Purveyor of Ties will keep on hand at least one of his quite remarkable ties for just such an eventuality. Questions about debate caucus procedures or about the John Adams Society itself may be directed to the Chairman at (612) 822-8941 or the Secretary at (952) 486-8059.

www.johnadamssociety.org