Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Musings - Tuesday Style

I was too busy remembering fallen soldiers (by working in the garden) to get these out yesterday, but I'm going to muse extra hard today. Let's roll.

Doesn't "Flotilla" sound like a new frozen drink from Taco Bell?

Some more pressing observations...


I love the opening to this press release from the Free Gaza crazies who organized this shindig o' death.

"Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep."

I don't know precisely how everything went down, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't like that. I'm sure our friends in Europe and Hamas' more locally useful idiots will have the good sense not to reprint that line verbatim.


The new, pseudo-intellectual (vs. nakedly anti-Semitic) battle cry against Israel is that their response to various attacks is "disproportionate". Even if I subscribe to the notion that Israel's military endeavors should be limited to Munich-style assassinations, seven Israeli troops were injured, vs. a confirmed nine dead.

Given Israel's size, relative to that of its enemies, isn't that precisely, literally proportionate? Should four of the soldiers injured commit ritual seppuku to make the numbers work? Don't answer that, Mr. Ahmadinejad.


So here's what I can gather about the Joe Sestak story...

The Obama administration, presumably out of fealty to Arlen Specter for having made the switch (not the Fox/UPN kind), wanted to get Sestak out of the race, or at least create the appearance of same. In reality, they could not possibly have cared that much, since they low-balled Sestak on the job offer. Sestak (predictably) balked, and then told the media a grand tale about how the White House used a plum position to bait him into leaving the race.

To which, did anyone involved think this through? If the White House wants someone to drop out of a Senate race, they should offer a job that is the equivalent of a senate seat. Otherwise, don't bother, since the schmuck is likely to report the story to the press. Sestak, in a transparent, but ill-advised, move to appear as the maverick outsider, inflated the story to make it seem like he turned down a dream job to serve the people of Pennsylvania.

Then, instead of just saying "we had two excellent candidates, and wanted to find a way for both of them to help make hopeychange," Rahm decides to double-down by producing an evasive memo.

Congratulations, idiots. You have managed to turn one of the more routine non-stories of any presidency into a full-blown scandal. This is the Chicago Way as directed by John Hughes.

What's weird is that the Obama administration claims Bill Clinton was sent as an emissary to negotiate this nonsense. If that's true, what the hell has happened to Bill Clinton? The old, Carville-years Clinton would have just thrown a male stripper's body in Sestak's trunk and called it a day. He's starting to seem like Robert DeNiro's character from Jackie Brown.


Even better, these putzes will be handling high-stakes negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons program. Fantastic.


Eugene Robinson has a piece on (I think) the oil spill entitled "Adm. Cool in a Very Hot Seat". And people ask why print journalism is dying.


Let's talk film. I have, for years, been meaning to see Au Revoirs Les Enfants. I have now done so, and can report that it was worth the wait. I love it when movies don't cheat, and this one never does. It earns its one powerful moment with gorgeous screenwriting. Go see.


Let's talk food. I have, for weeks, been meaning to go to Spoonriver. I have now done so, and can report that it's relatively benign. I like restaurants that make an effort to keep things fresh and healthy, and the veggie burger is a standout. But a place with fresh lettuce growing on premises should make far better salads.

Those who bemoan the lack of "real" bbq would do well to head to Champlain and try Q Fanatic. Lost amidst a sea of more popular chains, this family-run deal features the good stuff, eschewing the brown sugary nonsense we call sauce (and which I'll cop to rather enjoying) in favor of more intense vinegar-based stuff. The portions are also absurd. Wife and I literally brought home 2.6 lbs. of leftovers (yes, I weighed it).

St. Clair broiler wins the award for most average restaurant in the Twin Cities. It's not at all expensive, but isn't a dive. It's not bland, but isn't very interesting. It has beer and wine, but not hard liquor. It's not quite a chain, but isn't independent either. If you work as a manager at a nearby bank, this is where you eat for lunch every day of your life.

Regular readers know I am borderline obsessed with Victory 44, but you must try the dessert platter. It comes with a dessert amuse, literally a pre-dessert dessert. Also, the lobster pasta is positively electric, and they have a nice patio.


Wow. 861 words in 41 minutes. Hope you enjoyed the typos. Drop out of school, kids.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Blowout

Here at TPWK, we salute our veterans...

With sizzling hot prices!

Our prices are so hot, you'll think you are a civil war plantation owner, watching helplessly as his forbidden livelihood goes up in flames at the hands of General Grant's boys.

Suck on that, rebel trash, and also suck on our lowest ever pricing on entertainment cabinets. We love all American soldiers, except for you.

Do you like coffee tables? This weekend, you will find them more affordable. I wonder what Saddam Hussein thinks of that? Probably not much, since he's dead. Thanks troops!

Our brave men and women (but mostly men) may have stormed the beaches of Normandy, but you can storm TPWK for rock bottom prices on furniture constructed by the granddaughters of our enemies.

Uncle Sam wants YOU to come to our showroom and experience savings. Or else he'll subpoena your library records.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Olympic Mascots Are Gonna Gitcha!

I think I have to agree with Sandra on this. While we can predict, with some certainty, future audience share across certain platforms, the fact that we cannot predict the platform will impact the scope of the project. I just think that any budget analysis needs to quantify the... Uh-oh...


Look at these guys:

2012 Olympic mascots are gonna gitcha!

Their single eye makes it easier for them to focus on stealing your children's happy memories.

Pluck, pluck, pluck.

The mascots work in tandem. They are an elite force. They cannot be stopped. They are entering their reasonably priced sedan.

Make no mistake, they're going to get you.

Ahhh, I'm just trippin', boo. These fellas are alllllllright.

They might gitcha, though...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Post # 1,000 - Might as well cuss

During the Super Bowl, Jim Beam made the decision to run this ad.

Perfect. Here, we have an ethnic and, therefore, stupid woman declaring her willingness to accommodate the most vulgar of behavior.

I get it. Superbowl ads are meant to push boundaries. In fact, you could argue this is a commentary on the lack of accountability in advertising. Besides, we're not going to see it again.

Alas, I saw it again, tonight, during the NBA playoffs. Further, Jim Beam is promoting this ad on YouTube. Apparently, they believe in it.

Fair enough. Jim Beam's brand seems to be: Men should do whatever.

The "ideal" woman should know better than to judge your behavior. She should adopt a demure pose toward your infidelity and abject disrespect of her humanity. After all, that's what they do in the other booze commercials.

If that's what you're into, perhaps you are a fan of Jim Beam Whiskey. That's the idea right?

You know what I want in a woman? Integrity, intelligence, and the genuine attractiveness that comes from self-confidence.

As it happens, I married a woman who represents the ideals above. Apparently, I am to be pitied. I can't hang with the sort of troglodyte dolt who locates and secures insecure women for whom the fundamentals of the English language confound.

I married the women of MY dreams. By my lights, she is perfect.

In other words, go fuck yourself Jim Beam. I will never again purchase your product. Because I, um, how you say, have class.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Is Elena Kagan the next Harriet Miers?

Remember Harriet Miers?

Here she is...

In 2005, George W. Bush, still reeling from hurricane Katrina (which was all his fault), nominated Miers, a White House staffer and confidant, to the Supreme Court.

She was doomed from the start. Liberals, bracing for a conservative in the mold of, say, Sam Alito, were almost happy to embrace this relative no-name. What Miers lacked in charisma, she made up for with obscurity. Conservatives were concerned. "Not another Souter!" They chanted. Moderates were non-plussed. "More Bush cronyism!" They mumbled mostly to themselves. Assurances that she was "hard working" fell on deaf ears.

Her announcement was accompanied with little fanfare. No op-eds from friendlies. No press conferences. Just private meetings with Senators.

Then, after a few weeks, she withdrew a nomination that was certain to end in confirmation. Bush nominated Sam Alito, the conservative base was thrilled, liberals called him "strip search Sammy" (Alito literally supports strip searching young girls as often as is possible). The rest is history.

This week gives us Elena Kagan, an Obama confidant with a thin track record. Conservatives, bracing for a liberal in the mold of, say, Goodwin Liu, are almost happy to embrace this relative no-name. What she lacks in charisma, she makes up for with obscurity. Liberals are concerned. "Not another Souter!" they chant. Moderates are non-plussed...

You see what I'm getting at.

This is Barack Obama's last chance to shape the court with a left-wing ideologue. Kagan is almost certainly that, but there is room for doubt that she will be as reliably liberal is justices Ginsburg and Stevens. Why her? Why now?

Ostensibly, her nomination would add to the diversity of the court. However, the White House has forcefully and proactively denied that Kagan is a lesbian. That would be a weird thing to do if she weren't a lesbian. Why not just leave it ambiguous, and use it as an opportunity to paint conservatives as bigots for even caring? Her sexuality will be revealed one way or the other.

Or will it?

Perhaps the furious denials are a sincere attempt to protect Kagan's privacy, with the understand that, in a few weeks, she will again be a relatively anonymous figure. Why contend with the sexuality issue if it isn't going to come up?

Like Miers, Kagan is politically experienced, and close enough to the administration to go through the motions of a trojan horse nomination. Her press schedule has hardly been aggressive.

The administration has, uncharacteristically, allowed the press to define her nomination. If we know anything about her, it is that she is an Ivy League insider with no judicial experience. Elena Kagan excites precisely no-one.

So maybe that's the point. Nominate a dud, only to fire up the base when a Judge Liu or Judge Wood get the nod. If you can get some conservatives on the record questioning Kagan's sexuality (they did it to Miers), all the better to cast opposition to more problematic nominees as the fruit of bigotry.

Of course, I could be paranoid. Kagan has a thin track record, and so will be an easy nomination. If she is another Souter, that really should bother Democrats. He was as reliable of a vote as they come.

So, is she for real? Discuss.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Elena Kagan

I'm not sayin'....

I'm just sayin'....

In fairness, I shouldn't focus on looks. She'll also make a terrible jurist.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The kids these days

I just YouTubed Justin Bieber. Huh. When I was 13, Nirvana, Radiohead and Pearl Jam were popular.

Back in my day, teens were hip and edgy. Nowadays, you've got kids with entirely respectable hair-dos, going to the bowling alley and singing about holding hands.

What the hell has happened to society? When Eddie Vedder sang, it was about real issues, like blowing his brains out, or a kid lusting after his mother, or being committed to a mental asylum.

You know, the real issues facing teenagers.

Oh, and when my idols talked about getting with a girl, they weren't talking about holding hands.

Gone are the days when a good and honest man could run up on stage, repeat the same ironic lyric over an over, and then proceed to slam his guitar on stage. Gone are the days when it was cool to spend lots of money on plaid shirts, even though they were available for $10 at Kohls.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I miss the days when lead singers pull their sleeves back between songs to show their heroin scars. Justin Bieber doesn't even have meth mouth. Idiot.

Vanilla Ice? Ha! We used him to impress our first crushes with our sexy running-man moves, then left him in the desert of celebrity despair after six months. Vultures figuratively (and also, probably, literally) pecked at his eyes before I entered the 7th grade.

But the Jonas Brothers just keep in rocking. Kids today don't even have the decency to shun a one-hit wonder.

This is all the fault of Barack Obama, just like the oil spill.

Suck it, kids...

Monday, May 03, 2010

E-Verifying A Crappy Op-ed

I had no idea who Bruce Morrison was, and I still don't know who Paul Donnelly is. They both served, in some nebulous capacity, for a US Commission on Immigration Reform in 1994. Of course, they have co-signed an op-ed on immigration for the Washington Post. Next week, Mike Brown will write a post on efforts to clean up the coast of Louisiana.

Let's play.

The substantive debate over immigration is simpler than many might think: If we cannot say no effectively, the meaning of the yes that America has always said to legal immigrants will continue to erode.

If it's so simple, why do we need to begin this op-ed with such a baffling sentence? Is it mean to wonder whether the person who actually wrote this piece for these guys considers English his first language? Right, I know. I shouldn't assume it's a 'he'. Women can butcher the English language just as well as men.

The principal attraction for illegal immigrants is jobs. So preventing unauthorized employment is the linchpin of a pro-American immigration system.

I'm glad I'm about to read a pro-American argument. This does not reek of talking points at all. That said, "linchpin"? Who spells it that way? Someone who doesn't use 'y's, that's who.

But immigration politics are twisted.

So is the fact that we refer to the art of political science in the singular. Alas, it is so.

People who claim to want answers will reject real solution so they can continue to make noise about "the problem."

I kid you not. This appears in the Washington Post. Verbatim. Dudes, proof your op-eds before signing them and handing them to major dailies.

E-Verify, a system for deterring employment of illegal workers, is a voluntary federal program that is rapidly becoming mandatory -- so far in Arizona and Mississippi and for federal contractors -- in which a new hire's work authorization is supposed to be verified electronically.

Holy hell. I'm going to rewrite this, and then respond:

E-Verify is an electronic verification system used to confirm the legal status of immigrant workers. This voluntary federal program is now compulsory for workers in Arizona and Mississippi, as well as for federal contractors.

You know what? Now that this makes sense, I have no problem with it. Moving on...

It began as a unanimous 1994 recommendation of the bipartisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. One of us served on that commission, and the other was its communications director.

Wait, communications director? One of the purported authors of this piece was a communications director?

The substance and the politics of immigration grind along at a glacial pace, so we weren't surprised to see the DHS-commissioned Westat report on E-Verify note that it fails to identify illegal workers more than half the time.

This piece hyperlinks to the report. How useful for print readers. Also, the report is more than 300 pages long. If I wrote a post claiming that 60% of illegal immigrants commit acts of arson, I could hyperlink to this report, and pretty much everyone would take my word for it.

That said, any system that catches nearly half of illegal immigrants seems worthwhile to me.

But the reaction from the anti-immigration side of the debate was largely phony politics.

I hate phony politics. I'm glad the author included this. Now I know that, in addition to being pro-America, the authors shun phony politics.

Westat documented that the problem is not legal workers who are denied jobs, a problem that is rare and easily fixed, but illegal workers who are not. The hiring of illegal workers is very common, and E-Verify has to be fixed to prevent it.

So, let's do it.

Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies called the Westat report proof that "E-Verify's glass is half-full."

Nonsense. The report shows that E-Verify is a glass so thoroughly cracked that it lets illegal workers through faster than it stops them.

Nothing like following up nonsense with nonsense. Didn't the author(s... I suppose there is a possibility that these two fellows actually got together at Bruce's house and banged this out together) just say that it stopped some illegal immigration? Does E-Verify run a shuttle service about which we should be aware?

What a powerful incentive for impostor fraud this is: Large, organized criminal rings steal the identities of legal workers,

Then why the hell did your committee come up with the idea?

E-Verify does for identity theft what Prohibition did for Al Capone.

I can't imagine whoever wrote this crap knows what a category error is, but E-Verify::Prohibition as Identity Thieves (not theft)::Capone

Fortunately, there is an alternative. It's called NEVA, the New Employee Verification Act. NEVA has two tiers: a mandatory, wholly electronic system that deprives employers of any discretion -- a simple red light/green light that a new hire has cleared or not.

Why not just do the colored-light thingy with E-Verify? Again, why didn't the committee come up with NEVA in the first place? Why are these dudes considered subject matter experts on this issue when they, apparently, lack any measure of foresight?

Solid conservatives such as Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Tex.) and some of E-Verify's long-standing critics, including Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), support NEVA because it is a private-sector approach in which free enterprise will compete to protect privacy and security.

This seems to be cut and pasted directly from a word document containing talking points. With what with "free enterprise" be competing? Is there a concurrent communist programme devoted to contending with this issue? Is this system intended to compete with E-Verify? Frankly, it sounds exactly like E-Verify.

Verifying documents without authenticating identity cannot work. Protecting identity from theft has to be the first step before any kind of ID system can work.

These two points are:

a) In the same paragraph
b) Entirely unrelated
c) Stated elsewhere in the piece

In fact, empowering individuals to protect themselves from identity theft makes a national ID card unnecessary.

What? Why? How so? What does this have to do with anything? No explanation. Maybe a computer wrote this op-ed.

Yet restrictionists like Krikorian do not recognize documented proof of E-Verify's catastrophic failure rate in its primary mission as a reason to support the better system already drafted into legislation.

What is a restrictionist? Someone who opposes illegal immigration? Why would a restrictionist support E-Verify if it doesn't work? Why do political communications people add "-ist" to the end of words whenever they are trying to vilify someone? I am meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow. Does that make me a lunchist? Is that a bad thing? I hate this op-ed.

E-Verify's apologists are doubling their bets when they should be throwing in their cards.

This piece has doubled-down on the use of idiotic cliches in lieu of argumentation.

The American public will not support a sensible legalization plan nor keep the front door open while the back door is off the hinges.

The American public cannot make heads or tails of this sentence.

That's why the anti-immigration lobbies are hypocritically insisting on an E-Verify system that does not work.

This is the concluding paragraph, so I want to make sure I'm understanding it correctly. The argument is that those who oppose amnesty (hence anti-immigration) are supporting E-Verify BECAUSE it does not work?

This is a hysterical claim. Literally, this piece is claiming that those who support E-Verify do so ONLY because it is doomed to fail, thereby creating a political climate hostile to amnesty. If you are going to make that charge, go ahead, crazy-cakes.

Just proofread next time.