Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Libya: Part Three - A Conclusion

Barack Obama has already been hit in conservative circles (rightly so) for taking a doctrinaire approach to Libya. But I’m not so sure we have a handle on Obama’s doctrine, outside of the baseball analogies he put forth on the campaign trail. How does he modify his approach when, say, the Arab League (and, soon, most of Europe) refuses to play ball?

Worse, he has announced that he has no intention of taking out Gaddafi. Does it make sense to antagonize a leader, one who has already engineered terrorist attacks against Americans, and then leave him in power? What is Obama’s response when Gaddafi responds.

We have no idea. The reason wasn’t on his TelePrompter last night. We cannot test Obama’s claims (I’ll simply assume none of my readers take the humanitarian explanation at face value) against our sense of reality. He has not made claims.

By my lights, this contrasts one of the great strengths of the Bush presidency. He made a case for war, committed to certain deliverables, and sought to achieve them, well beyond the point at which they had ceased to be popular. If his evidence for the existence of WMDs was cherry-picked, our congress had complete access to that information.

Barack Obama is reticent to even use the word war. Tactically, or by accident, he has shirked accountability at home as he has acquiesced to fickle allies abroad.

And therein lies my functional opposition to the war in Libya. If the president has not made his case for war, then he cannot be held accountable to any sort of success model. By declaring a national emergency (?) and moving forward without the consent of congress (or even a real address), Obama has given himself carte blanche for any and all military engagement.

You can make the constitutional case that the president has this power. I just don’t want this president to use it.

To date, the proof is in the pudding. The president’s much-touted alliance is weaker and narrower than that of the Iraq war. Rhetoric aside, we are fronting the weapons, money and personnel to achieve what is, ostensibly, a NATO initiative (or a UN initiative… take your pick).

It may provide some comfort to members of the elite (many of whom have made European friends travelling around the world) that France and Britain are offering their rhetorical support. The rest of us shouldn’t give a damn. Gaddafi doesn’t.

To date, we have seen no tangible benefit from the Obama doctrine, and we will not. The word feckless gets thrown around a lot, but Obama’s initiatives are all marked by a similar pattern.

-The application of broad doctrine to a profoundly complex issue

-Inevitable opposition

-Incoherent, but nonetheless aggressive, response to same

-Misapplication of aforementioned doctrine (see: Care, Obama)

Let’s face it. If he were going to delineate a clear strategy for engagement, he would have done so by now. What he has are a couple of theories that he would like to think will improve our global standing for foreign policy endeavors in the future.

From what I can ascertain, Libya (like most specific policy issues) doesn’t interest Barack Obama very much. He is looking for an opportunity to apply his ideology, the way a scientist is eager to test a hypothesis.

Unfortunately, the testing of this hypothesis necessitates missile strikes. Remember Colin Powell’s oft-repeated aphorism about bulls and china shops? Obama has let the bulls out of the pen, and the consequences will require further intervention.

At this stage, short of a miracle, Obama has essentially committed ground troops to Libya. The resistance is emboldened, and now assumes it has the support of the international community (i.e. the United States). Alas, they do not have the resources to sustain a ground assault.

We’ll have to intervene. That means troops on the ground. That means navigating a complex network of a affiliations (many of them terrorist affiliations) through a process of trial and error (with the error coming in the form of fatalities).

The alternative is to sweep it under the rug, and hope everyone at home forgets about it as Libyans die en masse. Barack Obama is very few things. Cynical isn’t one of them.

And what if, God forbid, Gaddafi launches a terrorist attack? I doubt Americans will be mollified by the fact that Obama has found favor with the Belgians.

Foreign policy as hypothesis is a dangerous game. What looks good in a student newspaper doesn’t necessarily work in real life. A war in Libya requires a leader. When we elect one, I will support it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

On Libya: Part Two - What's our motivation?

How I view the war in Libya is less important than how the president views it, and not simply for the reason that I am a blogger and he is a president. I may agree with his initiatives to date, but not his aims. As the latter will guide the former henceforth, it’s important to ascertain what Barack Obama thinks we should achieve, and how he thinks we should achieve it.

This, really, is the crux of any argument re: war. Whether or not you support the Iraq war hinges on why you suppose George W. Bush engaged it.

Had we found troves of powerful weapons at Saddam’s disposal, only the most fervent ideologue could resist the clarity of the mission. But he didn’t, and so in absence of clarity, we look to vision. Did George W. Bush have reason to believe Saddam had WMDs? Was this his essential motivation for war?

Conveniently (and unfortunately), the answer to that question just so happens to split along partisan lines. Fancy that.

What does Barack Obama want to accomplish? As it pertains to Libya qua Libya, I don’t have the foggiest idea. I’m not sure anyone does.

I know what he doesn’t want to do. He doesn’t want to kill Gaddafi. To do so will take a concerted effort, a months/years long campaign that will leave a tattered nation in tatters accompanied by our bite marks. Sound familiar?

I’m reasonably certain he doesn’t want to start a ground war of any sort, (though I think this ship has sailed, as I’ll explain later). Politically, this will be a tough sell, especially insofar as the administration is allergic to the term “war”. Ground strikes, with the bullets and IEDs, look a bit too much like war movies. The optics cannot be spun.

I am certain that his concerns over genocide are sincere, as were those of Bush in Iraq. But preventing genocide can only mute the moral concerns with respect to war. It cannot assuage them. We cannot prevent every instance of genocide, and Barack Obama knows this.

Nor, necessarily, is the goal to arm and assist the resistance. This reticence, while possibly wise, as we famously do not understand the nature of the resistance, calls into question the purpose of declaring war. Our presence in Libya (viz. missiles) invariably assists the resistance. How could it not?

I’m fine with the tension. Any nation where radical Islam has taken hold will not produce an ethically pure resistance. However, the old adage about things not possibly being any worse applies when the existing leadership has repeatedly declared war on our country and murdered United States citizens.

But that’s me talking. It is, to put it mildly, unsafe to assume that the White House’s assessments hue to my own proclivities.

And yes, I have my suspicions.

I have long thought that Hillary Clinton needed a foreign policy lens through which to define her 2012 candidacy. If leaked reports of internal dissent are to be believed, this would be that. The timing of here announcement that she will be stepping down as SOS is intriguing. Has Obama simply talked himself into the efficacy of a mission that will deprive Hillary of her bludgeon?

Of course, there is the usual cloud of Wag The Dog cynicism that permeates any military endeavor. Are internals showing that Obama is seen as weak? Has Obama struck some sort of back room deal? Is there an affair (or worse) that must be kept out of the headlines?

Perhaps Obama is, as so many leaders before him have been, eager to own a foreign policy issue. To date, he has been beholden to the machinations of his predecessor’s military efforts. This is his chance to execute foreign policy his way. To this end, the administration has made quite the show of support of Britain and France, as well as the (snicker) Arab League.

The latter motivation seems most plausible, and would explain the ad hoc nature of our engagement. Barack Obama has touted international diplomacy as a means of advancing democracy. This is a chance to do it his way (with much deference to the UN), and Libya as a cornerstone of his ideological approach to war.

So what about that approach? This is getting long, so there’s a part three.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

On Libya: Part One

As a blogger, I am required to have an opinion on major world events, so here is my take on our nascent war on Libya.

I begin with the assumption that any war should accord with the interests of the United States first, the world at large second, and the nation at which we are going to war third. In other words, if the war in Libya will substantially improve the world in a way that makes our lives easier and better, then I am for it. Every successful military endeavor in our nation’s history has met this standard.

I find doctrinaire arguments unpersuasive and preening. If Obama once said that the president may not go to war without congressional authorization, his supporters might have cause for concern. Many sincerely believed that Obama would be a different breed of president. I harbor no such delusions, and neither do his conservative critics.

The consistency brigade has introduced other nonsense. A presence in Libya does not necessitate a presence in Bahrain or Darfur, for the simple reason that Libya is not Bahrain or Darfur. As the consistency argument fails to seriously consider the case for war, no further explanation is needed.

As for the notion that we aren’t in the “nation building” business, please do consider the source of that particular talking point.

As for whether this meets so-called “just war” criterion, every war we have started over the last 60 years meets this does so, insofar as our enemies have always been murderers. The crisis in Libya so easily clears this hurdle that anyone wanting to have a discussion about just war is simply obfuscating. Gaddafi is a man bent on killing his own people to preserve his own power.

More substantively, opponents have argued that the United States is broke, and therefore has no business declaring war. On it’s face, this glosses over the issue. If we were being attacked by China, nobody would really care about the deficit w/r/t war.

But let me concede that we do well to consider the costs of a war in light of the benefits. It could well be that bombing Libya is the right thing to do in a vacuum, but that our rising debt outweighs the inherent benefit of doing so.

To which, and this is the dirty little secret of the military-industrial-(congressional) complex, war is a relatively inexpensive endeavor. Simply put, the dropping of missiles necessitates the production of same. Since weapons production is a largely American endeavor, those high price tags you see affixed to this or that effort tends to return to us. By no means is this an economic solution, but the make-work component of military endeavors militates against the enormous cost.

The more compelling argument, one conservatives have reasonably put forward, is that we simply don’t know what the revolution looks like. By taking on Gaddafi, are we empowering the devil we do not know.

At minimum, this certainly impacts the cost/benefit analysis. There is no sense spending billions of dollars to prop up an Ahmadinejad when a Gaddafi will do.

But that is painting our effort with a broad brush. First of all, we do know Gaddafi, and he is a devil all right. For starters, he is responsible for murdering Americans. He also sought nuclear weaponry, and was put on a very short leash for this reason.

In other words, it’s hard to see how we could do much worse.

But Libya presents a unique dynamic. Essentially, we have revolution for Democratic change facing genocide, or something like it. At minimum, we need to send the message the slaughtering dissidents is going to make you dead when those dissidents represent hope for a more stable Middle East, which again is massively in our best interests.

With a revolution declared, we have an opportunity to plant the seeds of Democracy on the (relative) cheap. The worst-case scenario is that we tell the leader of oil rich nations that if they don’t play ball, we’ll kill them. This just assertion of power sends a message on its own, one that will certainly be heard in Bahrain.

So do I support war in Libya? Yes.

Do I support THIS war in Libya? Not necessarily, as I’ll explain tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The hypocrisy of pacificsm

Finally, a consistent left-wing pacifist, taking the president to task for engaging in war when he ran on a platform of ending wars. Jim Wallis has issued a clarion call to...

Oh, nevermind, he wrote this instead...

The U.S. just started another war. We're good at starting wars. We're not good at ending them, but we start them really well.
The U.S. started a war? Like, as a nation, we just sort of, you know, collectively figured we'd do a war this year? 'Cause before 2009, George W. Bush started wars, so I just figured... No? Okay.

They say this is for "humanitarian" reasons. Aren't they all?

No. Iraq was for the purpose of deposing Saddam and Afghanistan was about going after Al Qaeda. Right or wrong, the war was not principally sold in humanitarian terms

But we still haven't intervened in arguably the clearest humanitarian crisis: Darfur.

Right, because again we do not declare war for humanitarian reasons, because that does not work.

We're not defending civilians against brutal attacks in Bahrain or Yemen.


And we didn't even care about democracy in Egypt until youthful, democratic protesters forced us to restate our values.

True. Sojourners was, in fact, generally pro-Egypt, on account of that nation's hard-line anti-Israel stance. I cared about Democracy in Egypt, though, and still do.

Moammar Gadhafi is crazy, and brutal, and dangerous.

Sounds bad. Let's kill him.

But the U.S. has known many dictators like that and has supported them faithfully for years, as long as they are compliant with our interests.

Correct. So when madmen do not act in our interests, we have a problem on our hands.

But when their craziness makes them no longer compliant, we go to war against them for the humanitarian cause of protecting their people. Right.

Well, that's Obama's reasoning. Or, rather, the "U.S." reasoning, as we have no leader and make decisions as a collective now.

Oh, and then there's oil.

That's important too, yes.

Darfur doesn't have any.

Eh? What does Wallis think is funding the civil war in Darfur? Black market guinea pigs?

Bahrain does, along with a huge U.S. naval base.

But we're not at war with Bahrain either, so what is the point of bringing this up?

And the Saudis, who have come in to crush the democratic protests in Bahrain for their good friends in the royal family, have all the oil.

So why are we in Libya and Afghanistan, and why is it hypocritical for us to be there?

Obviously, no humanitarian concerns there. It's amazing how consistent U.S. foreign policy is from administration to administration, and how little changes when we elect a new president.

Maybe there is a reason for that. Like, perhaps, instead of citing out-of-context scripture in an attempt to sell books, the people who know things are trying to apply that knowledge to policy.

Then there's the cost. We're fighting to protect poor and low-income people against draconian budget cuts,

Draconian? $70 billion out of a $3.5 trillion budget? That's 2% of the overall budget. As a reminder, Draco favored forced slavery, and execution for even minor offenses.

but there is apparently more than enough money for another war.

There is not, as leaders within the House of Representatives has noted. Wallis will probably get around to mentioning this fact, or...

The Republican deficit hawks seem unconcerned about the cost of war.

The hell? We are pinning this war, initiated by Barack Obama at the behest of !@#$ing France, on Republican deficit hawks? THEY are the hypocrites in this scenario? Jim Wallis couldn't be more of a whore if he walked into Barney Frank's office wearing fishnet stockings.

They're busy cutting budgets and deficits by slashing malaria-preventing bed nets... and community health centers.

That latter part refers to Planned Parenthood, by the way.

We've been asking "What Would Jesus Cut?"

I know. I got the e-mail begging for the money to buy wristbands. If there is one thing I love, it's Christian catch-phrases. That said, I'm pretty sure Jesus would cut Planned Parenthood, on account of the baby-killing. Least of these and all that.

Maybe he'd start with cruise missiles.

One thing he would never do? Criticize a sitting Democratic president by name. Jesus took his orders from George Soros.

Seriously though, I am duly shamed for my hypocrisy. Thanks for straightening me out.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Musings

I like to think that only the toughest snowflakes are still on the ground. Pretty sure science would back that up. Let's muse.


Those who call for civility are uncivil. Those who call for dialogue prefer monologue.

Those who relentlessly called for pacifism during the Bush administration? Haven't heard much from them lately.

The need to hide one's own ideology behind empirical wisdom or altruism intrigues me endlessly.


As I'm working through what I think about the war with Libya, I thought I'd anticipate a challenge to any opposition, namely that Republicans had no problem with war when Bush was at the helm. To which, yes, that is part of my calculation. I don't think Barack Obama knows what he is doing, and I am not comfortable with him authorizing military strikes.

Just look at the manner in which he has engaged Libya. At first, he ignored it. Then, following the lead of the United Nations, he is now leading the charge against it. Instead of making a case for war, he simply buried his announcement in the weekend news cycle (not to mention the NCAA tournament).

The objectives of the mission are far from clear. The administration has already ceded the possibility, even likelihood, that Gaddafi will remain in power. Unlike Iraq, we have no easy allies among the various opposing groups. Even if we did, we wouldn't know who they are.

So yeah, I don't think he's the guy who is going to make that situation better. My guess is he'll use it as Clinton used Iraq. Stay nominally engaged, and fire some missiles whenever he needs a news peg. That worked well.


Car seat insanity has been a pet peeve of mine for awhile. The notion that we are to keep kids in booster seats into their teens is utterly ludicrous, and is forcing people to buy bigger and bigger automobiles in order to accommodate these out of control regulations.

As you can imagine, I unthrilled to read this piece on CNN.com, calling for, you guessed it, more car seat regulation. Well, technically it doesn't call for more regulation, but you can be certain state legislators will take up the mantel in an effort to win votes from Mom's Against Everything types. Car seat regulations usually have several dozen sponsors and no substantive opposition.

Once on the books, it can't be undone (what, you want to kill kids by loosening car seat regulations? See you at the polls, Mr. Senator), so the time to piss and moan is now, people!


Case in point, Minnesota's ridiculous blue laws prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays. With Republicans firmly in control of both chambers, they are making an effort to pass legislation that would allow for liquor sales 365 days per year.

There is absolutely no objective reason why the law should not pass. If alcohol is legal, we should be able to buy it whenever we wish.

Bars and restaurants oppose the legislation, because they believe they would lose business to liquor stores. Liquor stores oppose the legislation, because they believe they wouldn't see an uptick in revenues. One of those groups has been sold a bill of goods.

The Methodists oppose the legislation because they will never miss an opportunity to be wrong. The Minnesota family council opposes the legislation, citing nebulous benefits to the community. The Teamsters oppose the legislation because they oppose anything that requires people to work.

And so a stupid law is likely to remain on the books, because once a law is on the books, a cottage industry develops to defend the status quo, no matter how absurd.


Had dinner at Moto-I on Friday. I like the concept, as there aren't enough Japanese restaurants that aren't sushi bars or (bristle) steakhouses. The food was competent, but a bit uninspired. Lot's of sweet and salty. The house-brewed sake, as always, was great.

Per Twitter, there has been a chef changeover, and a new menu is on the way. I hope so, because it's a cool spot, and Uptown can use better food options.


Dim sum brunch at Yangtze on Saturday. I'll quote a Facebook friend:

"In the land of the blind the one eyed shumai is king."

I think dim sum is fun enough that, when executed competently, it's a worthwhile experience. Yangtze is that, but the old Yummy space was closer to a two-eyed version. Why aren't any of the various Szechuans on top of this?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday Musings

Today is not Monday. Today is Tuesday. Let's call it museday.


As it is with the self-proclaimed civility police, so it is with people calling for dialogue. People who want dialogue, dialogue. Those who want to short-circuit dialogue, talk about dialogue.

Solution: When someone asks for dialogue, tell them to shut up. You will never have a worthwhile conversation with anyone who calls for dialogue, unless that someone is a playwright.


While I'm on a roll here. Nobody in possession of any real measure of intellect really cares to discuss intellectualism. People who talk about intellectualism, or have decided they are intellectual, are invariably dolts.

This goes for people who decry anti-intellectualism. See, if someone is anti-intellectual, it should be easy enough to demonstrate as much.

If you want to apply the intellect, apply it.


Apparently, Rob Bell got a six-figure advance for his book in which he essentially denies the existence of hell.

To which, what, exactly is the difference between Bell, who is leveraging unorthodox biblical tenets to drive profits for his ministry, and televangelists who do the same?

You can make a scriptural case for universalism. You can make a scriptural case for Osteen's vision of the prosperity gospel.

Neither position bears much scrutiny. Christianity pretty much is what it is. But both are extremely profitable.

You will never lose money telling people what they want to hear. Sadly, this is nowhere more true than in the Christian religion.


Tonight is the first night of the NCAA tournament. These "play-in" games remind me of the third tier bowl games nobody cares about. Maybe they can get Meineke to sponsor one of the games.

Why does the NCAA insist on making stupid decisions. This would be like the NFL saying "you know what? Let's turn the Superbowl into a three game series."


Japan has been hit by a tsunami. The Middle East is in a state of revolt. The economy is at least reasonably likely to double-dip into recession. What does Barack Obama do?

He pens an article for an Arizona daily about the need for moderation on gun control.


At least he isn't calling for dialogue.


Of course, if he wants to make an enemy of the smartest advocacy group on the planet for no real reason, I'm inclined to let him fall on that sword.


Apparently, I do not know how to eat Bimimbap. Our waitress at Sole Cafe observed our dish, asked "why are you eating it like that?" and proceeded to add rice, hot sauce, and mix the whole thing up.

Korean food needs instructions. Good thing it tastes so awesome.


Victory 44 has bought out the coffee shop next door and opening a deli and high-end coffee shop, featuring house-cured meats, charcuterie and take out foods.

This is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my life.


We find out baby's gender on March 25. Once it is born, I'll probably be handing over blogger responsibilities to him or her.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Brian McLaren and the Royal "We"

Brian McLaren is not my favorite person. Let's just put it that way. Here goes.

With all the angst about the economy, the deficit, and a looming government shut-down, I’m still concerned that we’re treating symptoms rather than diagnosing the underlying disease.

Well, actually, we aren't really treating the symptoms either. The Obama administration is treating the economy like a doctor who recommends whiskey for a diabetes patient, so he can feel better after a dog eats his toes.

I know something about this. I spent a week in the hospital last year having loads of tests done — blood work, heart scans, stress tests, and sonograms. I was discharged without a diagnosis, merely with hopes that by treating the symptoms, whatever was wrong would go away. It didn’t. It turned out my real problem was a tick-born disease,

Great analogy. Thanks, Brian. Use Deep Woods Off next time.

Too often, what we get instead of diagnosis is blame shifting, with Republicans and Democrats pointing across the aisle: “It’s their fault!” Or even less helpful, we get vicious scapegoating, where we vent our frustration and anxiety on some minority group — Muslims, gays, and immigrants for starters.

WE blame gays and immigrants? So is McLaren owning up to viciously scapegoating gays for the bad economy? Shame on you Brian McLaren, for viciously scapegoating gays.

"I viciously scapegoat gays,"

-Brian McLaren

Most of our spiritual leaders seem to be shirking their responsibility in this regard, leaving it up to Michael Moore, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert to challenge our conscience.

"Michael Moore, Jon Stewart, and Stephen Colbert challenge my conscience"

-Brian McLaren

When will more and more pastors, priests, rabbis, and imams join together and lead their people in a process of national self-examination to deal with our spiritual deficit?

Note. Do any of my readers have any spiritual leaders who do not lead a process of dealing with your spiritual deficit? Like, you show up to service, and your pastor talks about the best happy hour specials or something? Is that true of ANYONE?

We would, among other things, have to face our humility deficit.

I shouldn't be snarky. Brian McLaren can teach us a thing or two about humility. After all, he just confessed that he viciously scapegoats gays for the economy. I wouldn't admit that. Of course, I don't do it either.

When things go wrong in the world, we have a well-practiced habit of blaming others

"I blame others"

-Brian McLaren

Charlie Sheen and Muammar Gaddafi might just offer us an exaggerated reflection of our own unacknowledged denial about our national arrogance.

The hell? What is unacknowledged denial? What does acknowledged denial look like? Acceptance? This sentence is an exaggerated reflection of what happens when you use adjectives in lieu of analysis.

It’s astounding, when you think about it,

I just thought about it. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever to declare that Gaddafi offers us an exaggerated reflection of our unacknowledged denial.

that “American Exceptionalism” hasn’t been exposed as a cover for American arrogance; every time we pull out that verbal credit card, we add more to our national humility deficit.

Well THAT's astounding. Brian McLaren reminds me of those sportswriters who arbitrarily write a piece about how Derek Jeter is the best player of all time because he just plays the right way. I bet you, at some point in his life, Brian McLaren has said exactly that.

What portion of our anti-government sentiment, truth be told, flows from a legitimate concern about government waste,

All of it. Seriously.

and what percentage flows from a “what’s mine is mine and to hell with anybody else” mindset?

None of it. Seriously.

Our “dress-for-success” religiosity, aimed at sending “vote for me” signals to winnable religious constituencies, will take us to a very different place than a sincere pursuit of naked spirituality will.

Shall I remind my readers that Brian McLaren helmed the Matthew 25 network, aimed at providing spiritual cover for the Obama campaign?

Could it be that oil spills in the outer environment manifest our spiritual failure to restrain greed? Could melting ice caps manifest an over-heated spiritual condition?

I remember when I was a Junior in high school. My teacher, Marie Abele, wrote in the margins of an essay "you use this word (manifest) a lot. Do you own a thesaurus?"

Could our insatiable budget for more and bigger weapons betrays a lack of faith in the power of nonviolent peace-making, that our nostalgia for a mythical good-old-days betrays our lack of hope in God’s guidance to a better tomorrow, and that our demonization of the other signifies our lack of love for God, neighbor, stranger, and enemy?

"Derek Jeter is the greatest of all time because he just plays the right way."

-Brian McLaren

In short, could our fiscal financial deficit be revealing a spiritual deficit — not just in “them,” but in all of us?

Possibly. I mean, you are demonizing the other, scapegoating the gays, being challenged by Michael Moore. You should repent, or something. Our sea levels are high enough, dammit.

Are we ready to go into treatment?
After you, sir. Take the ticks with you.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Monday Musings

The Miami Heat spent the weekend losing basketball games and crying in their locker room. That makes me indescribably happy. Let's muse.


Enough with the Planned Parenthood re-branding, already. It's not a woman's education clinic anymore than Kentucky Fried Chicken is a purveyor of vegetarian dishes and sporks. It makes it's money providing abortions. It spends its money providing abortions. If it did not provide abortions, it would cease to exist.

You can agree with that practice if you want, but I know a bucket of chicken when I see it.


We all know that teachers aren't the only public sector employees, right? Like, city inspectors are public sector employees, too. We all know this?

Allow me to make a prediction. If Scott Walker decides to win this game of pseudo-chicken and announces layoffs, the unions will see to it that those let go are sympathetic individuals. Administrators making $225k per year? You're safe.

Single mom who works as an admin to support her four kids? Well, you'll have plenty of time for television interviews, sweetheart. Gotta give it up for the cause.


City Pages has a special food insert more or less devoted to Stewart Woodman, of Heidi's fame.

He has an outstanding response to an Atlantic piece that decided to criticize foodies for no reason. Page 33. Go see.



Mike Huckabee had a pretty disastrous week last week. Talked about Obama's youth spent in Kenya with his dad. Dissed Natalie Portman for no apparent reason.

Have I mentioned that I have no interest in this guy getting the Republican nomination? I have no interest in this guy getting the Republican nomination.


Caught the movie Cyrus last night. I found it a triumph. Surprised to see Jonah Hill can actually act, rather than just staring into the camera and deadpanning.

Also saw The King's Speech at the Heights Theater. An exquisite pairing. That is now my favorite place to watch a movie.


Wife and I headed to Cafe Lurcat for restaurant week. I had somehow assumed the place was coasting on its prime location. It is not. I'd head back for the sea bass, and that was a mighty fine crab cake. Nice work, all around.


I cannot at all recommend On's Thai Kitchen, the new offshoot of Bangkok Thai Deli. Extremely inconsistent food, ketchupy tasting noodle dishes. It's getting lot's of foodie buzz, and aside from it's pedigree, I can't see why.
Publish Post

I'll stick to Lemongrass, which remains, for my money, the best Thai food in the twin cities.


Let's all just lay off Charlie Sheen, eh? Or at least can it with the dumb jokes on Twitter. Our obsession with drugged up celebrities has become so banal that mocking our obsession with drugged up celebrities has become banal.