Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks: Top Ten Revelations

The WikiLeaks fiasco has compromised sensitive data, embarrassing a nation whose foreign policy platform depends on secrecy. Below are some of the most stunning revelations from the WikiLeaks documents.

10. Hillary Clinton once asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel where she got her hair done. Merkel responded that it was none of her business, but blushed, clearly flattered by the questions. Hillary wondered if Merkel was offended.

9. Condoleezza Rice could not spell 'receipt' for the life of her, but couldn't think of another word to use.

8. Radical Muslims sure are hard workers.

7. The Faroe Islands kinda feel left out of the whole decision making process. They have some great ideas about the EU financial crisis, if only anyone would listen.

6. Hillary Clinton felt awkward about the whole Merkel hair incident, and bought her a $2,000 gift certificate for a Manhattan spa. Merkel didn't know how to take it, but passed the certificate along to one of her assistants, who was thrilled. The whole thing became more trouble than it was worth when the assistant needed time off to use the spa services during Merkel's trip to the United States.

5. Jimmy Carter is still relevant, for some damn reason.

4. Vladimir Putin loves his iPhone, and goes on comment sections of tech blogs to defend the product. His user name is MacRussian69.

3. Hugo Chavez is deathly afraid of cats, but also owns three of them. He believes in keeping his friends close, and his enemies closer.

2. George W. Bush walked in on one of the several dozen water-boardings of KSM eating a chicken breast. He was heard to comment "you know what? The chicken breast is the dryest part of the bird. But it's also the meatiest. It's a conundrum, I tell ya'" before promptly exiting. KSM thought that was pretty messed up.

1. Barack Obama doesn't talk about hope as much these days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday Musings

Intro filler language! Let's muse...


So, is it Advent yet? I only know Advent as the time when religious lefties start haranguing us about "consumerism", and I assume that some of the quirkier Christian denominations also celebrate it by doing weird things in robes and anointing stuff. Is there anything important here, or is this just Christians being jealous of Ramadan?


A couple of years ago, I observed that the liberal backlash against bottled water was all a bit of plank pulling. Bottled water began as an accessory of the effete left, only to be co-opted by the mouth-breathing masses. By the time Walmart began selling 30 packs, the whole enterprise was seen as gauche, and the fleece-wearing set had converted to Nalgene bottles.

Months ago, I predicted a similar backlash to the "localvore" movement. For the last decade, our self-proclaimed cultural elites gravitated to co-ops, CSAs and farmers markets. Menus at top restaurants now boast the origin of a particular protein prior to (or even in lieu of) listing key components of a dish.

The movement caught on. CSAs are more popular than ever, and the Farmer's market is packed with soccer moms and hipsters alike. Cue the music.

Some have started to re-evaluate the value of eating locally. After all, isn't trucking produce from door to door just as inefficient as porting large quantities of the stuff across the interstate? Local farms cannot keep up with the demand, and might be forced to compromise their standards to meet it. And isn't it all a bit classissisisist to assign a lower value to food consumed by black people Walmart shoppers?

The Washington Post printed an op-ed that actually (faintly, damningly) praised Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin for questioning the obsessions with healthy, local food. The backlash has begun. In fairness, the author's point is perfectly accurate. People will reject a healthy eating movement that becomes a bureaucratic malaise. Persuasion and multi-tiered arguments are preferable to moralizing and forbidding.

But let's face it, once people can't moralize and forbid about something, they lose interest, especially if it costs money. Conservatives are starting to show interest in the issue, especially w/r/t treated foods (pasteurized milk, corn, hormone chickens). That can't be right. Maybe there's no harm in our meddling with nature after all. In fact, its good for the environment.

Cereal cafes are starting to hit the hipster circuit. Will "box to bowl" be the new "farm to table"?

My answers are "I hope not" and "yes".


I caught Easy A, this summer's surprise hit, at the Riverview. It reminded me of Saved, in that it depicts unhinged conservative Christians behaving like, well, liberal Muslims. But instead of shoving preachy pop religion down our throats as an antidote, the movie instead chooses to employ comedy.

Incidentally, I'm sure the script was pared down to achieve a PG-13 rating ('twat' is not a vulgar enough word to use as a set piece), but I think this added something. I'm not terribly concerned with vulgarity (my favorite film of the year prominently features a far more set-piece worthy word), but I do like my comedies to be somewhat grounded.

As a general rule, comedy works best when it plays by the rules. Judd Apatow and his clan, for whom vulgarity is a sort of sleight of hand, have had quite a run bending and breaking those rules. Alas, ever new comedy seems intent on replicating this tenuous model. There is something refreshingly sophisticated about a movie that isn't allowed to show T & A to break up a dull moment.


Barack Obama has yet to say anything about North Korea's attack on South Korea. Does he know he's still president? Has anyone explained the concept of mid-term elections to him? Like, it's not a British style parliament or anything. Just checking...


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving merriment

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time for family, gluttony and mediocre professional football. Today, I have a homework assignment for you. Take out a sheet of paper, and write down three things that you are thankful for. This is what the pilgrims did.

What, you can't afford paper? Oh, well then just write it on your... Oh, write, I guess a pen would definitely be out of the question. Well, here, borrow mine...

Right. No, I can see how that would be difficult. When is he scheduled for release? Oh, that's good...

Oh. Well, the restraining order would still be valid, wouldn't it?

Right. A restraining order is no match for a tire iron. So, why don't you just take this pen and... You know what? Maybe this exercise isn't for you...

Watch this video instead, and let your troubles melt away. I play the cranberry sauce.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Musings - Satire 101

Will there ever be a point at which directing unhinged rants toward the topic of Sarah Palin will be considered, if not contemptible, at least superfluous? If not, then can we at least have a moratorium on this business of hiding behind satire when confronted with the utter unpleasantness of something we have written?

Karen Spears Zacharias, the source of whose popularity in the faith world is a complete and utter mystery to me, has the latest. Readers are treated to a litany of anti-Palinisms. Baby-making machine, incompetent, Botox, John and Kate Plus 8 and, of course, unintelligent. The same cracks late-night comedy writers (Leno’s, not Stewart’s) have been dredging up for years, with the requisite “oh no you didn’t” swagger.

After all this, many of those commenting reasonably asserted that Ms. Zacharias had gone overboard. To which, she responds by accusing her readers of not understanding satire, and urging them to read more Twain.

Physician, heal thyself. Also, Karen, learn the distinction between sarcasm and satire. My 11th Grade English teacher will thank you.


Wait, I have more. Last week, on the Shefzilla blog, Stewart Woodman called out the Star Tribune’s Rick Nelson for his four-star review of Heartland, which cited a considerable number of Heartland’s imperfections. Having visited the restaurant, Woodman (who, apparently, also observed imperfections) wrote a tongue-in-cheek piece lambasting his meal, but also awarding the restaurant four stars.

To which, I get it, but again, just because something is satirical does not mean it makes its point effectively. At minimum, satire should be two things:

a) funny

b) true

On the first count, I found the comparison of soup to dishwater a bit tired, but whatever. Beats a Botox joke. The second part is crucial.

Woodman’s point (and I agree with him) is that a critic ought not overlook imperfections, and grade on a curve because this is Minnesota. As such, it would have been more effective to highlight the legitimate weaknesses with the dish, and go overboard in the effort to downplay them, rather than spoofing the meal and then reviewing it.

As it stands, he lost the essential truth of his point, and caused a scene. It didn’t help that some people apparently did not realize he was being facetious.


End didactic lecture. In short, be careful with satire, eh? Stay in school kids.


The question of whether Barack Obama is a Muslim is irrelevant. He isn’t one, but it’s irrelevant.

If he is going to evince the worst attributes of contemporary Islamic tradition, namely aligning himself with anti-Semitic interests abroad, then he might as well be. Praising Indonesia as a beacon tolerance, then pivoting to a spout of Israel-bashing is simply unconscionable.

It's hard to hold him personally accountable, since I sincerely doubt he has considered the implications of the stuff his staff writes for him. I am tempted to make a teleprompter joke, which, if I had, and if you were familiar with the writings of Mark Twain, you would have very much enjoyed.


This is all the rage...


Truthfully, people should have started revolting right around the time we started having to take off our shoes. But at least the remedy had something to do with the disease. Randomly introducing nudie scanners after a failed terrorist attach that would not have been foiled by same is a pretty stupid thing to do.


Also, if Obama were Clinton, he would have sensed an opportunity. Clinton would have fired Napolitano and called for Congressional hearings a week ago.


That’s all folks, and if you didn’t enjoy what you read, remember, it’s all satire.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Top Ten Fridays: Dumbest TC Construction Projects

Here's what you need to know about traffic in the Twin Cities. Our highway system was devised in the 1960s by engineers who were under the impression that a zombie massacre would plague our state, thereby reducing our population by 80% over the following fifty years.

Alas, the engineers of yesteryear grossly overestimated the zombie threat. MNDOT is left to clean up the mess, and they actually do a pretty good job, when given the chance.

Alas, politicians are involved. Between local initiatives, suburban placates, and federal pork projects, the Twin Cities roads have been turned into a Legoland of civic irresponsibility. My greatest hits of the last 10 years are as follows.

10. 35/62/Portland

See, if you live in Richfield, construction never ends. Between 35W, 62, 494, and just about every major artery route from Minneapolis, there's always something going on. The good people on the east side of the city (aka the wrong side of the tracks) have also had to deal with hostile takeovers my the MAC and the Best Buy Corporation.

Now, their access to Highway 62 has been cut off by the monumental 35/62 de-tangling scenario. This could easily be remedied by creating two-way access to 62 from Bloomington Avenue, but the effected region is home to largely blue collar residents. Expect another unnecessary rehab of Lake and Lyndale (see below) before that happens.

9. 494 and 169

Removing stoplights along 169 should have happened in, oh, 1977. Those poor geeks going to the Renaissance Festival wait for hours on this antiquated roadway. In particular, the 494/169 interchange has become the poster child for unanticipated exurban sprawl. Finally, however, we found the budget and political will to solve the problem. So why isn't 169 a crater right now?

Blame it on an old folks home, er, residential care facility. Apparently, the largely immobile benefit greatly from frontage road access that would be eliminated under the proposed project.

It's impossible to imagine how a non-driving citizenry would be disenfranchised by road construction, but it is easy to see why an adult care facility wouldn't want to be situated right off of a major interstate. Americans are averse to the idea of dumping granny on the side of a highway, but don't want to have to drive far for the monthly visit. The frontage road is the best of both worlds. Let's keep everything as is.

8. The Camden bridge.

I94 was closed for miles because of this thing. I can't even tell what got built. There is no new way to cross 94, not that there was any urgent need at this locale. Was it for trains?

7. The Lowry Bridge closing.

After the bridge collapse, the onus was on MNDOT to close down at least one bridge. Might as well pick one offering access to a poor neighborhood with no political clout, right?

6. North Star Rail

I will give $5 to anyone who can prove this even exists. I've never seen it. According to the website, it goes to Big Lake. That's a made up name for a town if ever there was one.

Also, according to the website, phase two of the project has been put on hold. There is a phase two? The citizens of Pine Forest Rabbit Creek will be thrilled.

5. The 494 expansion

Seriously? Now? Like, building that huge retaining wall couldn't wait, say, two years? Come on.

4. 694/Snelling

Bottlenecks are the enemy of any competent civil engineer. The 694/10/Snelling morass is certainly a bottleneck. Instead of fixing it, we invested hundreds of millions of dollars to forge a clearer path to 35W North. The 38 people who commute to Duluth on a daily basis don't know what to do with the extra 45 seconds that freed up.

3. Light Rail

Let me get this straight. We spent a billion dollars connecting a mall to a stadium, utilizing an outmoded medium that is now even losing favor with the pathological greenos who championed its installation in the first place. Now, we are spending two billion dollars to extricate our sports teams from said stadium? This is why I vote Republican, people.

2. The bike bridge to nowhere.

You cannot persuade me that there was not an easier way to get bike traffic across 55 (the existing stoplight, for example). Combined with the light rail intersection, that thing is a double rainbow of waste. Finally, though, bikers have full access to two of our regions most important industrial parks.

1. Lyndale and Lake

By and large, the effort to expand Lake Street West of Lyndale was a modest success. Previously unsafe and/or unnavigable stretches in the Phillips neighborhood now easily accommodate parked automobiles and buses without gridlock.

But when one major street expansions meets another, incompetent things happen. What essentially amounted to a repaving project took more than two years to complete for some reason, destroying local businesses and bringing traffic within a one mile radius to a dead stop. And to what end? The ponderous traffic swells remain, and no new parking was created in an area that desperately needs it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Interview with Brett Favre

Every now and then, my blog affords me the opportunity to talk with personalities and major newsmakers. Today, I’d like to welcome back Brett Favre, Quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings, who are coming off the departure of Randy Moss, along with a couple of tough road losses. Without any further adieu, Brett, welcome to TPWK.

Brett: It’s good to be here. Right?

TPWK: Um, that’s really in the eye of the beholder.

Brett: No, I mean, it’s GOOD to be HERE…. RIIIIGHT?

TPWK: You are speaking now as though you are concealing your true meaning.

Brett: The PARTY starts NOW.

TPWK: Indeed it does. Now, you had lobbied Green Bay to bring Randy Moss on board. How does his departure affect your gameplan going forward?

Brett: Oh, I get it. I get it. MOSSMAN IN THE HOLE. Right *winks*

TPWK: You seem to be distressed.

Brett: I don’t know what you are talking about. Do you have a camera?

TPWK: Yes. Most people do.

Brett: Right. We’re on the same page, here.

TPWK: Not at all. So, the Vikings are sitting at 2-5. In order to have even a shot at the playoffs, your team will have to finish by winning seven of nine games.

Brett: That’s not exactly true.

TPWK: Pardon.

Brett: There’s a lot of rumors swirling out there. Many of them false.

TPWK: Well, I’m basing this on the standings.

Brett: Yeah, the “standings”.

TPWK: Your are doing the quote thing with your fingers.

Brett: Am I?

TPWK: Yes. In fact, you are doing it still, even though you aren’t saying anything.

Brett: Why don’t you say what you mean to say?

TPWK: I have done so to the best…

Brett: Alright… Fine, the cat’s out of the bag.

TPWK: There’s a cat.

Brett: I’m running for office.

TPWK: Wow. This is quite the announcement. Are you running for governor, or…

Brett: You don’t get it, do you?

TPWK: Nope.

Brett: This is bigger than politics. We’re talking big leagues.

TPWK: I do not know what constitutes “big leagues” in this analogy.

Brett: Think about it. Where are we right now?

TPWK: On the blogosphere.

Brett: Exactly, but I don’t exist, do I?

TPWK: You assuredly do.

Brett: Do I?

TPWK: Yes, you are arguably the most famous face in football.

Brett: What happens if I do this?


Brett: Now you see.

TPWK: You didn’t do anything.

Brett: That’s what they all say. I have two words for you. Opaque transient.

TPWK: Those are, indeed, two words.

Brett: And you still have the camera?

TPWK: Yes. Again, this is a common thing in America.

Brett: Go and do likewise, sir. Go and do likewise.

TPWK: Wow, he disappeared.

Randy Moss: But I made him this peach cobbler.

TPWK: Sorry Randy.

Randy Moss: It’s alright… It’s alright.

TPWK: So, were you under the couch this whole time, or…

Monday, November 08, 2010

Plane Musings

United Airlines wants $8.49 what they call a “tapas” box. This includes a canister of olives, a three-pack crackers, hummus, non-cheese cheese spread, almonds and a candy mint.

Too which, that seems a bit more Meditterranean than Spanish to me. Also, I’m pretty sure the cost per ounce of this particular snack box rivals that of any restaurant in the cities.


Correction, the Tapas box is not available. We are offered the “classic”, $7 for pretzel sticks and more miscellaneous crap I would never pay to put in my mouth. Classic is a word that has lost all meaning. It now means, old and bad. Sort of like “racist” means “person I disagree with on any political issue”.


The toddler in the window seat tries to get up, but the mom subdues him by holding him down and telling him to stop. How rare is it to hear a parent tell their kids to stop anything? Or even say ‘no’?

The parents in the back are trying to distract their kid with toys. Lesson: Act like a boorish little turd, and every effort will be made to entertain you.

An additional child, sister of window toddler, is seated across the aisle from me. She is a gem. The well-behaved kids speak no English, not incidentally.


Apparently, Nicolas Cage made a movie called The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. I don’t know why. Uh-oh… Papers blowing around. Magic’s brewin’.


The aforementioned, hyper-entertained toddler is now being walked up and down the aisle. In fairness, her parents are almost certainly mourning last night’s election results. Window toddler is now asleep.


I suppose I should mention that I’m headed to San Francisco. I expect the entire town will be quite surly, under the circumstances. I half expect to find Pelosi face down in a puddle of her own mascara (ed. note - not so, on both counts).


The in-flight “house red” is far less Australian than the in-flight magazine claimed. It is, however, served cold, so this is the closest I’ve come to dining at Heidi’s in awhile. (ed. note: Shefzilla can't read this because I'm on a plane).


Speaking of restaurants, I’m dining at Incanto tonight, the owner of which authored the letter on Foie Gras referred to here. Great chefs who take common-sense positions on controversial issues get my business. (ed. note: This place is magic, to the degree it deserves yet another blog post of its own. Two quick points. Fish semen tastes a lot better than you think it would, and the sommelier hailed my taxi. There's a sentence nobody has ever written.)


The movie is still on. Some kid is wearing a catcher’s outfit, trying to corral some sort of magic. We cut to an effeminate man with poofy hair. He is evil, presumably. Truth be told, I’m not listening to the movie, so they could be doing an ironic send-up of the whole “sorcerer's apprentice” genre. That said, there is no “sorcerer's apprentice” genre, so it would be like Zoolander, an ironic send-up of something that does not happen.


Entertained-toddler is having herself another fit. My Koss Porta-Pro headphones may make me look like a total dork, but my dorky ass doesn’t have to listen to entertained-toddler. Why? Because I've got booming bass.

Mr. Sexy in his sleek, treble-heavy earbuds? He’s getting a mix of Sorcerer’s Apprentice, engine noise, and entertained-toddler screams. It's no fun being fashionable when you want to commit suicide.


Entertained-toddler is fascinated by aisle-gem-no-english-pre-schooler, who was watching Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but gave up in disgust. Kids know schlock when they see it; They just don’t know the word “schlock” yet. What is Spanish for schlock? Chipotle?


If I have a daughter, she will learn the word “schlock” by the time she is four years old. I will then enroll her in public school for precisely three days, so she can learn how to use it in a sentence.


The flight lands in 30 minutes, so I need to turn off my electronic device. Otherwise, it will magically interfere with the plane for some reason.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

And that's a wrap

Well, for me it is.

In a major disappointment, Harry Reid defeated Sharron Angle to retain his role as Senate Majority Leader. While this could prove to be a pyrrhic victory, as he'll remain a punching bag, I'd rather have a senator than a punching bag.


California voted no on legalizing pot, which is ironic considering how that state has opted to conduct itself over the last two decades. That marijuana is illegal in this country is as understandable as it is intellectually absurd. A shame California missed an opportunity to take leadership, but what else is new?


Per Facebook, a lot of Minnesota friends I know to be very conservative seemed awfully confused as to how to vote. That explains a lot. If you can't take the time to research who to vote for, you cannot complain about taxes, crime or jobs. You just can't.


CNN has added a standing cabal to their two existing panels. Elliot Spitzer is involved. This is chaos.


Haven't seen Alex Castellanos in awhile.


The three judges who supported same-sex marriage who were up for re-election in Iowa have been ousted. This has been portrayed as a reminder of the power of social issues, but I am not so sure. Keeping the big ideas out of the courts is a fundamental component of the nascent libertarian movement within the Republican party. I think that's driving the decision at least as much as opposition to gay "rights".


Crap. Governors race down to two percent. How can I go to sleep now?

Crunch Time in the Senate

Illinois and Pennsylvania looking hopeful. Glimmers here in Minnesota.


John Boehner reminds me of the warden in Shawshank Redemption. I want him to break out of his speech and say "Obama, you think you've been !@#$#@ by a train? I'll cast you down with the sisters..."


Instead, he breaks into tears talking about himself and how he used to have to work rotten jobs. He had to tend bar? Oh, the humanity. I give this guy one term as majority leader, one way or the other.


In the ad for Palin's reality show, she screams "why can't we just be happy with tranquility?" while two bears fight each other on screen. Yeah, bears, why can't you be tranquil. Stupid bears.


Is Colorado the new Oregon? Once a rugged land of conservative men, modern amenities, low unemployment and expensive colleges have attracted the fleece-wearing class who like the fresh air and pretty scenery. Will Denver be the new land of permanent unemployment.


Alvin Greene is calling for a recall via Twitter. Oh, dear...


Rudy Giuliani puts it succinctly. If Obama's an ideologue, he's toast, if he's a pragmatist, he can resurrect himself. Yep, and I'll add another possibility. If he decides that this election was about liberals staying home because they want him to embrace Alan Grayson style leadership, he'll not only lose, but set back his party for a long, long time.


Nevada numbers coming in. Here we go.

+62 looking prescient

Go Rick Berg. He's worked hard for the Republican party in North Dakota and for the conservative cause. It's about time one of the nation's reddest states finally sent Republicans to Washington. I have the feeling Hoeven and Berg can plan on staying awhile.


To listen to the left, the Republicans are somehow immediately besieged by a mandate to govern from the center. Of course, Republicans would do well to focus on driving Obama to the center (rather than governing from the untenable far right), but if anyone has the centrist mandate, it's Obama. He will triangulate, or he will be Jimmy Carter. Only after he has come to the table can he paint Republicans as extreme.


Ugh, as a dog returns to its vomit, so California returns to Jerry Brown. Is there any case for bailing out California at this point? If they are going to make no effort to get their financial ship in order, there is no reason why we should assist them.


Mike Huckabee makes a joke about wishing he had invested in U-Haul... Because there are going to be a lot of people moving in D.C.

Again, not my cup of, um, tea, Huckabee.


So, will Obama finally ditch the stupid car analogy?


Is Mark Dayton really going to hold at 48%? Seriously, half of Minnesota thinks this is the guy? This explains Vikings fans, I feel, somehow. Minnesota is looking like the lone holdout against the wave generally.

For those who depend upon the economy for their jobs, this is a very bad thing. Minnesota is going to lose its competitive edge over neighboring states if it lurches to the left. See Maine for a prime example.


Huh. Power outage near Vegas, eh? What a coincidence.


Tired of hearing the word wave. This race has more or less followed the script. That's not a wave, by any definition of the word.

Election Night: The mushy middle goes down.

Yeah, not sure who the audience is for this Sarah Palin reality series. Survivor meets the 700 Club. Not feeling it.


It should be noted that this was originally expected to be a terrible night for Republicans in the Senate. The incumbents this year were last elected in 2004, a great year from Republicans. For those who were wondering why the GOP is poised to clean up in the house, but faces an uphill battle for Senate seats.


I am projecting that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win the Superbowl. I mean, when in Rome.


If South Dakota can't send Herseth-Sandlin packing, I'm so going to make fun of my wife. This won't be annoying to her at all, I'm pretty sure.


Fox News just faded out Tim Pawlenty. It was like someone turned a dial down or something. Kinda emblematic of how things have been going for him so far.


Have to say, it's a special treat watching "pro-life" Dems go down. The cynical political calculations inherent in that little rhetorical trick are nauseating. The issue is too important for this sort of conniving opacity.


Obama wants to end partisanship now. It reminds me of the people on the left who are suddenly bemoaning the lack of civility and the 24-hour news cycle.


Has CNN called it for Sestak yet? No? I'm about ready to...

GOP takes the house... Per projections... Sorta...

Now CNN has patriotic music. That's better.


I have to admit, I'll miss having crazy Alan Grayson to kick around. Does this make him a front-runner for the "OBAMA ISN'T LIBERAL ENOUGH!!!" delusional third party run? How bizarre is it that such a run seems inevitable?


For all the chatter about how the tea party is allegedly comprised of zealous dullards, I would hazard to guess that Rand Paul is the smartest new addition to Congress.


Rick Snyder has "won" the opportunity to try to govern Michigan. That's a bit like winning the keys to an asylum. Good luck with that, dude.


Just popped over to check the Pistons-Celtics game. Now I know how Democrats feel. Ugh.


Wow... Fox News just called a House takeover with 60 seats for the Republicans. How can you project an estimate? CNN is projecting 50 seats, so somebody is projecting wrong. What is the difference between a projection and an estimate?


With the Senate assuredly out of reach, I think the magic number is 49. That's the number Republicans are going to have to reach to get a majority on Obamacare repeal. Manchin has go along, and Ben Nelson can choose between repeal and retirement.


Marco Rubio commends Meek for his class and integrity. He commends Crist for being, um, an opponent. That's about right. I can see why everyone thinks he's a star.


Not liking the Pennsylvania numbers. Not at all.

Early Results

As predicted, Christine O'Donnell got her witch hat handed to her. The race was called immediately after poll close.

Thus far, nothing surprising, and if there isn't anything surprising by this point, the prediction of a house/senate split should hold.


To which, the tea party looks poised for a 50/50 split. Marco Rubio held, and if his 50% total holds, he'll be getting presidential buzz. Rand Paul held Kentucky, but possibly cost a house seat in the process. Ron Johnson seems likely to add a seat viz. Wisconsin Senate, offsetting the O'Donnell piss-away. Angle and Reid are, by all accounts, tied.

Given the Tea Party's impact on the enthusiasm gap, I'll take that.


This commercial has people smelling real cat urine. You know what is a good idea when you are selling kitty litter? Using creativity.


Oh dear, Fox News is to the clipboards already. Can we just retire this meme? It is not entertaining, nor refreshingly old-fashioned.


At this point, the New York Times is writing "disappointing night for the GOP" type headlines. It is never disappointing to take the House by 20 seats, and the New York Times is hardly going to be celebrating.


While I'm tampering my expectations, over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver is upping his expectations. Both of our forecasts are sitting at 57-58 right now.

Election Night Coverage Part 1: Predictions and Kickoff

Predictions: GOP +62 in the House, +8.5 in the Senate (Murray wins Washington on the trunk vote).

Emmer wins, carrying a stronger than expected Republican ticket in MN. Lori Swanson holds, while Severson and Anderson take over.


CNN kicks off coverage with weird horror music. For them, I suppose, that's apropos.


Paul, Coates and DeMint win. No surprises, and their numbers are thus far close to poll projections. It's going to be a long night.


CNN has two different panels analyzing the results, and the separate panels are arguing with each other. Fox News just has smilin' Shephard Smith. Don't worry about anything. Shep is here.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Minneapolis 4th District Endorsements part 2

More endorsements. Be sure to vote tomorrow, unless you are an ignorant person, in which case, stay home please. With my voting guide however, that shouldn't be a problem.

Charter Amendment 171: No

The amendment would place responsibility for redistricting school and park boards to a "non-partisan" charter commission. The current system fields members from majority and minority parties to join the existing (and appointed) charter commission in making redistricting decisions.

The proposed change would have the charter commission working with advisory councils, which will be appointed by none other than the charter commission. Seriously? There is too little accountability in this city as it is.

School Board: Rebecca Gagnon

Sigh... I guess. Rebecca's website looks like it is maintained by an insane person, but she is the only one of the candidates to even hint at accountability. The rest of the candidates are typical teachers union hacks who, well, you know what I think of union hacks. Richard Mammen has the enthusiastic endorsement of the Teachers Union, and is particularly problematic. You get two choices, so as long as neither of them are him, you're in as good of shape as one could hope.

County Commissioner - District 1: Mary O'Connor

When getting smacked around by thugs in your own district isn't enough of a wake up call to re-assess your priorities, it's time for you to go. Mike Opat believes, in spite of all evidence, that the best way to revive a flagging district is to invest in civil initiatives. That philosophy has not born fruit.

O'Connor is the Libertarian candidate, and has an ideological approach that will make our region more competitive.

County Sheriff: Rich Stanek

He is running unopposed, and rightly so. With R.T. Rybak trading cops for fountains, we need the competence Stanek provides.

County Attorney: No Endorsement

On the other hand, Michael Freeman is clearly biding time while he waits for higher office. He's running unopposed, so vote for my favorite write-in candidate, Buster Fonz, TV personality and part-time salesman.

Associate Justice 2: Helen Meyer

I wish the judges running for that State Supreme Court had a vision that extended further beyond simply advocating competitive elections for judges. I also wish they would pick their targets a bit better. There is no compelling reason for me to support Greg Werser over Meyer.

Associate Justice 6: Tim Tingelstad

There is, however, plenty of reason to oppose Alan Page, who is a on the court by virtue of having been a football player.

Judge 13: No Endorsement

Roxann Klugman is the challenger, but has allowed to expire her license to practice law. I mean, come on.

Judge 14: Dan Griffith

I have endorsed Dan previously, and he has done nothing to change my mind. Per his website: "it's not just about meaningful elections. It's what you do once you get elected." Correct. It would be easier to support Griffith had he ran against Klugman's opponent, Randolph Peterson, but a vote for change is the right way to go.

Other Judge elections: No endorsements

The election advocacy cabal did an especially poor job selecting targets and promoting their candidacies this year. As such, the only four contested elections are certain victories. That doesn't mean you have to lend your support to a status quo that is redefining the role of the judiciary and, in the case of the 4th district judges, releasing criminals onto the streets. Buster Fonz will have my enthusiastic support in the remaining cases.