30 June 2007

False Imprisonment

This happes too often, and you people just roll over and take it.

A 2 ½-hour JetBlue Airways flight bound from Fort Lauderdale to New York on Wednesday turned into a 25-hour odyssey that finally ended Thursday afternoon, as a chain of problems left 150 passengers staggered by the mind-boggling delay.

Flight 62's takeoff at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday was delayed for three hours. The jet departed, only to be diverted by bad weather to Atlantic City, N.J., where passengers stewed on the tarmac for four hours. At 12:30 a.m. Thursday, they were allowed off the plane. It would be another four hours until they finally were sent to a hotel for the night. The flight ultimately arrived at JFK International Airport at 3:21 p.m. Thursday.
This is not about the bullshit tricks the airlines play to pretend the have "on-time" departures. This is about holding people against their will in a situationatin no other industry could possible get away with.

Kahn said that upon landing around 8:30 p.m. passengers were told that buses would soon arrive to transfer them to JFK. The promised buses never came. Passengers ultimately took taxis at their own expense to a nearby hotel where JetBlue had secured rooms for the night, he said. The taxi fares will be reimbursed. For the remainder of the night, Khan and others went without food because nearby restaurants already had closed.
You're in a movie theater. The power goes out. Or the projector breaks. Or the heater kicks in and runs full blast until it's 120 degrees, whatever. Are you then forced to stay in that theater, by ushers and projectionists, with no food and no workable plumbing, until they get it all right and can complete the movie 6 or 15, or 25 hours later? Of course not. Tell me why the airlines are able to do this to its paying customers.

I'm telling you, if this happens to me, I am going to blow the door, go down the slide and walk out of there a hero to the rest of the fuselage captives.


and the livin' is easy.

27 June 2007

Getting Cold in Minneapolis

Better throw another pack of $100's on the fire.
The Minneapolis school board voted Tuesday night to adopt a $652 million budget for next school year that officials said better reflects the academic priorities of the district. That budget is up 2.4 percent, despite the expectation that 1,600 fewer students will enroll in district schools next fall, requiring 63 fewer teachers. In part that increase reflects the approval by the Legislature of $16 million more than the amount of state aid anticipated when the budget was drafted.
So let's review - less students, therefore less teachers, yet the total budget is up becuase the school district made off with dumptrucks full of state money they never expected.

The district faced a $16 million gap between projected spending and expenses when budget discussions began in January. It dipped into reserves for half of that and made operating cuts for the balance.
So the school district had - what - $8 million just taking up space? Why do taxpayers pay for special levies to maintain a rainy-day fund?
The school board recently was told by finance chief Peggy Ingison that it ended the 2005-2006 school year with a $30 million available fund balance. That's the best since at least the mid-1990s.
"Available fund balance." What these people won't do to avoid the word "suplus." Minneapolis - they got it goin' on!

I'm No Coleopterist

I've never seen one of these in Minnesota in my 39 years.

About the same coloring as a June bug, which are common, but more than twice the size. Flatter head/thorax/abdomen that a June bug, too, to my untrained eye. Big-ass pinchers and wings under the shell, I presume. I don't think it's a stag beetle or a ground beetle.

If you can identify this hog, please let me know in a comment to this post.

26 June 2007

Wood Pulp Chopper Fiction

"...the motorcycle lumbered down the road, but Mitch trusted it wood make it to the bar. His splintered relationship with Donna hit him like a 2x4 and left him desperate to rebuild his life. He still pined for her. What's worse, he was being framed for a robbery he did not commit. Certainly, they would nail him if he didn't find a way out. He was a stud, but that would only make him that much more vulnerable in jail. They wouldn't hesistate to take advantage of him and then beat him to a pulp. He arrived at the bar and stepped off the bike with a knot in his throat...."
Fiction courtesy of a tall fella.

24 June 2007

One More From MSRA '07

MSRA 2007

Achy feet, sunburned arms and full compact-flash memory cards - each it's own indicator of a long hot Saturday navigating 11,000+ pre-1964 street rods, customs, collectors and antiques.

Some cars looked like they just came from the dealership.
Others had clearly been massaged.

Some, after disassembly, were not the same upon reassembly.

Anyone who says it's not art is not intellectually honest. Here's the winner of the Ravenscroft Dog Farm Best in Show Award:

22 June 2007

We're Controlling the Truth Around Here

The meeting is open to the public. Oh, you have a blog? Then you cannot come in.

Walking into a small room, Nicole Derse from the political desk of the Obama NH campaign was busy meeting folks. As she turned to me she started to say hello, so I replied with a smile, "Hi, my names Jerid. I'm a blogger."

"Oooooooh, I'm sorry, but you'll have to leave," she shot back. "These events are closed to the press." I was dumbfounded. Searching for words I spurt out, "But I'm a blogger," as she started to usher me out of the room.

It was of no consequence that I'm a Democratically slanted activist who's trying to learn as much about all of the candidates in New Hampshire as I can. It didn't matter that I phonebank and canvas for candidates I support. I didn't matter that I put my "super friendly blogger hat" on when I go to these events and am respectful of folks privacy, taking great care with what I write about. All she saw was the press.

If this story ever gets any traction, Obama will simply throw one of his staff under the bus as he does with some frequency. Read the whole account and use it to help you filter the other phony crap that these "new" candidates are full of. And to think - The Obama gang are the most vocal in their criticism of W when it comes to "controlling" the press and deceiving the public.

New Innovations in Slipperyness

When running for president is your full-time job, somebody has to buy the jet fuel. In John Edwards' case I guess it's "the poor" who are going to foot his bill:
Mr. Edwards, who reported this year that he had assets of nearly $30 million, came up with a novel solution, creating a nonprofit organization with the stated mission of fighting poverty. The organization, the Center for Promise and Opportunity, raised $1.3 million in 2005, and — unlike a sister charity he created to raise scholarship money for poor students — the main beneficiary of the center’s fund-raising was Mr. Edwards himself, tax filings show.
Just another lesson in how you can't trust any of these finks any farther than you can throw them.
While Mr. Edwards said the organization’s purpose was “making the eradication of
poverty the cause of this generation,” its federal filings say it financed “retreats and seminars” with foreign policy experts on Iraq and national security issues. Unlike the scholarship charity, donations to it were not tax deductible, and, significantly, it did not have to disclose its donors — as political action committees and other political fund-raising vehicles do — and there were no limits on the size of individual donations.
I actually believe that if you read the rules and obey what they say, the unwritten rest of it is open to your own interpretation. That approach has given us the mechanical unicorns and innovations in motor sports, for instance, but in the case of politics, there's nothing more slimy than financing your own aggrandizement on the (on paper) backs of "the poor," whoever they are in this case of political expediency.

But it was (Edwards) use of a tax-exempt organization to finance his travel and employ people connected to his past and current campaigns that went beyond what most other prospective candidates have done before pursuing national office. And according to experts on nonprofit foundations, Mr. Edwards pushed at the boundaries of how far such organizations can venture into the political realm. Such entities, which are regulated under Section 501C-4 of the tax code, can engage in advocacy but cannot make partisan political activities their primary purpose without risking loss of their tax-exempt status.
And that bleak assessment is from the New York Times.

Zero to World-Class Too Fast

As a prelude to the 2008 summer Olympics, China is really putting on the dog. They're not only building up the required athletic facilities and infrastructure in the immediate Beijing area, but since the world's attention will be on them for months, they are further fortifying their national identity by ramping up other high profile initiatives like aircraft manufacturing and an auto industry. They're building so much stuff, and using so many resources, even the price of copper pipe at my neighborhood hardware store has gone through the ceiling.

Well, good luck to the Chinese with all that, but I'm not going to get into the Olympic spirit by buying a Chinese car anytime soon.

The BS6, as currently constructed, appears to a complete piece of crap. The horrifying 40 mph offset frontal crash test video shows damage that can be described as catastrophic at best. The A-pillar collapses and folds up like a cheap suitcase, forcing the driver's door to pop largely out of its frame, while the lower portion of the car buckles like it's made of recycled pop cans. We wouldn't want to be the driver's legs...or any other part of him for that matter.

Offended By the Actual Offense

What a difference some forthrightness makes:

On Monday, Pakistan's religious affairs minister said that because Rushdie had blasphemed Islam with provocative literature, it was understandable that angry Muslims would commit suicide bombings over his knighthood.

Members of parliament, as well as the Pakistani Government, amplified the condemnation of Britain, feeding cries of offence to Muslim sensibilities from Europe to Asia. As a Muslim, you better believe I'm offended - by these absurd reactions.

It's what we here at the Dog Farm call "a good read."

21 June 2007

But You Knew All This Already

There's the stuff you tell people, and there's the stuff you don't tell people.

MSNBC.com identified 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

"Our writers are citizens, and they're free to do what they want to do," said New Yorker editor David Remnick, who has 10 political donors at his magazine. "If what they write is fair, and they respond to editing and counter-arguments with an open mind, that to me is the way we work."

The openness didn't extend, however, to telling the public about the donations. Apparently none of the journalists disclosed the donations to readers, viewers or listeners. Few told their bosses, either.

Few conveyed any understanding of the issue either - for instance:

A Fox TV reporter in Omaha, Calvert Collins, posted a photo on Facebook.com with her cozying up to a Democratic candidate for Congress. She urged her friends, "Vote for him Tuesday, Nov. 7!" She also gave him $500. She said she was just trying to build rapport with the candidates. (And what builds rapport more effectively than $500 and a strapless gown?)

As the Jerusalem correspondent for CNN, (Guy Raz) was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq in June 2004, when he gave $500 to John Kerry. He didn't supply his occupation or employer to the Kerry campaign, so his donation is listed in federal records with only his name and London address. Now he covers the Pentagon for NPR. Both CNN and NPR forbid political activity. "I covered international news and European Union stories. I did not cover U.S. news or politics," Raz said in an e-mail to MSNBC.com. When asked how one could define U.S. news so it excludes the U.S. war in Iraq, Raz didn't reply.
Ultimately, no one should give up their citizenship to hold a job in the United States, but the part of the article that's the real eyebrow raiser is where they offered squeamish explanations for their contributions that ranged from confusion to arrogance:
ABC News, Mary Fulginiti, "Primetime" correspondent, Hollywood, Calif., $500 to Gov. Bill Richardson, Democratic presidential candidate, 2007. "A friend asked me to contribute" to Richardson, Fulginiti said. "This is not a reflection of my political views. Look, I've made a mistake here. I'm a legal analyst — this is all new to me. I have been politically active in the past. This is when I was just starting out at ABC. I was still thinking as a lawyer."
You'd think a lawyer'd pay closer attention to details of her own employment contracts.

ABC affiliate in Wichita, Susan Peters, anchor, $600 to America Coming Together in two donations in 2004 and 2005. She anchors the news at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. America Coming Together funded get-out-the-vote drives to defeat President Bush in 2004. Peters didn't return calls. KAKE news director David Grant said, "To be honest, I don't have an answer for you. Can I get back to you?" He didn't call back.
But of course.
Newsweek, Anne Underwood, correspondent on health and medical stories, $1,000 to John Kerry in March 2004. The donation is listed under her married name, Enslow. "I really don't want to participate in this," Underwood said, hanging up the phone.
Now there's courage of one's convictions!
U.S. News & World Report, Amanda Spake, senior writer, $250 to John Kerry in August 2004. Spake covered public health issues and policy. Now a freelance writer, she is on a fellowship from George Soros' The Open Society Institute to study the health effects of Hurricane Katrina. "I went to a luncheon for Kerry," Spake said. "I had friends who were organizing that luncheon, and I felt I had to do it." As for any conflict of interest, she said, "I never covered politics. I covered public health. It did not impact my coverage one bit."
Public health - nothing ever political about that, huh? Finally:

The New York Times, Randy Cohen, ethics columnist, $585 in three donations in August 2004 to MoveOn.org, which conducted get-out-the-vote drives to defeat President Bush. Cohen said he thought of MoveOn.org as nonpartisan and thought the donation would be allowed even under the strict rule at the Times.

Now That We're Here

Perhaps you can accomodate our every whim at the expense of your own culture?
The Muslim Council of Britain criticised state schools for not organising sex education, changing rooms and assemblies to suit the Islamic sensibilities. They urged head teachers to build prayer rooms and individual changing cubicles and avoid scheduling exams during Ramadan, when many pupils are fasting. The MCB said schools were not taking account of "legitimate and reasonable requests" from parents and pupils.
So much for secular education. Wither Britain.

More here.

A Different Spin on Affirmative Action

That European Union jive becomes a new headache every day.
In a spectacularly undiplomatic outburst, (Polish PM Jaroslaw Kaczynski) said his country was losing out in today's European Union as a direct result of the millions of deaths that followed its invasion by Germany in 1939. "If Poland had not had to live through the years of 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."

A proposed new system of sharing out votes rewards countries such as Germany with the biggest numbers - and Poland is angrily demanding more. Poland's population is 38 million - implying that Mr Kaczynski blames the Germans for the loss of 28 million people.
Hopefully this will all be worked out over pilsners.

15 June 2007

John Lesch; Dumbass

What else did you expect from an urban Democrat in 2007?
DFL state Rep. John Lesch said Friday he will introduce legislation next year to ban five dog breeds in Minnesota -- chow chows, wolf hybrids, pit bulls, Akitas and Rottweilers.
'Cuz all these breeds are killers - no exception. Not one owner of any of these breeds has lived to tell the tale of the horrors that were their lives.

Know Thy Enemy

It drives me crazy when I feel I can't trust police officers to do the right thing.
Kelly, 18, of Carlisle, was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge, with a penalty of up to 7 years in state prison. His camera and film were seized by police during the May 24 stop, he said, and he spent 26 hours in Cumberland County Prison until his mother posted her house as security for his $2,500 bail. Kelly is charged under a state law that bars the intentional interception or recording of anyone's oral conversation without their consent.

Kelly said his friend was cited for speeding and because his truck's bumper was too low. He said he held the camera in plain view and turned it on when the officer yelled at his pal.
I don't understand why any peace officer performing official duties in public should have an expectation of privacy.

Snow Job

This is on display at my office. Notice that it has the same number of Chevrolet parts as the thing Tony Stewart drives in circles most Sundays.

13 June 2007

Politicizing the Weather

Have you ever - EVER - seen such small-mindedness?
Radio station WIOD, AM 610, has been the official channel for emergency information from Broward (Florida) County government for the past year. The County Commission, all Democrats, balked at renewing the deal Tuesday, unable to stomach the station also being home to (Rush) Limbaugh's talk show.

Ken Charles, WIOD's director of AM programming, said Tuesday the station's talk show lineup has no relationship with its news coverage and that the county should focus on the benefits of teaming with the station."It's a shame that people would let politics get in the way of saving lives in a hurricane," Charles said.
The worst part is these idiots think they're serving the community by pitching their childish, partisan fit.

12 June 2007

Stop Believing the Reality

Don't tell me you're in perfect health; for I'm in the feel-better business!

Nine days ago, eight Democratic presidential candidates debated for two hours, saying about the economy ... next to nothing. You must slog to page 43 in the 51-page transcript before Barack Obama laments that "the burdens and benefits of this new global economy are not being spread evenly across the board" and promises to "institute some fairness in the system."

Well. When in the long human story have economic burdens and benefits been "spread evenly"? Does Obama think they should be, even though talents never are? What relationship of "fairness" does he envision between the value received by individuals and the value added by them? Does he disagree -- if so, on what evidence? -- with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke that "the influence of globalization on inequality has been moderate and almost surely less important than the effects of skill-biased technological change"?

11 June 2007

Robert Kubica's Wild Ride

Slight concussion and a sprained ankle; that's it.

No Mention of the House Jack Built

Largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.

Curb Your Enthusiastic Dog

Like a good spider, Joe tempts us into the harmless-looking web, disarming us with a jaunt about Rover and the good old days. Right in the middle, though, he chucks a particulalry sharp harpoon right in the ribs of the Civic Monster:
Once dogs became nothing more than amendments to St. Paul Legislative Code, chapter 200.14, they stopped being part of the fabric of everyday life. I know I am going way back here, but if some kid didn't come in for supper with dog poop oozing out of the treads of his tennis shoes, that was a kid who wasn't playing very hard.

Now, I am not at all going to campaign to take dogs off leashes or anything of the sort. We are a weaker people and entirely incapable of returning to a life that actually makes sense. We much prefer to be governed by the types who preach a good community game and then pass ordinances that specifically prevent the establishment of such.
Bravo; we at the Dog Farm wholeheartedly agree.

07 June 2007

Mastering the Basics

Charles Schumer demonstrates one of the fundamentals of deciept:

The ideology of an organization, if any, is determined by the views it espouses (and arguably the views of its members), not its racial or ethnic composition. MALDEF has consistently espoused left-liberal positions. The Federal Society, by contrast, does not espouse any views, and the views of its members are probably more ideologically diverse than those of MALDEF.

Schumer is playing an old and intellectually dishonest game -- ascribing an ideological agenda to his opponents while denying that his allies have one. It's a game favored by some modern liberals, but one that suggests a totalitarian mindset.

06 June 2007

All I Have to Say

Phooey - see you NEXT hockey season.

A Bi-Coastal Perjorative

When I use the term "Hollywood Freak," it has nothing to do with which home they choose to live in at the moment.
Why - after Bali, Madrid, London, Amsterdam, New York (twice), Casablanca, Istanbul, on and on - is someone so intelligent as Nora writing this trendy tripe? What does she expect law enforcement to do? Not to investigate these things? Nora implies it's all entrapment... but is it? How does she know? Indeed, she doesn't and couldn't. She just assumes it to be so because it is a comfortable world view for her.

People like Nora in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 were supporting such actions themselves, but soon grew weary. It put too much strain on their self-images, so it became easier to make snotty comments about the FBI, as if J. Edgar Hoover was still in charge and the Palmer Raids never ended - only he's dead and they have. Long ago. Times have changed. And how.
And from the comments to Roger's post:
It does seem that many on the left and a few on the right have drifted in their support for the current struggle not out of conviction or hard reasoning, but out of personal surrender. By that I mean it is simply easier to go along with the MSM talking head trends than to buck them. By being against the war, they feel the war is not their responsibility and they can divorce themselves from any further support. This is the comfortable course of action. Through personal surrender, those who turned against the struggle find strong company on nightly television and explanations about why their choice of surrender was the right one. It reminds of the case of Patty Hearst. I think a similar dynamic is in play.

The 24-hour media, largely against the US position, brings war to the American public. Many citizens are not able to cope with the images and reality of war. The only way for the US to lose is for the American public to decide to accept defeat. This unthinkable, to me, outcome seems to be approaching. The funny thing is, the reason many are willing to accept US defeat in war, is so that they can be comfortable with their emotions while they watch TV at night.
Hey, Nora; stop worrying about your neck. Worry about the tortured lump that sits atop it.

05 June 2007

They Always Bury the Lead

What sort of airline passenger are you?
(Bob) Hayden's wife of 42 years, Katie, who was also on the flight, was less impressed. Even as her husband struggled with the agitated passenger, she barely looked up from "The Richest Man in Babylon," the book she was reading.

"The woman sitting in front of us was very upset and asked me how I could just sit there reading," Katie Hayden said. "Bob's been shot at. He's been stabbed. He's taken knives away. He knows how to handle those situations. I figured he would go up there and step on somebody's neck, and that would be the end of it. I knew how that situation would end. I didn't know how the book would end."
UPDATE: More on Bob Hayden; my kind of guy:

“The flight attendant waived the handcuffs (plastic ties), which was the signal we had agreed on and the Marine and I subdued both men; I cuffed one while he was on the ground,” Bob recalls. The men causing the disturbance were belted tightly into their seats and Bob and the Marine sat next to them until, after the flight landed, the State Police arrived and took them off the plane.

Bob said passengers on the flight were frightened and some were crying. “One woman asked me, ‘are we going to die?’ I said, ‘someday, but not today,’” he recalled.

04 June 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Still Alive

"Wolf Like Me" - TV on the Radio

Still Better Than Cats

"The Dog" by Pablo Picasso
Washington Post:
Dog owners have long maintained that their pooches have a lot more going on between their furry ears than scientists acknowledge. Now, new research is adding to the growing evidence that man's best friend thinks a lot more than many humans have believed. The provocative new experiment indicated that dogs can do something that previously only humans, including infants, have been shown capable of doing: decide how to imitate a behavior based on the specific circumstances in which the action takes place.

"The fact that the dogs imitate selectively, depending on the situation -- that has not been shown before," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, who led the study. "That's something completely new."
I wonder if man will ever be smart enough to know how much they know.

Still Unreported

Oh yea, they're swallowing thier own tongues with glee over Libby being sentenced today; gotta keep banging that silent gong. All the while, next to no one is watching this train continue to wreck:
There was only one way to stop (the Sandy Berger) investigation, to keep from answering questions about what he did and why he did it, to keep the Bar from questioning his colleagues in the Clinton Administration about what had been in the documents Berger destroyed. Berger took that step, surrendering his license, and stopping the investigation. Ordinarily, anyone who has spent the time, effort, and money needed to master one of the "learned professions" fights with the utmost determination to keep his license. That is not merely a ticket to practice your chosen profession - it is also a badge of honor and accomplishment. Ask any doctor or lawyer, any architect or CPA, any professional at all, what it means to give that up.

For Berger to risk jail and disgrace, to then give up the right to practice his profession merely in order to avoid having to answer questions, he must be hiding something important. And if it is that important to him, it is also important to us.
This is not about beating up Democrats or Republicans. It's about putting the betterment of then nation ahead of (ultimatley) childish and selfish political positions.

02 June 2007

Light Her Up

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone of the Cathedral in Saint Paul, a local doctor popped for 2 nights of lumens via Musco. The result was worth the walk.

Wood Lake

Moments after this picture was snapped, there was a meal of fish. Hard to believe Wood Lake is bordered by 3 freeways and an international airport.

01 June 2007

Chesterton Quoted

In a review for this book:
A child's instinct is almost perfect in the matter of fighting; a child always stands for the good militarism as against the bad. The child's hero is always the man or boy who defends himself suddenly and splendidly against aggression. The child's hero is never the man or boy who attempts by his mere personal force to extend his mere personal influence. In all boys' books, in all boys' conversation, the hero is one person and the bully the other. That combination of the hero and bully in one, which people now call the Strong Man or the Superman, would be simply unintelligible to any schoolboy.... But really to talk of this small human creature, who never picks up an umbrella without trying to use it as a sword, who will hardly read a book in which there is no fighting, who out of the Bible itself generally remembers the "bluggy" [bloody] parts, who never walks down the garden without imagining himself to be stuck all over with swords and daggers--to take this human creature and talk about the wickedness of teaching him to be military, seems rather a wild piece of humour. He has already not only the tradition of fighting, but a far manlier and more genial tradition of fighting than our own. No; I am not in favour of the child being taught militarism. I am in favour of the child teaching it.
Something to think about next time the government school in your town bans tag or kickball and cancells recess for some sheepish reason.

Today's Fine Writing

Comes from Matt Drew of Minneapolis:

While I wasn't surprised that Miss USA was the target of cruel, classless and misdirected heckling by the Mexico City mob that comprised the audience during Monday's Miss Universe pageant, I was certainly surprised to learn that more than 9,000 people still live in Mexico.

But based on the vociferous boos aimed at a smiling, 22-year-old Rachel Smith, it was apparent that many of the remaining Mexicans who haven't yet decided to simply stroll across our wide-open border and enter the United States illegally were inexplicably upset with Miss Tennessee.

Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe pageant, said the audience wasn't booing Miss USA, but rather "some policies of the United States." Which policies? If anything, Mexicans should be enthusiastically and infinitely grateful to their northern neighbor for acting as a de facto jobs program for millions of poor, uneducated Mexicans who, after finding the work here that doesn't exist there, in turn wire billions of American dollars to their relatives back home.

Meanwhile, far too many of our jails, emergency rooms, maternity wards, public schools, courtrooms and social service programs are occupied by illegal immigrants who have no right to be in this country, but are still treated fairly, yet somehow the gringa in an evening gown's the villain? Mexicans looking to assign blame to those responsible for the plight of their people should direct their anger, not at beauty pageant contestants, but toward their own notoriously corrupt government and economic system that has failed its people for generations.