Thursday, October 30, 2008

North Minneapolis Ballot Requirements

Not sure how to vote next Tuesday? I've got you covered. For the record, it is very legal to bring a cheat sheet to the voting booth. You don't have to memorize this stuff. If you are interested, I would be more than happy to scan and e-mail a sample ballot.

STATEWIDE

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES – John McCain

McCain is smarter, tougher and better qualified than Barack Obama. If this were any other election year, it would be a landslide. Get off your ass and vote for him.

SENATE - Norm Coleman

Norm is a lousy ideologue, but an excellent politician. That may sound like I am damning with faint praise, but there is something to be said for a person who picks his battles and articulates his case. Sen. Coleman isn’t as wishy-washy as his detractors make him out to be. He is a party-convert from a moderate state, and is the best choice for Senate.

Besides, Al Franken is a mess.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT – NO

I am among those conservatives who believe that Minnesota should invest in our parks and waterways. But in a down economy, but the portentously-named Clean Water, Wildlife, Cultural Heritage and Natural Areas is as bloated as it sounds. It is a transparent attempt to do an end run around the legislative process.

I cannot abide by a bloated referendum that will cost the average Minnesotan $60 per year in a down economy. Particularly offensive is the attempt to shoehorn funding for the arts into an amendment that leads with Clean Water. Even the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press have weighed in against the amendment. Don’t be fooled.

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE – DISTRICT 5 – Barb Davis White

Who better to take on a Jew-hating lowlife like Keith Ellison than a black woman whose grandparents fled Nazi Germany? She is absolutely the right woman for the job, and has absolutely no chance of winning.


MINNEAPOLIS


STATE REP. – DISTRICT 58A – Grant Cermak

By all accounts, a first-rate political mind, Grant has actually earned the endorsement of Ron Paul, if you’re into that sort of thing. The incumbent, Joe Mullery, is the prototypical Democrat from a low-income district. Extremely far-left, lives in the nice part of town, depressingly soft on crime, and (I kid you not) pro-Cuba.


SCHOOL DISTRICT BALLOT 1 – NO

Minneapolis schools are asking homeowners to pay an additional $1,200 per pupil, or $60 million overall, per year, to support our failed public schools. While proponents of the bill tout the promise of smaller class sizes, the initiative in question will actually reduce the percentage of funds levied for this purpose. The rest will be spent on the usual fluff. Modernization (e.g. flat screen TVs), increased pay for wealthy administrators, cultural awareness programs, and the like.

The initiative will scale the $60 million to inflation, meaning that property taxes will increase even as housing values drop. The average household will pay approximate $2,500 over the next ten years. Teaching our kids to read and write is hard, but it should not be this expensive. Until Minneapolis Public Schools can demonstrate a track record of serious reform, they do not deserve the support of the taxpayers.

SCHOOL DISTRICT BALLOT 2 – YES

This is a common sense initiative to divide the school board into districts, ensuring fair representation for each neighborhood. It will further provide for increased accountability, as neighborhood representatives will be forced to make their case to their own communities. Anything that keeps our school board from becoming a fiefdom of incumbency has my support, and this initiative will do just that.

JUDGES

Please, vote on judges! Our state’s industrial complex of left-wing, political motivated adjudicators has created a serious crime problem in our city centers, not to mention a host of painfully unconstitutional decisions. Now sure who do vote for? TPWK is here to help.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE 3 – Tim Tingelstad

Incumbent Paul Anderson voted to constitutionally mandate funding for abortion. While I would prefer that Tingelstad didn’t have a prayer clock on his website, his understanding of the constitution within the context of biblical principle is accurate, even if the pro-family agenda isn’t your cup of tea.

ASSOCIATE JUSTICE 4 – Lorie Skjerven Gildea

A Tim Pawlenty appointee, Gildea has earned overwhelming bi-partisan praise. Let’s keep her on board.

COURT OF APPEALS (JUDGE 16) – Dan Griffith

As his website makes clear, Griffith’s approach to the law is wise and well-reasoned. Left-wing groups are endeavoring to out him as a Christian, but this is not a reason to deny his candidacy. The trial lawyers support his opponent, so there’s that.

4th DISTRICT JUDGES

JUDGE 9 – Eugene Link

Not much can be said for Link’s candidacy, other than that he is running against Philip D. Bush, a Unitarian who cites “creativity” as one of his judicial accomplishments. His creativity extends to Bush’s sentencing, which dispenses with inside-the-box methods such as punishing criminals.

JUDGE 53 – David L. Piper

Piper is endorsed by Rich Stanek. His opponent, Jane Ranum, is endorsed by R.T. Rybak. What more do you need to know? Ranum is a Democratic state senator who cites innovation as the most important qualification for a judge. No thanks.

JUDGE 58 – James T. Swenson

Apparently, he is the district chief. That said, his judicial philosophy is indistinguishable from that of his opponent, but he has achieved some administrative accomplishments which have saved money. A nominal recommendation here.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Message From Hopeface

Hi, I'm Barack Obama.

I have purchased time on Kevin's blog to tell you about the change that is about to come.

On November 4th, you will have the opportunity to elect me to be the change we need. Consider yourselves very lucky.

I want to invite you all to tune in to the Barack Obama variety hour, tonight at 8 p.m. EST. It doesn't matter which channel. I'll be on all of them.

But this is no ordinary variety hour. There won't be celebrity guests or duets with David Bowie.

Instead, my special will feature real families. Families who want change. Most importantly, those families will be talking about me.

Look, I realize that some of you might be hoping to catch the end of the World Series game. I understand your concern. I've watched baseball myself.

But now is the time to set aside personal interests. This isn't about you, it is about me.

Our nation is facing an unprecedented crisis. Eight years of failed Bush administration policies have left us with nothing.

As I've travelled around the country, I've talked with real families. Most of them are so hungry for change that they can't even bring themselves to watch television.

For one brief night, those families have a reason to watch, and a reason to live.

I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A taste of life under Hopeface

In Wisconsin, a pastor and father of nine, Barry Barnett, is accused of assaulting his child. His weapon? A paddle. Yep, a man is being charged with assault for spanking his son. No points for guessing that an overzealous female prosecutor is pursuing the case.

This is why I vote Republican, people.

Apparently, some teacher overheard a student saying his brother got paddled. As any reasonable person would, she let the issue rest. Oh, sorry, for a second I forgot that I live on !#$%ing bizarro planet. What I meant to say was, she went into hysterics and reported the matter to the authorities.

This is why I'm never sending my kids to public school.

So they send the poor kid to the emergency room to examine him. Turns out he had light bruising. Well, that was enough for District Attorney Jane Kohlwey, who recently earned publicity for striking a secret plea deal exonerating a former deputy who backed over his girlfriend with his truck, and for destroying all documentation related to the case.

To be fair, the Bible does say "spare the truck, spoil the girlfriend."

In this case, however, Ms. Jane is seeking a three year sentence, and her motivations are transparently political. There is a movement afoot in this country to eliminate all forms of corporal punishment. The movement consists largely of young, liberal, unbright women, but there is international precedent. The United Nations has made it a goal to end all corporal punishment by 2009 (way to keep your eye on the ball, guys), and Massachussets has been weighing the merits of banning the practice outright for quite some time now.

Which brings us to the election. The crusade to end spanking has a lot of sympathy among the people responsible for Obama's ascent. Those who oppose the practice do not delineate between an act of discipline and an act of violence. Children have no problem discerning the difference, but whatev...

Sensing imminent victory, the far left wing has been espousing their views in larger forums. Barack Obama has pledged to nominate Supreme Court Justices in the mold of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, who, in turn, have pledged to sublimate our constitution to UN Charter.

I have said this before, but it bears repeating. This issue can either be considered a golden opportunity for Republicans, or a colossal infringement on basic liberty. Just as Hillary Clinton's attacks on homeschoolers provoked a strong conservative reaction, any threat to the right of parents to discipline their children will evoke a strong public response.

Conservatives in congress, as they did with gay marriage, should take the fight to the Democrats. A bill protecting the right of parents to spank their children would enjoy tremendous public support, putting congressional Democrats in a bind. Most liberals assume that most people agree with them on the issue of discipline, and the Democrats will likely put up a fight. If Barack Obama is elected, they will not likely concede an early legislative victory for Republicans.

If you thought Joe the Plumber galvanized the American center-right, wait until they meet Barry the pastor. I'll take a fight between the father of nine and, say Barney Frank.

But this is only a tactical response that will not assuage a looming problem. If Barack Obama is elected, he and his ilk have all but promised to disregard individual rights and liberties. Just as our UN brethren do not recognize parental rights, so too do they reject the freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Obama's comments reveal a man who regards the Constitution as a flimsy document, in need of tinkering and improvement.

The case of Barry the Pastor remains a ridiculous outlier, the product of an incompetent prosecutor eager to rankle the opponents who criticized her handling of a much more serious case. But such cases tend to be the canary in the coal mine of civil liberty. The case against Barry Barnett could provide a template for maneuvering this issue through the courts.

Be wary, and be sure to vote on November 4th.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday Musings

Sorry, I had to bag on the Junk Bond Times at least once before next week's election. Let's muse.

The only McCain-Palin sign in North Minneapolis remains intact. Will Democracy survive Halloween?

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The new Keane album sounds terrible. I'm tired of ironic 80's rock. Can't we move on to ironic 90's rock like Kings of Leon?

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Sen. Ted Stevens has been found guilty of all charges. And yet he has vowed to continue running. This is one Republican I'll be opposing (and have been) this time around.

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Sojo, the quasi-Marxist quasi-religious advocacy group, has a piece defending Obama's position on spreading the wealth. Of course, the Obama campaign is backing off the candidate's remarks, as the candidate's campaign is wont to do. In fact, Joe Biden said that the only person who wants to spread wealth is McCain. And yet, his viewpoint is celebrated by his followers.

You think maybe he meant to say what he said? Naw, couldn't be. He was only, what, 47 years old at the time?

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Anyone who has been following the press coverage of this election knows that the press is transparently campaigning for Hopeface to become president. Now, in my experience, journalists affect a very cool demeanor. Their biases are manifest, but subtle. They tend not to get worked up over this or that issue. But this cycle has been different. The AP has run 3-4 hit pieces per week on Sarah Palin. That's bananas. Why the huffing and puffing?

My pet theory, and other pundits are catching up to this, is that the last hope for Paleojournalism (i.e. the print and broadcast news media that is faced with a dwindling audience) is the Fairness Doctrine. This legislative chestnut, once put to bed in the 1980s, has been a hobbyhorse for the political left since the advent of talk radio. Basically, it is a legislative dictum that gives government that power to control the political content of the airwaves.

While Americans probably won't abide by a reintroduction of the Doctrine itself, it would seem that a bailout might be in order. A Democratic House and Senate would easily pass a multi-billion dollar relief package designed to repair America's journalistic infrastructure. I'll let you guess who would get the money.

I wouldn't got so far as to say that under-the-table agreements have been made, but journalists aren't stupid. The Times knows that a Democratic Congress won't let such an important propoganda device sail into bankruptcy. Fair and balanced indeed.

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Incidentally, the above should scare the living crap out of you. In case you were wondering.

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Folding up shop on the garden this year. Got some beans frozen. Mighty fine crop this year, dammit.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Live from the New York Times

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to meet with various newsmakers. Recently, fellow Pomona alum and New York Times Editor-In-Chief, Bill Keller offered me the opportunity to sit in on an editorial meeting related to coverage of the presidential campaign. This was a fascinating opportunity to get a first-hand look at how the world's most reputable media outlet reports the news each day.

Without any further ado, here is a transcript of today's meeting.

Keller: Hey guys, I just want to kick off this meeting, by saying I think our coverage is the most relevant, meaningful, and fair in the history of our paper. As a reward, I'm giving you each a 1% share in the paper's stock.

Michael Luo: Great, now we can have a pizza party.

Keller: Um, no... But let's get back to business. What's everyone working on for tomorrow's deadline?

Michael Luo: Um, I put in another call to Sarah Palin's fashion consultant, and apparently she is being advised to wear high heels to make her look taller.

Keller: So, she is being deceptive about her height.

Luo: Exactly...

Keller: "Sex, lies and Shoe Size". Let's put it front page, below the fold. Nagourney, talk to me.

Adam Nagourney: Apparently, at a recent event, Joe Biden he gave his life for his country in World War II.

Keller: Really? He died fighting the Nazis?

Nagourney: Yes. Here's Biden's quote: "As I stared to heaven, my blood-soaked vest heaving with my last gasps for air, I turned to God and asked 'did I do okay?' I must've done something right, because I was in heaven that day."

Keller: Beautiful. "Senator Biden Gave Life For Country" Front page. Jodi, anything new from Facebook?

Jodi Kantor: Well, I've been talking with Willow Palin on IM.

Nagourney: Really? I though the family had a restraining order against you.

Jodi Kantor: Oh, I was posing as her best friend Cara. Apparently, Willow is worried that her breasts are coming in unevenly. Do you think that merits a stand alone piece?

Keller: Absolutely. We'll run a special insert. "Sarah holds the right, but Willow Palin leans left."

Luo: Do we have a sponsor for a special insert?

Keller: I'll just call Soros. He'll do it if we run a negative story about the future of the Euro.

Luo: But, if Biden's still alive, how could he have died in WWII?

Keller: Good point. Make a note to run a correction in the Friday paper.

(Patrick Healy bursts into the room)

Kantor: Wow, Pat, you look like hell.

Healy: Tell me about it. Ever had a raccoon piss in your wounds?

Nagourney: I told you they had raccoons in Alaska.

Healy: Yeah, well apparently, according to receipts I found in a dumpster outside of Buffalo Wild Wings, the mayor of Wasilla expensed an entire meal to the State of Alaska.

Keller: Doesn't sound unusual.

Healy: Including celery.

Keller: They charge for celery?

Healy: Apparently.

Keller: Alright, I'll run it in the Business section beside the Euro piece.

Luo: Does it matter that Sarah Palin isn't mayor of Wasilla anymore?

Healy: No.

Kantor: Wait, what is "Buffalo Wild Wings"?

Healy: It's a restaurant where people eat chicken and drink beer.

Kantor: That's it?

Healy: They also watch sports.

Kantor: I fail to see the appeal.

Healy: I know. It makes me sick that I have to even share a planet with these people.

Nagourney: Hey, I'm getting a message on my 'Berry. Barack Obama beat a nun nearly to death live at a campaign stop.

Keller: Really, any witnesses?

Nagourney: Tough to say, it's all over Fox News.

Keller: Sounds like a right wing slime job.

Nagourney: There were 20,000 witnesses.

Keller: We’ll give it three weeks. If it’s still an issue, we’ll have Dowd run an op-ed on the poisonous atmosphere created by the McCain campaign that would drive reasonable people to kill nuns.

Nagourney: Um, nearly kill. Also, McCain made a major gaffe today at a campaign rally in Ohio, stating that John Calhoun succeeded Abel Upshur as Secretary of State under President Tyler. He failed to note that Attorney General John Nelson served as interim Secretary for one month.

Keller: Wow! Stop the presses. This needs to go in the evening edition. Headline: “McCain and Abel: Gaffe Could Cost GOP Nominee Election.”

Kantor: I smell Pulitzer!

Keller: Indeed. Take that, Standard & Poor’s!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I am an Obama donor!

Yes. It's true. Barack Obama has a game where you can donate under any name you like. Instead of following fuddy-duddy election laws, which were enacted to preserve our Democracy or some other nonsense, you can donate money as anyone you choose, so long as you have a relatively valid credit card.

So I gave $5 to, um, hope. Or, rather, the following person did so:

Name:

Eric Blair

Address:

4930 Oceania Blvd
Victory Gin, MN 46321

E-mail:

emmanuel@goldstein.com

Phone:

(612) 666-1984

Employer:

Big Brother

Occupation:

Inner Party

You see what I did there, folks. That's what I call a subtle literary reference. Boom.

And if you have $5, you, too, can help perpetuate what certainly is not election fraud. Tell 'em O'Brien sent ya!

UPDATE

Alas, though well intentioned, Starsy McStripes of 5440 Polk Avenue West, who resides in the industrious town of Patriotfondle, Guam, had his gift of $10 rejected (immediately) by the McCain campaign.

Why? Was it his angry e-mail address (nra4ever@colddeadhands.com)? Was it the fact that he was referred to the campaign by the leader of Kenya? Maybe it was his suspect passport number (47). Or maybe it was just an auto-check that the McCain campaign uses to sort out illegal donations.

Either way, say a prayer for poor Starsy, whose voice will never be heard.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cost-saving tips!

With our economy headed to certain doom, never to recover (per prophecy, see: the book of Jesper), people across the country are offering hypocritical savings advice. As a blogger, I lvoe all things that can come in lists, because it's easy for you, the reader, to digest. Isn't that condescending? Here goes:

1) Move to a poor neighborhood. If safety is a concern, get a security system and/or a gun. Bullets are cheaper than high mortgage payments.

2) Make your own food. A bag of lentils costs like 60 cents. The average person eats out five times a week. That's absurd, unhealthy, and means that TGI Fridays can stay in business. Also, while I don't condone eating disorders, well, there's no time like the present. I mean, you look great, but... You could look better... I'm just sayin'.

3) Shop for used cars before your current car goes boom, unless you are considering buying a new car, in which case you probably aren't the type that listens to financial (or, really, any) advice.

4) Shop at JCPenney or Goodwill, especially if you are a guy. Also, if you are a guy, don't wear jeans that cling to your ass. That's not a recession thing, just a "this is church, for crying out loud, quit being gay" thing.

5) Get rid of your pets. Seriously.

6) Craigslist, but not for erotic services. Times are tough. Find your women the inexpensive way... At a third-tier Christian colleges.

7) Drink Three Buck Chuck, or drink real wine, but do not drink Yellow Tail. And no economic crisis justifies drinking White Zin.

8) Don't waste your time going to the movies to watch films that prey upon your political sensitivites. For conservatives, that means no "American Carol". For liberals, no "W" or "Religulous". These movies always suck.

9) Quit buying vitamins, for crying out loud. All they do is make your urine pungent.

10) Do things like sell your car, cancel your cell phone, take a second job (for which you need a ride to work) and generally make life difficult for your friends with your frugality. Then, buy a $3,000 stereo and maintain a $72 per month gym membership at Lifetime. While getting a ride, be sure to lecture your friends about frugality. Be that guy.

11) Go back to school, so that when the economy recovers, you can add an unmarketable skill to your resume.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peter's Mailbag

Our friends Peter and Bridgette went out of town over the weekend. Peter asked me if we could retrieve his e-mail. I assented, with the stipulation that I would read his mail and post the contents on my blog.

I didn't catch his reply. Something along the lines of "that would be a great idea..." So here goes:


-Coupons for Rainbow Foods. Lean Cuisines are on sale, people.

-A restraining order (addressed to Peter)

-Netflix film: Wagons East!

-An invitation to Christine and Jim's wedding - addressed to Bridgette, with a line through Peter's name and the word "NO" in large letters. Also, the section of the reply card devoted to the number of guests has been matted over with white out.

-Reminders for upcoming rectal exams at four different clinics throughout the metro, all for this coming Thursday.

-Netflix film: Wagons East! (Directors Cut)

-A mailer in support of Barack Obama (discarded)

-An envelope, addressed from Peter's school address, containing dozens of post-it note reminders, most of them having to do with television schedules. Of particular interest, CSI: Miami and "that show about the soldiers". Also, several reminders to "Feed Fluffykins Before Magik wares off (sic)".

-30 Vicodin pills - addressed to Bridgette.

-Correction: 23 Vicodin pills.

-A copy of The Atlantic Monthly

-Netflix Film: Wagons East! (bootleg)

-Another envelope from Peter - One crust of bread dabbed with peanut butter. Accompanying note: "I told myself that I'd be glad to get this. Was I right or was I right?"

(Both note and sandwich (and, to a lesser degree, the Atlantic Monthly issue) are covered with ants.)

-A rejection letter from Target Corporation, which reads:

Dear Mr. Welle,

Thank you for your interest in working for Target Corporation. While your skills are very impressive, we are not currently hiring for the CEO position at this time.

-The self-addressed letter in which I tell my father about all the pain he has caused me. Oops, that's my mail

-Correction, there was no vicodin addressed to Bridgette.

-An Alexander Hamilton action figure

-Bills

Saturday, October 18, 2008

McLaren vs. The Cavalier

Brian McLaren continues his nauseous defense of Barack Obama. Full text here. Selected excerpts with responses below.


“I care about the environment. To me, it's not just stuff.”
Once again, McLaren loves everything really hard. You and I cannot love the way McLaren loves.

“I love it. I cherish it.”
Like, totally. You don’t understand. He into the environment in a serious way. As it happens, the environment has a restraining order against him, which is why he lives in a Maryland exurb.


“And because of that passion for creation, I am enthusiastically voting for Senator Barack Obama.”
He doesn’t love the environment as hard as McLaren, though. Such love would be impossible… Unless you’re Brian McLaren. He’s the Chuck Norris of sentiment.

“A while back I read a book about mountaintop removal in Appalachia."
So, you see, he’s done the research.

“Then I saw a Sierra Club video that put the problem in color and in motion.”
Seriously, what kind of person pens sentences like this? We need that big black guy to swoop in and take McLaren’s Miller High Life away. “Color and motion? That’s not livin’ the High Life.”

“I saw the devastation unleashed by insufficiently-regulated corporations, denuding and flattening once-majestic mountains, poisoning springs and creeks, sickening people, laying off workers, and making a few executives rich.”
In other words, McLaren swallowed whole an emotional appeal without researching both sides. Yeah, that sounds like him.

“Then a few months later I went fly fishing in Yellowstone, awed by the powerful presence of bison and elk,”
Creepy. That said, is McCain running on an anti-bison platform? If this isn’t bourgeois environmentalism, I don’t know what is. He’s like the Apple Valley couple who fall in love with Brazil after a week in Rio, then rent City of God and proceed to lecture everyone about how bad things are over there.

“The better news is that Barack Obama names global climate change “one of the greatest moral challenges of our generation.”
Finally, someone is willing to approach this problem with rhetoric! Has any politician ever noted that an issue is only a moderate moral challenge? Oh, right.

“The word “moral” takes on new significance when you stand in Yellowstone …”
Now, every time I sip a mojito, I think about those poor bastards living in boxes. Why don't you care about the shantytowns of RIOOOO!!!!

“And on his lips you don’t hear McCain’s popular “Drill, Baby, Drill!” chant.”
That’s because Barack Obama is stalling on the issue of drilling.

“Beside the fact that drilling now won’t improve fuel prices for many years if ever, the Drill, Baby, Drill! attitude seems careless, cavalier, adolescent, akin to “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
As though Obama’s insouciant evocation of baseball references top articulate his foreign policy represents the height of sophistication. I think bringing up the "bomb Iran" chestnut over and over and over again is a bit adolescent, don’t you?

Also, if you want to know why McLaren frustrates his critics, I would direct you to his sneaky little “if ever” qualifier above as an example. He offhandedly asserts a flagrant lie.


“Working from a very different attitude, Obama calls for a government investment of $150 billion over ten years to catalyze private innovation in clean energy, creating 5 million new clean-energy jobs.”
$150 billion is going to create 5 million jobs? 150 billion divided by 5 million is $30,000. Those are some poor-paying jobs that are being created. Incidentally, if giving money to corporations creates jobs, what does taxing corporations do?

“He is committed to reach 10% renewable energy by 2012 and 25% by 2025, and to work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, the current scientific benchmark.”
Well, if it’s a SCIENTIFIC benchmark… I’m going to employ this lingo in my arguments henceforth:

Me: You owe me $20.
Leroy: No I don’t.
Me: It’s a scientific benchmark.


“His administration will address the health of the Great Lakes in the North and water shortages in the West and hurricane-damping wetlands in the South.”

Also, Barack Obama will single-handedly save the sun, you know, when the time comes. It’s in his platform.

“A new kind of “smart” energy grid will become a national priority.”
I prefer McCain’s “stupid grid” proposal, which redirects all of our nation’s electricity to a jukebox in Tuscaloosa that only plays Bonnie Raitt.

“And Obama will convene a global forum of major greenhouse gas emitters.”
Well, I hope he doesn’t CALL it that. I mean, otherwise, China might NEVER show up.

“In contrast, even the first few sentences of McCain’s energy policy – filled with phrases like minimize costs, allows the market to decide, lowest cost, low cost”
Actually, the first few sentences of McCain’s plan say no such thing. He only references “allowing the market to decide”, for example, as part of a defense of his position on cap and trade (a position McLaren supports). Just in case you thought Brian McLaren was being honest and transparent, as opposed to a lying shill.

“seem calculated to show economic conservatives that his energy plan won’t cost them anything,”
Whereas Barack Obama’s promise that his plan will only create millions of jobs couldn’t POSSIBLY be directed at, oh, say, rust belt states with high unemployment rates.

“In contrast, McCain’s environmental rhetoric… consistently links US action to international action,”
Hey, he’s not the one proposing to convene forums of shame.

“I don’t buy Senator McCain’s approach of putting short-term financial savings over our long-term calling to save our planet from careless and cavalier exploitation.”
This guy sees more cavalier people than an Ohio sportswriter (I’m here all week, folks). I don’t support Barack Obama’s plan to poison the entire cat population. And he is way off on the issue of troll rape. I mean, as long as we’re just conjuring positions out of the ether…

“I think our planet is worth more than the highest bidder wants to pay. Actually, I believe the planet’s not even ours, ultimately.”
I guess I won’t drag the Bible into this.

“It’s borrowed from our descendents.”
No it isn’t.

“And more profoundly, it belongs to the Artist who created it.”
And so on. In his previous segment, didn’t McLaren promise to talk about abortion? I mean, all that nonsense with vacuums and limb-mutilation must displease the artist formerly known as God. Drill, baby, drill, indeed.

In reality, McLaren lives in a nice big house. His carbon footprint is likely larger than that of any three McCain supporters combined, what with the fly fishing trips, the effluvial books, the worldwide tour to change everything... Recently he gave himself a big pat on the back for discovering energy-efficient lightbulbs. Congratulations, Mahatma Gandhi.

And I’m pretty sure the Artist wants his electricity back for this.

McCain’s appeals to cost-efficiency and market-based systems are steeped in common sense. If environmental policy increases production costs, we cannot compete with China and India, whose environmental regulations are non-existent.

Beneath the bloated lexicon of creation care lies a zero sum game. Approaching environmentalism with religious zeal, benefits neither God nor the environment because the issue affects a diverse set of stakeholders, from fly-fishers to miners to marketing execs.

Pragmatism, cavalier though it may seem, represents the only hope for tangible environmental improvement. The rest is just hand-wringing.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Triumph!

The only McCain-Palin sign in Minneapolis has survived it's first night. This might have something to do with the fact that I spent the entire night sitting on a rocking chair with a shotgun. The first true test will be this weekend, when all the University of Minnesota students troll my neighborhood looking for crack.

I know, I know... That's a totally unfair characterization...

Knowledgable U students buy their crack in the Phillips neighborhood.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yardsign

So, I decided to become the only resident on the North Side of Minneapolis to install and McCain Palin yardsign.

Therefore, I am starting a "signwatch" to see how long it will be before one of Obama's thugbots steals it, and or sets my house on fire.

8 Minutes and counting for my precious sign...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debate one-offs 10/15

Okay, last chance McCain. You've let this putz get away with his colloquialisms and his pragmatic sounding, gaseous nonsense. As Dennis Miller said tonight, you were in a POW camp for 2.5 years and said "stick". You are smarter than this twit, and you possess character.

Put a foot in Hopeface's smug, ivy-league educated, puckered little ass. Don't talk to me about how we're going to turn things around or about how we're gonna make everything hopeful for the better bridge to tomorrow. Don't play nice. America is set to elect the most ideological, incompetent fruitcake in American history solely because he is lucky enough to be one-half black. Take the gloves off.

AND, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CUSS!!!! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

Comments below...

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Is McCain suggesting that Americans are angry? It would seem so.

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You know, not every person who makes less than $200k is middle class. Some of them are simply bums.

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I thought McCain was going to hit Obama on the "redistribution" line, but he instead references it obliquely, missing the money line. The key is that Obama thinks redistribution is better for the economy, which is (to say the least) a minority position in America.

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"We're talking about Joe the plumber", not Warren Buffet. Right. And he's making precisely the right point on corporate taxes. Denmark has some of the highest taxes anywhere, unless you are Microsoft, or some other corporation. That's how you win business.

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"I am not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have done so four years ago." That's a good line.

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Obama wants to hit McCain for his supporters, and wants to ignore it come debate time. McCain won't let him. Maybe he'll seem rude, but whatev.

McCain asks him to come clean on Ayers. Obama does not. He does not even come close to coming clean on ACORN. The boot is in his ass, and it hurts.

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Oh, good. Biden is from Scranton again. What does Rep. Murtha think of Scranton?

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"It's time we had that Bresh of Freth Air!"

In a way, it's more true than if he hadn't stumbled on the pronunciation.

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Here's the problem for McCain. How do you debate someone who is manifestly pretending to be something he is not? Obama is running on a platform that is indistinguishable from McCain's. The difference is that McCain will endeavor to execute his platform, while Obama will abandon his on January 21. Bill Clinton did the same thing until Newt Gingrich scared him back to the center.

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WIND! TIDE! NATURAL GAS! Sounds like an ad for Pepto Bismol.

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By the way, specifically taking on ethanol subsidies is completely right.

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Ah yes, we are going to improve health care while reducing health care costs. This is a reasonable thing to believe.

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Joe the plumber is a nice little gift to McCain, isn't he?

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Suddenly, there is no fine for not providing healthcare? Okay. Only large businesses have to pay? Yeah, no loopholes there.

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Obama's criticism of McCain's health care plan is a weird combination of dishonesty and ignorance. McCain is not proposing to offer a $5k credit in lieu of $12k in health coverage. That is ridiculous, but who is going to call him on it? The paleomedia is simply going to assail McCain for "being negative".

Either way, health care isn't going to change under Obama.

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McCain is touting his "Gang of 14" experience, and taking Obama to task on it. Obama will give a BS response. I guarantee it.

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Obama thinks that the most important test for any judge is that they are able to apply justice. That is not banal at all.

Obama claims that abortion is a moral decision. He also says that reasonable people can disagree. If it is a moral decision, then this cannot be true.

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McCain is raising Obama's pro-infanticide stance. Let's see what banality Obama resorts to here. Obama is going with the "it undermined Roe v. Wade" tack. It did not do so. At all.

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"Nobody's pro-abortion".

Bullshit. Planned Parenthood is not only pro-abortion, but profits from it. Obama wouldn't even protect babies who had been born. He voted to let them die. If that isn't pro-abortion, then there is no pro-abortion.

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The last question is about education. Our education system is atrocious. Ayers or no Ayers, Obama presided over the $160 million dollar Annenberg Challenge. In the final analysis, the Challenge had no impact on results.

I'm probably alone on this, but I think we should have fewer college students. Our colleges have become an intellectual wasteland. It's time to cull the herd here.

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"We need to find bad teachers another line of work."

That is the most refreshing piece of honesty I have heard in this campaign. That said, I'm not sure Marie Abele, in her advanced age, has the capacity to teach all of Richfield High School.

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That said, McCain is doing some great work defending vouchers. I am inclined to think that team McCain has won all of these debates, but this was the strongest performance by far. It comes at a time when Obama's lead is as weak as it has been two weeks.

But what do I know. I'm just a racist guy who doesn't understand why a man who has achieved nothing ought to be president.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It should be hard to vote

Having endured a litany of Obama supporters banging on my door over the last few weeks (ah, the joys of living in the zip code as a slum) and reading the myriad articles about ACORN's usual round of voter fraud, I've come to a conclusion.

It should be hard to vote.

Not hard in a way that any reasonable person would find hard. I think everyone should be able to provide ID, sign in, and do their constitutional thing. I could be persuaded to support a voting holiday. Any able bodied citizen should be able to vote, and any disabled person should be provided the means to do so. And no, students of Bennington college, a hangover is not a disability.

However, those who can't make it to the polls because they're, oh, say, dead of a crack overdose? Maybe their vote shouldn't count afterall.

How to prevent this from happening? Have people show IDs before voting. Common sense? Yeah, unless you are trying to rig an election for "that one".

The only real reason we have laws that allow people to register and submit votes without proving their identity or bothering to showup is twofold.

1) Members of the military fighting abroad should rather obviously have the right to vote, and should have the means to do so quickly.

2) Everyone else who would need such hand-holding is probably a Democrat.

Ever met an adult who does not have a photo ID? They are either under the age of 21, homeless, crazy, in prison, stoned, or all of the above. I don't need to tell you which lever this particular demographic hodgepodge pulls come November.

The kids should prove their dedication to this country by getting off their ass and at least getting a college ID (valid, IIRC, in all 50 states). Put down the controller and step away from the Xbox...

Those who cannot do so, and those who cannot read addresses and bus schedules, find polling places, and perform other everyday tasks that result in a vote being cast? Great people. God's creatures. I'm sure some of my cousins are in the same position...

But stay the hell away from my Democracy.

As it stands, we have Obama's fraudsters (this guy makes JFK look like Elliot Ness) out registering these people in droves. Not droves of people mind you, but literally registering crazy Bobby 50 times in exchange for a slice of veggie pizza. In many states, these people can mail-in ballots (helpfully addressed and stamped by ACORN employees) along with their registrations. Don't worry, we'll sort that all out after the election.

I grew up steeped in the civil rights movement more than most kids my age. I bristle at the notion of poll taxes and literacy tests. But being able to vote means being able to vote.

And the next time an Obamabot shows up at my door to try to register my to vote, I'm answering the door naked... AND taking time to register.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Musings

From the shores of Lake Superior... It's Musing Madness


I got a disturbing phone call yesterday. Apparently, I was called for pass interference. I disputed the call, since I was more than 200 miles from the Metrodome at the time. Of course, this was only the second worse call the refs made yesterday. How are the Vikings not 1-4 right now?

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Just up here in Bluefin Bay, you know, like usual. I think there is a lesbian get together of sorts here. Lotsa fleece and fraternal twins.

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Speaking of fleece, the business center enforces a 15 minute time limit on Internet usage, and a befleeced couple (hetero) is looking over my shoulder with every apparent intention to enforce it.

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I still have seven minutes left, and I have every intention to use it.

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Caught one headline: "Paul Krugman wins Nobel Prize for Economics". And so the prize continues its descent. Right now, it rates somewhere between a Daytime Emmy and an MTV Movie Award in my esteem.

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To the couple who stayed in 68C, you left beer in your fridge after you checked out. You also left the door open. I took advantage. Thanx and have a KA summer.

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Befleeced guy is making cell phone calls into the office approximately three feet from my personal space. I'm torn between continuing to blog about him and stepping on his neck. He's calling the admin., asking for different people. He's one of those guys, and if you've worked with one of those guys, you know exactly what I'm talking about.

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Um, two minutes left... Scrambling for words... Um, vote McCain!

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Media Request


Now, I know that I am but a humble Blogger, but I would like to make a request of news media at large. Bear with me folks, but I believe my demands are reasonable.

Please, for the love of God, show me more maudlin shots of stock-brokers.

Seriously. I cannot possibly process the significance of a four-figure DOW without the candid repose of some guy who is either under immense stress or (less likely) politely belching. Were it not for these photos, I would have no idea as to whether the market is up or down.

Frankly, I don't care if the guy is even a stock broker. He just needs to be forlorn, with ticker symbols behind him. The ticker symbols are key. Otherwise, I'm just looking at some idiot who is unhappy/constipated. I demand real journalism.

Also, if the ticker is reflecting the stock price of Merryl Lynch or an American automobile manufacturer, that will really bring the whole thing closer to home. Want a pulitzer? Give me Ford down 8 points on the day.

Oh, and don't think I am content with just one such picture. Throughout the day, I expect to see a pastiche consisting of miserable stock-brokers, furrowing their brow in disbelief at the entirely predictable pandemonium that surrounds them.

John McCain? Screw him. He embodies nothing but politics. No, my lust for all things depressing can only be sated by the photo of a lone stock-broker, squinting at the end of a long days work. Otherwise, I won't even read your damn article.

Oh, and they'd better be sweaty. My uninformed notion of what, precisely, occurs on a trading floor demands that any photographed subject be stewing in his own man-sweat. That makes the whole thing real for me. I like it.

At any rate, please honor my demands. In the meantime, I will simply cash out my 401k and purchase gold coins. Commercials told me the bottom will never fall out of the gold market. If more people listened to cheaply-produced commercials, we woulnd't be in this mess.

Sincerely,

A Swing Voter

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Disturbing fact

Amidst all the economic turmoil of the last couple of weeks, American's needed a respite from their woes. An hour or two of dalliance amidst the firestorm of retribution. Where, pray tell did they find such solace?



Ah yes, those lovable rascals stormed Americas collective heart...

And raped it to the tune of $29 million.

I don't know about you, but I'm very excited about the prospect of these people choosing our next president.

Shut up, France. You're one to talk.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Debate one-offs

Candidates debate! Democracy hangs in the balance! Kitten's may have hope! Let's roll.

-Alan Schaefer is a swing voter out of central casting. Seriously, have of the audience is completely bald. Baldness = gravitas when it comes to swing voting.

- Obama claims that everyone knows we are in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Obama, apparently, does not remember the Carter administration. How apropos.

- Obama's first step toward reviving the economy starts with the bailout package. Archery and hurricane rehabilitation programs and all.

- Obama supports middle class tax cuts, or so he says. McCain really should bring up a similar promise by the last Democratic nominee.

- McCain appears as though he is going to kiss Alan Schaefer. This could potentially be a very awkward moment.

- Tom Brokaw demands time limits! Tom Brokaw will not be denied!

- McCain has shiny hair. Obama's is lilted and gray from excessive smoking.

- Obama says Nashville pays $3.80 for gas. Not true.

- Curious quote of the night "John F. Kennedy promised we'd get to the moon, but we didn't know how." And so, Obama promises the moon, but has no idea how to get it for us. He's-a-thinkin-a-somethin'.

- Obama says he intends to go line-by-line through budgets and eliminate wasteful spending. That sounds like a line-item veto which, of course, Obama opposes.

- Obama makes random hay about Bush's urge to continue shopping. There was good reason for that, insofar as there was serious concerns of money-hording.

- Obama implies that teachers (in addition to being women) make less than 35k per year. This, of course, is myth. Teachers make more than this, on average, and much more when one factors in summer vacation.

- Tom Brokaw has a good sense of humor. Humble and reasonable, with plenty of self-deprecating humor, I really liked it.

- McCain asks for an up-or-down vote on SS and Medicare reform. This is a good talking point that he should push harder than he has.

- McCain is winning the domestic portion of this debate, and demonstrably so. Prediction: the press will report precisely the opposite.

- Obama says drilling is important. Well, that's a flagrant lie.

- On healthcare, Obama awkwardly fumbles at populism by promising eliminate the burden of fillintg out forms in triplicate. I had knee surgery last year, and spent all of 15 minutes filling out forms. Seems reasonable, what with the fact that I was having surgery and all. What is difficult about filling out forms? If you can't fill out your own address, then I don't want you to have healthcare. Call it Darwin at work.

- The lefties mocked Palin for droppin' her 'G's. Obama has been dropping mad 'G's tonight.

- Obama notes that earmarks aren't a big deal, since they only cost $18 billion per year. That's a terrible case to make.

- McCain is supporting a $300 billion package to work with homeowners to refinance bad loans. This is common sense. Unfortunately, it was common sense one yar ago, when McCain should have been pushing the initiative.

- Obama notes that banks have flocked to Delaware, thanks to the state's famous tax shelters. Of course, they have also made use of a certain famous Democrat who pretends to reside there.

- Iraq doesn't have a $79 billion surplus. This is myth.

- Why are there tape marks all over the floor? Neither candidate has adhered to the taped boundaries. It makes the set look awfully cheap.

- According to Obama, he never threatened Pakistan. His plan? To, um, threaten Pakistan.

- Obama notes that Iran imports gasoline, and that we can cut off the supply. No. Iran imports gasoline because domestic subsidies render it so. But that's a complicated thing, and Obama knows it. Hence the talking point.

- Again, McCain wins, and does so with his most successful debate to date. Evenutally, winning debates will translate into votes. That said, Obama has carefully avoided a Dukakis-level gaffe. Talking about nothing wins votes, apparently.

How do you think the debate went?

Mortgage Bailout 202

Ochuk has a good 40,000 ft. rundown on the cause of the present credit crisis. I agree with everything he has written, so I thought I'd fill in some of the additional layers. This will be dry as toast, so I will accompany my post with pictures. For example:




I'll begin by stating that every relevant person knew that the housing bubble would pop. Given the market's immunity to price swoons, however, the risk was deemed reasonable enough by investors. In other words, it was a low-risk, high-reward proposition. Under ordinary circumstances, the markets could have sustained a fallout.

The reason the bottom fell out of the market so precipitously was fraud. Markets cannot account for fraud, almost by definition.

The most dramatic example of mortgage fraud is straw-buying, wherein a mortgage servicer sells someone (of modest income) a group of properties, usually accompanied by an offer to manage those properties. Conveniently enough, the properties in question just happen to be those owned by the mortgage broker (and possibly his real estate partner).

So they sell some poor sap five properties at greatly inflated value, securing the funding by sending documentation to five different banks simultaneously. Since each bank doesn't know what the other is doing, they approve the loan. Further, these loans were so-called "stated income" loans. Under normal circumstances... Wait, you're getting bored. Um...



But yeah, stated income loans. This is where banks offer a higher rate in exchange for not verifying your income. As preposterous as that sounds, these loans did once have a purpose, allowing farmers and self-employed folk to purchase land and property based on reasonable expectations of income.

In our straw-buying scenario, all the each bank knows is that some freelance graphic designer (which, apparently, had become the countries most popular profession overnight) is interested in buying a three bedroom home in Rogers.

In reality, a janitor for Cub Foods just took out $1 million worth of loans. The brokers immediately bailed on their promise to manage the property, so as to locate their next victim, er, investor.

And these are not small ticket fraud items. We can conservatively estimate that each of these brokers probably found twenty or so victims. So if 50 brokers are running similar operations in the Twin Cities, that's $1 billion in bad loans in one metropolitan area resulting from a single fraud tactic.

Oh, right, pictures... Um, take look at the Kutch...



Handsome fellow, isn't he? Too bad he can't act.

Of course, there are plenty of safeguards against fraud. Could you imagine someone trying to pull this crap on an insurance company? Have you seen Double Indemnity?

But banks weren't worried about mortgage fraud. Why would they be? They were packaging and selling their risks to someone else (see Ochuk's post). Further, their efforts were focused on eliminating identity theft and the like. Besides, while foreclosure was undesirable, the bank still had a hedge against outright loss.

Many homeowners made good faith efforts to restore their loan. These homeowners were met by loan servicers (hired by banks to deal with the proles) whose only goal was to extract more and more payments. Thus, instead of using savings to, say, put money down and restructure a loan with more favorable terms, they sent good money after bad in an effort to catch up on payments.

And why would the banks renegotiate loan terms? History has shown that people will do everything in their power to keep their homes. Home ownership was part and parcel of achieving the American dream, and to lose one's home was a one-way ticket to shame.

Well, until people started moving every two years and buying rental properties and such. Then, not so much. Banks failed to adapt their methodology to changing attitudes toward home-ownership. For younger generations, home ownership was an entitlement, not an achievement.

The penalty for losing one's home is a three year blight on one's credit. Any further punishment exists solely in the penumbras of the American dream. By ceasing to require homebuyers to put money on the line in the form of a down payment, banks eliminated any leverage they might have had.

Oh, and they failed to mention any of this to the people buying their bundled loans. So they had that going for them.

Now that the government has stepped in, the question now is how to value these bundles of loans. What is the expected return on a three bedroom home in Rogers, Minnesota, owned by a self-employed "graphic designer". See the problem?

Finding a solution to the mortgage mess will call for an end to the (literal) buck passing and ignorance. The institutions that win (i.e. stay solvent) during this crisis will be those that take the time to sit down with mortgage holders and determine their financial circumstances.

Widespread calls for homeowner bailouts, "regulation" and an end to golden parachutes are not going to cut it. Reviving our economy depends on reviving the housing market. That means empowering our financial leaders to forge creative, contextualized solutions to contend with the widest variety of risks.

That can only happen if and when the government realizes that it is not an economic savior. Or, at least, when we recognize that it isn't.










Sunday, October 05, 2008

Monday Musings

Are we human or are we dancers? Let's muse together, shall we.

I have been asked if I'm going to see American Carol, the conservative parody movie by the guy who did Airplane and et al... Probably not. The comedic concept doesn't appeal to me, the director's track record is, erm, suspect, and movies are expensive.

Frankly, I'm not one to be entertained by that which simply codifies my worldview. The world could use fewer of such films. Plus, I want to maintain the high ground while the lefties slavishly flock to "W", which is manifestly drivel, but will nonetheless get the base (including film critics) swooning.

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If you happen to be in the market for an excellent cooking blog, you can't go wrong with this.

Most online recipes are recipes in the hypothetical sense. Many are simply regular dishes smothered in some sort of Campbells soup. Others are fraught with errors (I saw one recipe on About.com that called for a cup of salt, which is appropriate if you are making jerky strips out of an entire grizzly bear). Still others are require such a surfeit of ingredients as to render moot the whole purpose of cooking at home.

None give you any idea of which situations might call for said recipe. Enter this charming little blog, with recipes for pizza, cornbread, and et al., all contextualized and worth reading on the merits. Go hence, but do come back here.

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Speaking of slavish, Douglass Daniel of the Associated Press issued a Pro-Obama piece on Sunday. The op-ed, masquearding as "analysis" suggests that Palin's attack on Barack Obama for counting Bill Ayers as an integral supporter might backfire. Why? Because, dummy, it's RAAAAAAAAACIST... Here's an excerpt.

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.


Translation: Bill Ayers is white, but her comments are still racist because some terrorists are not white. And so therefore, suggesting that Obama pals around with terrorists is tantamount to stating that he pals around with non-whites. As though the average American's only qualm with the 9/11 bombers was that they didn't look like us.

If only America knew that Bill Ayers was the sort of "homegrown" Pentagon bomber, they wouldn't mind at all that he was crucial in shepherding Obama's rise from radical nobody to presidential favorite.

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I'd say that Daniel is an imbecile, but he knows exactly what he is doing.

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You know, the Detroit Lions aren't a good football team at all.
Good think I'm such an avid Shock fan (the basketball team, not the state of consciousness).

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SNL absolutely thrives on campaign season, and this weekend's opener parodying the Veep debate was very funny (Tina Fey might not want to be TOO mean... Think Darryl Hammond wouldn't have minded having Al Gore to fall back on for eight years?).

Not only that, but the inimitable Anne Hathaway was hosting. Perfect. So how do they follow up their boffo debate skewering? With a Lawrence Welk (!) parody. The premise: A family of four blonde sisters closing with a hazz number... ONLY ONE OF THEM IS DEFORMED AND MENTALLY DISABLED!!!!

Way to keep it fresh and contemporary, SNL.

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Friday, October 03, 2008

Top Ten Fridays - Joe Biden Edition

In honor of Joe Biden's debate performance last night, I thought I'd list ten Twin Cities restaurants that have caught my fancy of late.


10. ZENIOS. This uptown restaurant features reasonable prices, and a great happy hour. The best part is that the clientele is upscale (not a fleece in sight!), the floors are clean, and the service is excellent. When we went, the waiter recognized that he was a bit late delivering my appetizer, so he offered me a free beer.

9. EARTH TO JOES. This funky Apple Valley cafe emphasizes all natural ingredients. The menu is a departure from TGI Fridays, but those willing to engage the more creative dishes (plantains on a bed of beluga lentils takes the cake, and even the cake is good) will find their patience rewarded.

8. SOUL JAMAICA - Generic name aside, this eccentric soul cuisine joint in downtown Anoka serves up red beans and rice that would probably put your mother to shame. If your mother is Jamaican, and assuming she doesn't also make incredible red beans and rice. Well worth the drive.

7. BEV'S - While Frogtown is known for an eclectic mix of Southeastern Asian cuisine, sometimes you just want pancakes. Bev's serves pancakes six ways from Sunday, and six more ways on Sunday. Of course, none are of the mu shu variety, but you can't have everything.

6. COO-COO-VA-VOOM! - Most strip clubs brag about their chicken wings ironically. This Wayzata establishment proves that you can have your meat and eat it too. It won't win any awards as a first-date destination, but some people are just prejudiced.

5. SARCONIS - A steakhouse in downtown that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? It's true. SARCONIS has about the best New York Strip in town for all of $17, so it's not just the name that has me wondering if this is just a mafia front. Just try to eat up before Petey Shorts breaks out a Tommy Gun and lights up the place.

4. SAVAGE - Yes, it's in Savage. It's also just about the most daring restaurant in the Twin Cities. Spicy jambalaya that is actually spicy? A stuffed chicken dish that isn't phoned in? A martini that is prepared correctly. I'm going to have to rethink Savage.

3. THE HOT POTATO - This refreshing Riverside establishment eschews the nightly barrage of loud bands for which the neighborhood has become famous in favor of a low-key approach. As the name implies, the emphasis here is on food, and you won't find any nachos on the menu, all though an place with a name like The Hot Potato had better deliver when it comes to french fries. Fortunately, for them, they do.

2. NEW KYOTO - Those familiar with Richfield's Hub shopping center wouldn't confuse it for a sushi destination spot, but it nonetheless plays home to some of the best raw eats in town. It is said that you can tell a good sushi chef by the tamago. If that is true, then New Kyoto's chefs are the best in the business. Oh, and the fish isn't bad either.

1. AZURE - This recent entry in the Jordan neighborhood bar scene may not stick around past the housing bust. The track lighting and glowing-blue floors might have been a little optimistic for the most violent neighborhood in Minneapolis. Still, I'll enjoy the best cocktails in town, just as soon as I'm done devouring a generous smoked salmon platter. The diverse crowd is proof that class and quality transcend background.

What are some of your favorite "Joe Biden" stops?

Top Ten Fridays - Sarah Palin

Not that you'll read this in the Paleomedia, but Sarah Palin handed Joe Biden's ass to him. This, in spite of the fact that...

10. Gwen Ifill, who moderated the debate, has millions of dollars in book sales riding of Sarah Palin's defeat.

9. Her own campaign has done its able best to throw a noose around her neck.

8. Barack Obama is black (or, at least, kinda black), and that is so, so, magically wonderful, even though he has no other positive traits.

7. When confronted with legislation that Barack Obama either supported or opposed, Joe Biden pretended that Obama either (respectively) opposed or supported it.

6. AGAIN, the MODERATOR of tonight's debate stands to gain financially from SARAH PALIN'S LOSS.

5. And also, that same moderator looked like she dressed this evening by coating herself in velcro and rolling around an empty U-Haul truck. Make no mistake, she NEEDS her next book to do well.

4. Had she so much as mispronounced the name of the Jordanian under-secretary of the interior, this would have been counted as a major gaffe, and proof the she is unfit for leadership.

3. Joe Biden was allowed to quote by way of paraphrase, which is awfully #$%^ing convenient. Oh, and every difference between Obama and McCain was the most important fundamental difference, which apparently doesn't defy logic.

2. At the end of the debate, Joe Biden made a creepy move to embrace Sarah Palin's children, intimating (to ignorant viewers) that they were his children. If Joe Biden touches my children, I'll put a knife in his testicles.

1. OBAMA! YAYYYY! OBAMA WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING! LET'S ALL BE IDIOTS RIGHT NOW!!!! I'M AN AMERICAN AND WILL BE ANGRY IF THIS DOESN'T WORK OUT, AND EXPECT NOBODY TO HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE!!!!! YAYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

How Minnesota Regards its veterans

Imagine you are a military serviceman, coming home from Iraq. Depleted, disoriented, and looking to make up for lost time, you want to learn what resources are available to you. A search for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs leads you to this monstrosity.

Um, thank you for your service?

Let's take a test drive here. Try scrolling over the license plate (!?!) in the upper-right corner. It switches to a blurry version of the MN DOVA logo. Aren't you glad you took the time to do that? As an extra bonus, if you click on it, you are returned to the home page. Webmagic!

In the upper-left corner, there is something resembling a toolbar. Here, you have the option to learn more about MDVA. Great. Let's click on this. Hmmm... It's the same as the home page, sans information. Sort of like an IED for the !@#$ing imagination.

The most prominent graphic on the site? The flag status. Now, I've never served in the military, but I'm guessing that the first thing our veterans probably search the web for is the flag status. I mean, that damn thing could be anywhere on the pole! Half-mast, full-mast, double-somersault-mast. It's pretty confusing.

Just to clarify this matter, I called my stepfather, himself a military veteran.

Kevin: Hey, Bob, how's it going.

Bob: Oh, things are okay. Just trying to make ends meet.

Kevin: Did you look today to find out the flag status?

Bob: Oh, did Jimmy Carter die?

And there you have it.

BUT WAIT! There's a call to action:

Check Out The Governors Support Cabinet Summit for Returning Veterans


Wow, that is not even remotely a sentence. Exciting news certainly awaits! Let's follow the link.

Minnesota Voters Summit 2006: Collaboration for the Sake of our Country's Heroes.


Gee, the Governor dealt with veterans issues two years ago? Well, that explains why McCain picked Sarah Palin, doesn't it?

The best thing about this site generally is that, no matter where you go, you see Clark Dyrud's mug, smiling firmly at you. Who is Clark Dryud? Well, actually he's a pretty accomplished guy who earned a purple heart in 'Nam, and who is earning probably not much more than the idiot who designed this website. Purple Heart or no, is he proud of this shit?

Suffice it to say, his biography doesn't indicate the sort of fellow who would insist on having his picture on every damn page of the veterans web site.

Visually, this website is a muddle, and that's being generous. For starters, we have text straddling the header, which is something against which even I know how to mitigate. This could be forgiven, were visual appeal sacrificed for functionality, but functionality does not, precisely, abound here.

As for intangible stuff, like, you know, social media, an online press kit, links to relevant organizations, or anything else that might give the impression that this website had been updated since 1996... Well, apparently, that wasn't on the agenda.

The hell with this. Our tax dollars compensate (and amply so) communications personnel under whose jurisdiction this website is allowed to continue. Governor Pawlenty ought to be ashamed.

Got complaints?

Complain here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wanna throw up in your mouth a bit?

Of course you do.

Watch this.


Remember that scene from the movie Jesus Camp (it was in the previews), where the kids are singing in front of a picture of George W. Bush? This, of course, was taken as empirical evidence of the insanity of conservative Christians.

It's still better than McLaren's song.