26 April 2008

Yes, We Have No Bacon

Why? Because Big Brother cares about you more than you do; now pay your tax bill!
Problem is customers love bacon, and Palacios says she loses business if she doesn’t give them the bacon they demand. “Bacon is a potentially hazardous food,” says Terrence Powell of the LA County Health Department. Continue selling bacon dogs without county-approved equipment and you risk fines and jail time. Palacios knows all about that. She spent 45 days in the slammer for selling bacon dogs . . .
Why is it, good people, that everytime someone from the government telling that you need the governmet (watch the video), it's always coming from some gray-haired, ponytailed dude from the sixties?

Oh, by the way, no pop to go with that hot dog, either:
Minnesota took on "Big Tobacco" a few years ago. Now it's South Dakota's turn, as Minnesota's neighbor to the west hopes to take the fizz out of "Big Soda." In an effort to improve the diet of its nearly 800,000 residents, South Dakota's Health Department is issuing the "Sodabriety Challenge" for the month of May.

Those who sign up will receive free water bottles and at the end of the challenge, 10 randomly selected participants will receive prizes.
Clearly, South Dakota, for all its claims of lower taxes, is collecting too much tax revenue if they even have $10 for this program.

Many Horns, One Voice

GSTA Rod & Custom Show

When the outside weather sucks, bring it indoors.

20 April 2008

Congrats to Ms. Partick

Way to lose the asterisk.

Danica Patrick became the first American woman to win a major auto race on Sunday, using successful fuel strategy to capture an IndyCar Series event in Motegi, Japan. She won the race by nearly six seconds over Helio Castroneves, the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner.

“I think Danica is such a fantastic person and I’m thrilled for her that the monkey is finally off of her back,” (Michael) Andretti said. “We have all believed in her, and she proved today that she is a winner. Frankly, I think this is the first of many.”
Women succeeding in a male-dominated world; another reason al queda hates us.

19 April 2008

On Ice

The Minnesota Wild became the third team eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Series MVP has to be Feet goalie Jose Theodore who was excellent for 6 games, posting a save percentage of .937 on 190 shots on goal.

They just had more gas in the tank. See you at the X in October.

Making the Prius Play Defense

The up! will feature both gasoline and diesel-powered engines with a minuscule displacement of only .6 turbocharged liters, and a larger 1.2L three-cylinder engine may be planned, as well.The up! will also be extremely fuel efficient, with U.S. fuel economy numbers near 80 mpg. Perhaps the most eye-catching bit of info is the base price of the handsome little micro: models will sell for as little as £4,500 in emerging markets and more richly equipped European models will start around £7,500.
Probably not as fun to drive as DB9, but it's a start.

Knowing from Bitter

Larry Bartels:

During Wednesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia, Barack Obama once more tried to explain what he meant when he suggested earlier this month that small-town people of modest means “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” out of frustration with their place in a changing American economy.

Small-town people of modest means and limited education are not fixated on cultural issues. Rather, it is affluent, college-educated people living in cities and suburbs who are most exercised by guns and religion. In contemporary American politics, social issues are the opiate of the elites.

Mr. Obama’s comments are supposed to be significant because of the popular perception that rural, working-class voters have abandoned the Democratic Party in recent decades and that the only way for Democrats to win them back is to cater to their cultural concerns. The reality is that John Kerry received a slender plurality of their votes in 2004, while John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey, in the close elections of 1960 and 1968, lost them narrowly.

Mr. Obama should do as well or better among these voters if he is the Democratic candidate in November. If he doesn’t, it won’t be because he has offended the tender sensitivities of small-town Americans. It will be because he has embraced a misleading stereotype of who they are and what they care about.

Nailed it, and in the New York Times no less.

More on Obama's pathetic and synthetic approach to the rubes in fly-over-land:
"Sen. Obama will be a strong voice an unabashed voice for America's hunters and shooters and it is with great pleasure that we endorse his candidacy," President of the Association Ray Schoenke said, citing Obama's commitment to the traditions of gun ownership. "We believe recent attacks on Sen. Obama's stand on the 2nd amendment and his commitment to the hunting and shooting heritages are unfair."

Actually, it is Obama's record on firearms that is unfair to Americans, but don't expect Ray Schoenke to know much about gun rights, even if the Daily Kos diarist is the President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA). Schoenke, a failed Democratic candidate for governor of Maryland, has donated thousands to Handgun Control, Inc, a virulent anti-gun organization that was the forerunner of Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. He has donated tens of thousands more to anti-gun Democratic politicians including Ted Kennedy.

AHSA executive director Robert Ricker has testified as a paid witness against the gun industry and consults for several anti-gun groups, and John Rosenthal, President of the AHSA Foundation, is a former member of Sarah Brady's Handgun Control, Inc, and is leader of Stop Handgun Violence, a Massachusetts anti-gun group that has contributed to that state's intolerant anti-gun guns.
I was looking in my local daily paper for a headline like "Make-Believe Gun Rights Group Endorses Obama" but I couldn't find any trace of one.

A Warning

Ever stop, look around, and realize that you might be two day's travel from decent Thai food?

Talkin' 'Bout Change

Stephen Bainbridge:

When I think about Obama, I am reminded of Richard Epstein’s observation that in order to remain politically viable modern socialists no longer advocate direct government ownership of production. Instead, modern socialism operates on two different levels: “At a personal level, it speaks to the alienation of the individual, stressing the need for caring and sharing and the politics of meaning. At a regulatory level, it seeks to identify specific sectors in which there is a market failure and then to subject them to various forms of government regulation.”

Sounds a lot like Obama’s stump speech to me.

Trivia I've Come Across

Just in the last 24 hours:

- For every real doctor in Delhi, India, there is one practicing medicine who is not a real doctor.

- Roberto Clemente is the only major league baseball player to hit a walk-off inside the park grand slam home run.

- When John Glenn's space capsule splashed down and was recovered by the USS Enterprise in 1962, the on-duty radar operator was Larry Flynt.

Any Wonder Why Atheletes Are Screwed Up?

Changing a uniform number equals punishment:

There's nothing figurative about Ray Small's fall from grace -- he wears it on his back. As part of his punishment for a mystery transgression, the Ohio State receiver this spring was stripped of his No. 4 and given No. 82. That hurts, much more than the physical conditioning Small has been forced to endure while his teammates have practiced the past few weeks.

"That would be hard," teammate Brian Robiskie said. "You definitely wear your number with a lot of pride."

I guess Robiskie missed class on the day they taught the definition of 'arbitrary.'

16 April 2008

Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Or covered in any other way.

I suppose when the “debate is over” why do you need the press around? Gore’s standard speaking contract was published by The Smoking Gun, and it is apparently not just this RSA conference, but ALL such contracted appearances Gore bans the press from.

15 April 2008

Don't Confuse Me With Facts

I'm a public school administrator and I'm too busy to deal with reality:
A teacher sent him to the principal when she noticed him smelling the marker and his clothing. "It smelled good," Harris said. "They told me that's wrong." Eathan's father, John Harris, says the school overreacted for treating Eathan as if he was huffing, or inhaling, marker fumes. "I think it's outlandish," John Harris said. "It's ridiculous."

"This is really, really, seriously dangerous," Benisch said. In his letter suspending the child, Benisch wrote that smelling the marker fumes could cause the boy to "become intoxicated."

A toxicologist with the Rocky Mountain Poison Control Center says that claim is nearly impossible. Dr. Eric Lavonas says non-toxic markers like Sharpies, while pungent-smelling, cannot be used to get high. "I don't know whether it would be possible for a real overachiever to figure out a way to get high off them," Lavonas said. "But in regular use, it's just not something that's going to happen." "If you went to Costco and bought 50 bags of Sharpies and did something to them, maybe there's a way to get creative and make it happen," Lavonas said.
Government schools; ensuring mediocrity since 1979.

Boo Hoo

Mark Kiszla went ot his first hockey game ever (apparently), and the Denver Post let him write about it.
Minnesota, the land of 10,000 dead car batteries, has an inferiority about this hockey team. The Wild's style of play is as ugly and obnoxious as the uniforms, which look as if designed by a toddler who randomly pulled two crayons from the box of 64 and began scribbling. This hard truth makes the Wild faithful grumpier than they are after waking up to yet another subzero morning.
Read it all. There are three explanations for what he wrote; he wears women's underwear, he's eight, or he wanted a good old newspaper-induced rivalry which, judging by reading the comments to the story, he got.

Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire, mean enough to chew the glass surrounding the
rink, has an unabashed fondness for tough guys. The more the scarier.
Like Chris Simon, who played for the Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalance in the '95-'96 season racking up 250 penalty minutes.

11 April 2008

Critical Thinking Vacancy

Wow, people sure can allow themselves to be stupid.

Let's start with Katherine Kersten's April 9th column:

Charter schools are public schools and by law must not endorse or promote religion. Evidence suggests, however, that Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TIZA), is an Islamic school, funded by Minnesota taxpayers.

TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief. Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food - permissible under Islamic law -- and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.
This sounds a bit suspicious, but let's keep going.
Arriving on a Friday, the Muslim holy day, (substitute teacher Amanda Getz) says she was told that the day's schedule included a "school assembly" in the gym after lunch. Before the assembly, she says she was told, her duties would include taking her fifth-grade students to the bathroom, four at a time, to perform "their ritual washing." Afterward, Getz said, "teachers led the kids into the gym, where a man dressed in white with a white cap, who had been at the school all day," was preparing to lead prayer. Beside him, another man "was prostrating himself in prayer on a carpet as the students entered." "The prayer I saw was not voluntary," Getz said. "The kids were corralled by adults and required to go to the assembly where prayer occurred."
Kersten's column goes on to show what I consider to be an example of the way in which many of those who practice Islam seek to have their religion validated and endorsed by public means. If they don't get express accommodation from the state, they will simply take it when no one (in this case, the Minnesota Department of Education) is looking.

Kersten summarizes:
(I)f TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat. TIZA is now being held up as a national model for a new kind of charter school. If it passes legal muster, Minnesota taxpayers may soon find themselves footing the bill for a separate system of education for Muslims.
No doubt, but don't let facts like that get in the way of the usual apologists:
We work at the University of Minnesota, a public institution. It closes on Christian holidays. Tests and breaks are planned around Christian holidays. The floating holiday this year was on Good Friday. The university claims it is not a Christian university. Should we believe it? Brooklyn Park has a community center that receives public money. It has a large Christmas tree every year, is closed on Christmas and has "holiday parties" around Christmas. The community center claims it is not a Christian institution, but should we believe it?

Fedwa Wazwaz, Brooklyn Park and Marcia Lynx Qualey, St. Paul
Without knowing Wazwaz or Qualey personally, now that I've digested their arguments, I am sure they would be among the first to scream from the ACLU to the Supreme Court should this same sort of institutional structure and lack of state oversight manifest itself in a public school structured around Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, etc. What's clearly beyond the grasp of people like Wazwaz and Qualey is that it's one thing to passively acknowledge a culture's traditions for adults, it's quite another to structure public education for one religion for school-age children.

Kersten appeared on the April 10th Garage Logic show and hit it out of the park (pardon my paraphrasing):
(The way TIZA is run) it's as if you had a public school housed in the Catholic archdiocese, with a Catholic church in that building, with the principal of that school being a Catholic priest, sponsored by Catholic Charities, with the chair of its board being the archbishop of that archdiocese, with curriculum focused around Chrisendom, Latin was taught as a second language, all the kids prayed the Rosary four days a week and on Friday were released to go to Mass, no fish in the cafeteria for Lent, the Catholic Catechism was taught after school, but the buses didn't leave until after those teachings.
And she's right, much to the scorn of the small-minded hustlers that have form letters to the Star Tribune's editorial page all ready to go, no matter the topic du jour. If you want to have an Islamic shool, fine; do it on your own dime, just like every other religion.

08 April 2008

Joy in Mudville

Ryan Babel know who's got proper Champions League form.

It ain't Everton, that is for certain.

LIVERPOOL (AFP) - Steven Gerrard's 85th minute penalty and an injury time strike by Ryan Babel sent Liverpool into their third Champions League semi-final in
four seasons after an exhilarating 4-2 win at Anfield on Tuesday.

That's One Small Step For Man

and one casual amble into right field.

05 April 2008

500 Coaching Victories

Eight Cups as an player, two as a coach, and now 500 wins behind the bench. Congrats to Jacques Lemaire, the guy who's been there and done that.

04 April 2008

Not Muslim Enough

It's the old running gag about why terrorists do what they do - the rest of us are just not Muslim enough for them.

One man, said to be defendant Umar Islam, described his plans as "revenge" for the actions of the United States and its "accomplices such as the British and the Jews". He warned: "Martyrdom operations upon martyrdom operations will keep on raining on these kuffars [non-believers] until they release us and leave our lands."

Another man, described as defendant Abdulla Ahmed Ali, was heard saying: "Sheikh Osama [Bin Laden] has warned you many times to leave our lands or you will be destroyed, and now the time has come for you to be destroyed." The man, who described himself as the leader of the group, also warned of "floods of martyr operations" against non-Muslims which would scatter "the people and your body parts and your people's body parts" which would be "decorating the streets".

And in what the jury was told was Tanvir Hussain's suicide video, a man said he wished he could "come back and do this again, and just do it again and again until people come to their senses and realise, you know, don't mess with the Muslims".
Wow. They sound quite reasonable and level headed. I don't know why the non-Muslim world doesn't quickly snap into line behind these reasonable chaps, you know, in the name of peace.

The Crime of Serving Your Market

You know, you don't have to like malt liquor, or like how it's marketed, or buy into any stereotypes of what type of people tend to buy what type of legal products. You don't have to accept any of that. But what laws would you change or enact to solve the problem these researchers think they have discovered?

ST. PAUL—Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that malt liquor is more heavily promoted in black neighborhoods, and is also available in greater quantities and at lower prices in those areas.

In other news, there are more boats for sale in places where there are bodies of water in which to use them.

It found that low-income white, Hispanic and Asian neighborhoods didn't have similar access to malt liquor, which has a higher alcohol volume than beer.

I can't keep up with what the problem might be; are they upset because a white guy like me doesn't have the same access to malt liquor as other urban dwellers?

Associate professor Rhonda Jones-Webb says cheap access to malt liquor means it is easier for underage kids to obtain.

Well, that's only in liquor stores aren't checking customers' identification, or if those who legally buy it then illegally furnish it to minors, can and does happen everywhere. Do the authors of the study suggest that business in black neighborhoods don't follow the law, or that residents in black neighborhoods are more likely to furnish liquor to minors?

Its authors are hoping to provoke new public policy debates over whether beer companies are simply responding to market demand, or whether their promotion of malt liquor in black communities helps fuel social problems.

Obviously they are trying to provoke but the question remains; what laws need to be passes or am mended to satisfy the consciouses or the people worried about this? The types of people who like to provoke and pose such questions are the same ones who cannot predict the unintended outcomes of their hopelessly good intentions.

All Crisis, All Lies, All the Time

Only a month ago, the Democrats in the Minnesota legislature screamed for new taxes (something they do every session) and dedicated most of their newly "found" $6 billion to unneeded toy trains and transit options for the most remote, rural parts of the state. They had the audacity to call it a transportation bill.

To pay for this folly with bonds was immoral they said. Even though what was being purchased for Minnesota was to be used over many decades, Democrats were apoplectic about the notion of paying for the bloated bill with state-issued bonds. Here's a fine example of empty rhetoric from lying fink and Red Wing Democrat Steve Murphy:
“The funding package passed by the Senate provides a real, dedicated investment in Minnesota’s transportation system,” explained Sen. Murphy. “In contrast, the Governor’s funding proposal continues his addiction to debt by using the state’s credit card to pay for road projects. Rather than providing real funding, the governor passes the costs of today’s transportation projects onto our children and grandchildren.”
So it's absolutely immoral to make future generations pay for transportation infrastructure that they will use, but perfectly fine, now a month later, to make future generations pay for a national volleyball center:
Duluth has designs on a new arena for college hockey . . . $250,000 to study a theater and conference center for Winona's Great River Shakespeare Festival . . . $52 million for a next-generation steel mill in Itasca County. Rochester officials are asking for nearly $14.3 million that, along with local dollars, would be used to expand the National Volleyball Center . . . $22.6 million request for construction at Fort Snelling, (p)lans call for a new year-round visitors center, exhibits on Minnesota's role in the Civil War and World War II and an expanded gift shop.
That's the problem with volleyball, it not possible to play the game in any facility other than a specifically designated volleyball center.

The legisalative process in Minnesota is the exact streategic opposite of solvent business. The whole point of creating sustainable economic outcomes is to try to do more of the essentials with less resources. That's called 'efficiency' and that term is wholly lost on the fool who inhabit the capitol. The only way this collection of clowns measures success is by spending more tax money on more things every year. And don't you dare suggest that anything could/should be cut or reigned in; don't you know we're in crisis mode?

On Wednesday the Minnesota House and Senate passed a capital investment "bonding" bill that authorizes the state to borrow $925 million to finance public works projects. Gov. Tim Pawlenty threatens a veto, saying $925 million is too much; it surpasses the state guideline for debt service of 3 percent of state revenue.

But, Hausman told the Star Tribune, the bill spreads out the bond sales without violating the 3 percent guideline. Thus, lawmakers can throw more money down the rabbit hole leading to Alice's wonderland of grammatical and economic nonsense.

Let's start with the grammar. In Alice's wonderland, words mean whatever legislators need them to mean. Hausman defends the size of the bonding bill, saying legislative negotiators pared nearly $4 billion in requests to less than $1 billion in "most essential" projects. Not to pick nits here, but dictionaries define "essential" as "absolutely necessary; vitally necessary; indispensable."

If a project request is "essential" to the state, then there are dire consequences to the state if it's not funded; if it's not essential, state government shouldn't be funding it. "Most essential" is as nonsensical a concept as ever uttered by a mad hatter.

02 April 2008

Missing the Point, As Ususal

Whatever scorn that crazy lady from Illinois Arkansas New York received for making up what happened on her 1996 Bosnia photo-op was sure short lived. Maybe if there were any smart people left in this country, there'd be real outrage because of the real story about her layover in Tuzla and today she'd really be looking at pulling the plug on her campaign.
Taking the advice of Al Gore and National Security Advisor Tony Lake, Bill agreed to a proposal to bomb Serbian military positions while helping the Muslims acquire weapons to defend themselves—the fulfillment of a pledge he had made during the 1992 campaign. But instead of pushing European leaders, he directed Secretary of State Warren Christopher merely to consult with them. When they balked at the plan, Bill quickly retreated, creating a "perception of drift." The key factor in Bill's policy reversal was Hillary, who was said to have "deep misgivings" and viewed the situation as "a Vietnam that would compromise health-care reform." The United States took no further action in Bosnia, and the "ethnic cleansing" by the Serbs was to continue for four more years, resulting in the deaths of more than 250,000 people.

I can personally witness to the truth of this, too. I can remember, first, one of the Clintons' closest personal advisers—Sidney Blumenthal—referring with acid contempt to Warren Christopher as "a blend of Pontius Pilate with Ichabod Crane." I can remember, second, a meeting with Clinton's then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin at the British Embassy. When I challenged him on the sellout of the Bosnians, he drew me aside and told me that he had asked the White House for permission to land his own plane at Sarajevo airport, if only as a gesture of reassurance that the United States had not forgotten its commitments. The response from the happy couple was unambiguous: He was to do no such thing, lest it distract attention from the first lady's health care "initiative."
Wow, Sidney Blumenthal; haven't heard that name since he got his DWI in Nashua around the time of the New Hampshire primary. You know, whatever the etymology of 'Clinton' is, it must have a meaning rooted in a serious lack of shame.

Update From Over There

Since the legacy media spin will often dominate, it's importatn to get the non-CNN version:

The insurgent attacks did not happen "in spite of" the surge. Insurgents attacked in Basrah where foreign military influence is fanning the flames of discontent over the lack of essential services. People in Basrah are upset because they don't have access to clean water, sewage, trash removal, or fuel for cooking and transportation. They know who to blame, but they don't know who to turn to to fix the problems. They lashed out, Maliki's government moved to squelch it, and the Coalition stayed largely on the sidelines. OK, we provided targets. And maybe we helped a little, if you count helicopter gunships and Predator UAVs. But essentially, this was an internal Iraqi affair.

I wish you could have heard General Petraeus' steady response as the situation unfolded: very deliberate, yet calming. It was quite dramatic here, and a lesser leader might have over-reacted. I anticipate that some members of our own society will use this spate of violence to claim the surge failed and call for our immediate withdrawal. That would be a terrible decision based on a tragic misreading of what just happened.

The General can expect to be grilled by Congress and the press over this, but the violence reflects on Iraqi politics and ineffective provincial government, not on the surge or the value of our continued presence here.

01 April 2008

Play by Play

Of a stroke, suffered by someone who should know about it.

Forecasting is a Fools Game

Sunday; sun and 52. Wash and vacuum winter off the Volkswagen.
Monday; seven inches of the wet & heavy. Dopeslap a global warming alarmist.

Well, maybe I need a new outlook around this obviously perpetual winter I'm saddled with. Maybe instead of a motorcycle or classic car, I can just throw down with the vintage snowmobile gang.

Did you catch the Arctic Cat Puma? That's classic Milo Osterman right there.