pinkmonkeybird

...busting up my brains for the words

Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day

I hope you're having a nice day, however you choose to spend it. It's not just a holiday from work, of course. It's also a day to remember those American soldiers who have fallen in defense of their country. And it's a day to honor those who have served and still live.

Thank you, veterans.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

More thoughts regarding the senate deal

The dust is settling and there seems to be a newfound confidence among conservatives and even among the deal makers that the Democrats have revealed themselves for what they are much quicker than anyone had anticipated they would.

So was the compromise a good deal for Republicans?

The simple answer would be no. But politics are not always simple. In politics it is necessary to exhibit to the public that your party is trying to play fair and above board. In that sense, I think the compromise looks rather Rovian.
I had lunch with a long-time Republican the other day and we discussed the deal. My friend thought it was good because those Republicans who wanted to use the nuclear option were seen by the public to be hard right wing idealogues. That wasn't my take. I should note that my friend doesn't visit the blogosphere and when we discussed talk radio, the first personality who popped out of his mouth was Michael Savage (Not that he listens to Savage. I got the impression he thinks all of talk radio is overtaken with right wing hate mongers). So clearly, he & I are getting our information from different sources. And that's significant, because most American conservatives are like him. Only some 25% of the public gets their information primarily from the blogosphere, as I do.

So let's revisit the chess game. What if the Republicans had stayed firm and executed the nuclear option? There would be a msm uproar that the Republicans had executed a power grab and were attempting to over reach their proper powers. The Republicans would be on the defensive and each judicial nominee they ratified would be met with derision.

Instead, we have an entirely different game. It is a game whereby the Democrats are further displayed for what they are; a minority party that is utilizing dirty tricks and false arguments to obstruct the business of the U.S. Senate and deny the president his constitutional prerogative.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Stupid bumper sticker

I live in the heart of DFL and Green Party territory; Uptown Minneapolis. So I see a lot of leftie bumper stickers on cars. But I never noticed this one before until this week;

IF WE KILL INNOCENT LIVES, THEN WE ARE THE ENEMY.

It's obvious to me that the target of this bumper sticker is the U.S. mission in Iraq. And it's faulty thinking, of course. This is really a pacifist's point of view. No war was ever fought that resulted in no loss of innocent life. So the person who proudly displays this bumper sticker would never have been born in the United States if the Revolutionary War were never fought. Was George Washington the enemy?

Maybe we should look at it like this; Maybe the people who go around with bumper stickers like that are the enemy. Maybe a bumper sticker should be printed that says;

IF WE DISPLAY MINDLESS BUMPER STICKERS, THEN WE ARE THE ENEMY.

Probably not. Who's going to place a bumper sticker on their car that will encourage folks to key their paint job?

Precious pupp

Listening to the NARN this afternoon, there was a wonderful call over the phone. A fellow observed that Senator John McCain reminds him of "that snickering dog on the Huckleberry Hound Cartoon Show". A bit of a snicker could be heard coming from the mics of the bloggers, so I think they liked that characterization of McCain as much as I do. I'm not absolutely sure what snickering dog the caller was referring to. I seem to remember a white dog who walked on two legs and he had a laugh that was a breathy "hhhghhh hghhhhhh hghhhhhh" sound that came from his chest cavity and was motivated by a self-satisfied glee in his own destructiveness. But a little bit of Googling brought me to Precious Pupp. Only trouble is, Precious Pupp was much later than Huckleberry Hound and was on the Atom Ant Show. If I'm not mistaken, I think Precious Pupp had the same laugh as that white dog the caller may have been talking about.

If any readers have The Cartoon Network and might know the answer to the identity of this dog, please leave a Comment or email me. If Precious Pupp is the character I think he is, it seems like he's a good fit for Senator John McCain. I'd like to see people refer to him from this point forward as Senator John "Precious Pupp" McCain, because of his self-important glee in doing damage to Republican Party votes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

The five year mission

Captain James T. Kirk speaks at the opening of Star Trek of a "five year mission to explore new planets...." , etcetera. James Lileks writes that he's on a five year mission to come to terms with leaving Minneapolis and move to Arizona where it's warmer and where you can purchase wine at the grocery store.
And why is James planning this move? Because it's too cold up here for him to be assured of wearing shorts in July. Of course, while he never hints at it, Arizona happens to be a red state without a single "What would Wellstone do?" bumper sticker to be found anywhere...unless it's stuck to the bumper of a car with Minnesota plates on it, of course.

All I know is that I'm coming to the end of a line, somehow. All I know I don't want to die in a place where you can't wear shorts in July. It's 54 degrees here right now, and 95 in Scottsdale. The forecast here: cloudy and 10 degrees below normal into June. The forecast in Arizona: sunny and hot into the 29th century. If I spent my days in an office I might be less peeved, but even so I'd be ground down by the drizzling weekends, the panic that a cold July brings, the sense that winter is ready to slam the hand down again at the earliest possible opportunity.

I know a lot of Minnesotans who talk of warmer climes and complain about Minnesota's long winters and intruding chills. I happen to like the cold weather. Some of us do. I love the crunchy sound beneath my feet when the temperature is 30 below zero. The streets are quiet on cold days, apparently because the cold weather drives people indoors to smoke their crack cocaine. I sort of enjoy the complaints. Complaining of the weather is very much a Minnesotan thing to do. That's because we Minnesotans understand that the world was made for us and us alone. When the weather is perfectly suited to our liking, it is our duty to bitch about it. And bitch and bitch and bitch until things turn around and satisfy us enough to shut the hell up.

I'm on a five year mission, too. It's to come to terms with James Lileks' leaving Minneapolis and moving to a red state. We're fortunate to have a guy like him living here, telling the blogosphere and the newspapers of his take on stuff. Like a lot of people, the Bleat is usually my first read of the day. Aside from the occasional blog bash where James shows up to have coffee with us while we drink alcohol, I would not know he's gone elsewhere, so far as seeing the little guy. But I will miss the intimate stories of his visits to Minneapolis locales such as Southdale and the lakes.

Here's to you, James. Good luck on your five year mission to seek out warm life, to discover a warm planet, to go where no man has not been warmed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Revenge of the frog

I'm afraid the magic is gone. I saw Episode III tonight. The movie wasn't able to suspend my disbelief or suck me in to caring. I felt like I was watching a frog being dissected. We know that there has to be a heart and lungs and liver in there for this frog to have hopped around before it was splayed open with pins in a pan.
Okay. Check. I see how the parts fit together. Had an understanding that the insides would look like this, based upon all the frogs I, II, IV, V & VI. I mean it's not like seeing the insides of this frog holds any fresh guts design.

I still enjoyed it though. Why? Because I enjoy frog guts? No. Because my favorite character is the Emperor. For that reason, Return Of The Jedi is my favorite episode. It was pretty neat to get so much of the Emperor in this installment. There are actually some moments when I'm rooting for the twisted guy. Evil that pure and that nasty, ya gotta respect. Right? Or is that just me?

I must say, though, I feel a sense of relief. Finally, we can put this saga to rest.

Right? Having said that, it was fun while it lasted. I envy little boys and girls who are just now coming into the world. They will grow up with the Star Wars Saga on dvd or whatever whizbang multi-medium comes after. They will quickly assemble the episodes in their proper numerical order and marvel at its scope and imagination. They will be innocent of the self-consciousness of the prequels and merely think of them as the beginning of the saga.

May the frog be with you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More good things happening in iraq

Wait a minute. What? Good things happening in Iraq? I thought there was nothing but more killing and car bombs over there. But Chrenkoff reports that there is another sort of car bomb in Iraq; the explosion of car sales.
If you scroll to the section of good news about the Iraqi stock market, you'll find that it's doing well. As we all know from our own stock market here in the United States, stocks don't do well if there is little confidence in its future. This good trend for the stock market in Iraq has to mean there is a general confidence that the recovery is on track and Iraqi markets are expected to do well and make money in the future.

Somebody should tell the New York Times. Their one sided reporting of all the death and carnage in Iraq isn't good for business and despite their myopic reporting, business is booming.

Compromise in the senate nonsense

The news is out regarding the compromise in the U.S. Senate over the filibuster. As a regular listener of The Hugh Hewitt Show and a regular reader of Power Line and Captain's Quarters, I have spent a lot of time listening to what sounds to me like a very compelling case for the GOP to push very, very hard to use the so called Nuclear Option. Of course, if the Republicans never had the votes, it wouldn't matter how hard they pushed and they still would not succeed in achieving it. But I think they should have tried. Politics is tough stuff sometimes and those who don't have the stomach to wield power that is placed in their hands probably don't deserve to have it in the first place.

My local GOP precinct Chair is a longtime Republican who has long opposed the nuclear option for the very reason that Senator Robert Byrd has warned; "The worm turns." Heeding this advice is seen as the more moderate, sensible solution, as one day the Republican Party will find itself in the minority again and the right to filibuster would not be available when they may want to block Democrat nominees. I think it's a bunch of hooey because I have no doubt the Dems would ruthlessly nuke the Republican Party just as soon as somebody told them where the shiny red button is. That is evidenced by their habits of using hateful invective and disingenuous arguments as a matter of routine. And it's those routines that have gotten them shut out of office by the American electorate. The Judiciary is the last holdout for liberal power. You betcha, they'd nuke the Republicans.

So, we have a blurred mix of this and that, softer outcomes, compromise, bi-partisanship, as well as the resumption of Senate business before us.

What's a grassroots activist to do? Well, he can bitch about it on his blog for one thing. Or he can refuse to donate any more financial contributions to the Republican Party. Or he can assume that a good-faith measure taken by good-faith Republican leadership did not serve to escalate bitter partisanship, further hampering the bitter environment in Washington, D.C.

As I said, I favored using the nuclear option. I think the day will come when it will be obvious that it has to be used to allow the president's nominees to get a vote. But if we look at the problem in a cost/benefit light, what is being fought for? The successful placing of judges on the bench does not guarantee that those judges will decide in any given preference. After all, it was a largely Democrat promoted bench that decided in favor of George W. Bush's winning the 2000 election. What is more important is getting judges placed on the bench who will return to a faithful reading of the United States Constitution and stop trying to legislate.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

European americans

The bit from The Corner below was enough to tip me off to this recent article by Mr. Goldberg. I think Jonah is on to something. And it's why I became a Republican and why I regard the Republican Party to be The American Party while the Democrats are The Internationalist Party. A former friend of mine and anti-Bushie asked me in the wake of 9/11, "Why are people flying the American flag? What does that mean?"

That he had to ask spoke volumes to me. (And by the way, he's not a "former friend" because of his politics. He's a former friend because he is incessantly negative. Hmmmm....maybe there is a connection.)

Meanwhile, I ordered my own Stars & Stripes from W's campaign store online.

Another liberal acquaintance, in a conversation with me, opined that the United Nations has identified the U.S. as being in violation of international law and doesn't that mean the U.S. should heed the U.N.'s directives?

I firmly answered no, pointing out that the U.N. is occupied by thugs and dictators.

I think Jonah's right.

Jonah again

This from the Corner;

From a reader:

Dear Mr. Goldberg:

Your opinion that Americans who vote Democratic are really "Europeans
taking on the form of Americans" is proof that you are a complete idiot.

I guess anyone who doesn't scream in public that they are fervent
patriots, display sufficient symbols of national superiority, demonstrate unquestioning loyalty to a leadership cadre imbued by God with absolute infallibility, and denounce anyone around you with an independent notion of right and wrong as traitors or worse . . . is a "body-snatched zomboid creature" and should be put to death.

That logic makes you an American Nazi. Enjoy your heritage.


Hilarious. Jonah Goldberg is probably doing a greater service for his country as editor of the National Review than he would be as a soldier. Not that he wouldn't make a good soldier. But he's a terrific editor.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Resetting my vcr

As recently as last Sunday I blogged that I was making a point of not watching Meet The Press with Tim Russert. Then this story came out. Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean will make his first major television interview since his election to that post....for the full hour! Russert is expected to confront Dean on his statements that DeLay should go back to Texas and complete his prison sentence and Rick Santorum is a liar. (?) As if those mysterious evidences of behavior are not enough, Russert will ask Dean why he's been so poor at raising money for the party.

This is must watch television and I will be reprogramming my VCR so that I will be sure not to sleep through it. So, was I wrong last week when I stated that Tim Russert is a dinosaur? No, I don't think so. Most of Meet The Press is dull television loaded with "gotcha" questions and a lot of humbuggery and a liberal bias slant. Besides the occasional special guest such as Howard Dean, most any statement uttered on the program would be preferably grabbed from transcripts rather than wasting an hour watching the whole borefest.

I doubt Dean will commit anything quite so show stopping as his famous scream this Sunday. But you never know. He's unpredictable.

Drink

Yesterday evening I was invited by my clients to join them at a Minneapolis warehouse district bar called Drink. The occasion was to toast one of my client's last week with the firm, as he has been hired elsewhere. One of the reasons the guest of honor chose Drink is because he has a taste for fine bourbon and he'd noticed they have Makers Mark on the shelf. When I arrived and joined the table it took the waitress about 5 minutes to notice I was there, greet me and take my order. I didn't think 5 minutes was such a long time to wait, but she apologized just the same. I ordered 2 Makers Marks. One on the rocks for me (yes, I know I'm spoiling fine bourbon with ice, but I prefer a little chill to my bourbon) and one up for the guest of honor. I asked her if they serve their whiskeys with a beer or a water back. She didn't know what a "back" is. When I explained that a back is a short glass of beer or ice water she informed me that they do not have tap beer, so I ordered 2 water backs.
In fairly short order the drinks were served. Mine was appropriately served. But a quick glance down the table evidenced a martini glass with a dark amber fluid waiting for the guest as he was away to the restroom!

"Excuse me, but is that martini glass my Makers Mark for my friend?"

"Yes. You ordered it up, didn't you?"

"Yes, I did."

"Okay. So the bartender shook it with ice and served it in the up glass. Should I change the glass."

At this point some of my neighbors were interested in what was happening. One of them opined, "That glass makes it look like a hoity toity drink. I don't think he'd like to drink out of that."

I explained to the waitress, "An "up" bourbon should be served in a low ball glass. 'Up' is without ice. It's not shaken in ice at all. It's just poured."

To her credit, my waitress cheerfully and quickly asked the bar staff to remedy the situation. The guest of honor's Makers Mark was properly presented in time just before he returned from the mens room. I tipped the waitress a dollar for each drink; an appropriate tip for good service, in my opinion, just the same.

As we enjoyed our drinks and our time together, I noticed that the bar staff had seen the movie, Cocktail, juggling bottles behind the bar with the occasional sound of smashing glass. The waitstaff were exclusively 20-something women who are very attractive, wearing tight-fitting and revealing blouses and short skirts. As I mentioned, the bar staff were Tom Cruise wannabes. It seems to me that the management of a bar business called Drink should train their employees to know some basic things about alcoholic beverages. They should know what a water or beer back is. They should know that a bourbon is served in a low ball glass and a martini is served in a martini glass.

But in a word to the management's defense, the service was entirely friendly and helpful. It's not my kind of place, but then I'm quite a bit older than the clientele Drink is striving to attract. Most of those young people who would choose Drink as their gathering place are there to meet other young singles and order a Mich Lite.

I was there to drink my bourbon, celebrate with my clients, and take notes so I could blog about it next morning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pink Belly Monkey?

Somebody found me by Googling the above title.

Yeah, well maybe so...but I've lost about 20 pounds so far in my diet. So here's my Pink Middle Bird.

Stadium to be forced upon the taxpayers

A serious blow to democracy was dealt to Minnesotans yesterday. Our right to a referendum on the Minnesota Twins stadium was denied so that the powers that be in this county of Hennepin can take our money and use it as welfare for the millionaire ballplayers. As this article in the StarTribune reports;

Meanwhile, a recent Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found strong public opposition to the stadium tax, which is estimated to collect $1.1 billion over 30 years, and stronger support for a referendum.

Anyone who has had a pulse in the Twin Cities for the past, oh six years or so, will be aware that every year they ask us if we want to buy the millionaires their stadium and we keep saying no. Then they come back to us a year later and say, "Well, we know you said no before, but what do you really think?" After all, in their supreme wisdom, they know that we really, really need to suck up to their demands to keep the Twins.

I like baseball, too. In fact, baseball is the only sport I can be interested in. I'm going to the St. Paul Saints home opener this Friday. I love the Saints even though it is inferior baseball. That's because I was driven away by Major League Baseball and offered nowhere else to enjoy the game. In other words, buying a stadium for the Twins won't save the Twins. They're already lost.

It became clear to me that the Twins and MLB didn't give a hang about the fans back in 1994 when they went on strike because the "didn't make enough money." Major League Baseball is profoundly sick and, contrary to deserving a stadium bought and paid for in large part by the taxpayers, should be shut down and revamped.

  • The fans already spend millions of dollars on the Twins. We buy tickets to their games. We buy hot dogs and 3.2 beer at the games. The StarTribune sells newspapers reporting on the games. WCCO-am radio sells advertising for the play-by-play. Television sells advertising. Somehow, this is not enough. They have to force a tax upon us against our wishes to make us pay for a large part of their millionaire stadium.
  • Athletes are far, far over-rated in our society. This worship of athletes is so pervasive they dominate our news. Their images are plastered on posters and TV spots everywhere. All this just because they can throw and catch a ball? Sports are a terrific outlet for society, but enough is enough. Just because they are seen as heroes is no reason I should be forced to buy their stadium.
  • Athletes are bums. Despite this overwhelming adulation for these men, they fail us daily. The historical record of baseball achievements are sullied by the likes of these modern day "heroes" and their usage of steroids. Apparently being larger than life is not enough for these megalomaniacs. They have to take muscle-enhancing drugs to make them even bigger. And when they're not taking drugs, they're cheating on their wives or bullying people, committing crimes. In other words, baseball players are human just like the rest of us. Let them buy their own home just like the rest of us.
Far from favoring a tax on the new stadium, I would favor a four year moratorium on major league pro ball. Baseball is sick with its out of control greed and blackmail of its fan base. In 1994 baseball players showed us that they can and will shut down baseball if they don't get their way. So they started this. The players proved to us fans that the world will not end when baseball ends. So let's practice that as a remedy for baseball. No stadium paid for by the taxpayers. Salary caps. Enforced drug testing. Stadiums bought and paid for by owners and players.

If these steps are taken I know the Twins and Major League Baseball would win me, for one, back to the game. And I believe the fans would love baseball all the more. Game attendance would skyrocket and health would be brought back to the game.

Q: But what would the players do during a four year moratorium?

A: They could go out into the real world like the rest of us and get a job.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A tear

James Lileks has a nerd-alert Bleat today about a fond subject to many of us; Star Trek. Well, of course Lileks has to weigh in on the final episode and the meaning of it all. He wouldn't be the Lileks we know if he did not.
I'm an Original Series snob, so most of what James has to say was meaningless to me. But, hey, I've got no problem with people who opt to be a bigger geek than I am. More power to them. They make me look more reasonable.

Still, I can see why James feels so emotionally attached to the whole ST universe, as he writes this eyebrow-raising vignette;

[The Enterprise] was the archetype; that was what Icarus had in mind. And that was what hung in the Smithsonian that day they opened the Star Trek exhibit. All the cast showed up, except for Bones. I met them all: press tour. On the way out I found myself standing next to James Doohan under the big model of the Enterprise, floating above in the hall. I walked up next to Scotty. We looked up.

"Ah, she's a beautiful thing, isn't it?" he said.

That she was.

Not that such a fantasy-cum-reality necessarily brainwashed James into liking the entire universe of ST. But I can see how it might whet his appetite.

Fascinating.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Jonah Goldberg at the corner

Jonah's got this factoid about the false story from Newsweek that instigated death and riots in Afghanistan.

We know the MSM is stupid. But do thay have to be so stupid as to cause needless violence overseas?

"We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

A little help, please!

Nasty television

If I'm not mistaken, Meet The Press has the highest viewership of all the Sunday morning television news shows. That's why I try to watch it just before Fox News Sunday.
Meet The Press is a very painful show to watch, it is so severely biased toward the liberal Democrat view. On today's roundtable they had Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, David Broder of the Washington Post, Katty Kay of the BBC and Paul Gigot of The Wall Street Journal. All of these pundits are hard left Democrat supporters except for the conservative Paul Gigot. It was a pathetic gangup. Throughout the discussion it was put forward by these pundits that John Bolton is anti-UN and his appointment as U.S. ambassador will increase anti-American sentiment in the world. There was a visceral pleasure in Tony Blair's damage in the last election in the U.K. The battle in the U.S. Senate over the "nuclear option" was painted as a mistake committed by brash, young Republicans and a vicious right-wing media. All of them in chorus against Mr. Gigot's reasoned disagreement.
But I think I may change my habits and switch to At Issue with Tom Hauser. I've considered my viewing of Meet The Press to be an education in what the liberal biased media is spinning in weekly political circles. But I think I've seen enough.

At Issue devotes the greater portion of its time to local politics. With the coming local elections looming, I'd rather spend my precious hour viewing a well-balanced local show than a shamefully biased program like Meet The Press.

The last thing I'd like to say about Meet The Press is this; Seeing and listening to the opening introductory titles and music of Meet The Press tells you all you need to know about the show's arrogance. A brass ensemble blaring a pompous theme that proclaims, "YOU ARE ENRICHED WITH THE SUPREME HONOR OF HAVING BEFORE YOU THE WONDROUS RICHES OF AMERICA'S BEST AND MOST WATCHED NEWS SHOW. WATCH THIS BLESSING FROM NBC AND QUAKE IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT PEOPLE SMARTER THAN YOURSELF ARE TALKING ABOUT THE IMPORTANT ISSUES OF THE DAY".

Goodbye, Tim Russert. You're a dinosaur.

The hiawatha LRT

When I arrived at the convention yesterday morning, I ran into my friend Doug who lives just down the beach from me off of Lake Calhoun. "How did you get here?," he asked, knowing very well that I don't drive.
"I took the train," I replied.

I doubt the organizers of the convention chose to locate this function at the Embassy Suites hotel because it was near the LRT station. Most Republicans, most Americans for that matter, drive cars. But when I decide to go somewhere within the metro, I almost always elect to use mass transit before I think about getting on the phone in search of a ride. And with this hotel being right on the line, it was a no-brainer. I blame that choice on my somewhat stubborn independence.

I may be a Republican (And I don't think I'm a Rhino-Republican), but I like the LRT and I like the smoking ban that allowed me to attend the convention without second-hand tobacco smoke polluting my lungs. In my opinion, some Republicans are overzealous with their independent freedoms agenda. Great cities have great mass transit choices and government legitimately serves the public in health issues.

To deny this a purist Republican would have to oppose such offices as the United States Postal Service.

Buy Dan's book

I recently reviewed Dan Cohen's new book, Anonymous Source. You may have noticed that I've now posted an image of this excellent book in my sidebar. You can click on it to bring you to the publisher's page where you can order your copy. I saw the product this morning at the convention. It's printed in hardcover with a jacket and it's got photos of the personalities involved in this little piece of Twin Cities history. Nice work, Dan.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Congressional districts 4/5 convention

I attended the CD 4/5 Convention this morning as a guest from Senate District 60. Congressional Districts 4 & 5 are encompass the Twin Cities, 4th is St. Paul and 5th is Minneapolis; DFL controlled territory. So this is a group of political fish out of water, so to speak. Since the Republican mascot is the elephant, maybe it would be more appropriate to characterize us as elephants out of the jungle. Yes, and penned in the zoo. You've got to love a bunch of people with this kind of pluck.

My big contribution of the day was turning on the microphone. Since I was a lead singer in a few rock bands, I know that sometimes mics have ON/OFF switches. No one could be heard at the mic until I stood up and flipped it on. I shall be eternally appreciated for that brilliant moment.

Since I live in Uptown Minneapolis, I was in the 5th CD side. But the convention was open and shared by both until business became specific and a wall was erected. The interesting thing for me as an observer is the acute blame the party at this grassroots level accords to the State functionaries. Ron Eibensteiner is State Chairman and he is not appreciated in his role. Blame for disappointing losses last November to the DFL are not shrugged off as a reality of city political life, but are attributed to a disconnected leadership. Mr. Eibensteiner was in attendance, as were his opponents. They all gave speeches during the proceedings, asking for support when that office goes up for election this summer, I believe. Ron has very, very little support at this level and I do not see much chance that he will be reelected as State Chair. From where I sit it looks like the new Chair will be Bill Pulkrabek. He knows which side the toast is buttered on and talked an emphasis on grassroots politics.

Other Republican office holders were there to connect with this grassroots convention; U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kennedy, State Attorney General candidate Jeff Johnson, Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer, State Auditor Pat Anderson.

While Senator Coleman was easily the brightest star at the convention and sparkled in the limelight, the speech that was of key interest to me was made by Brian Sullivan. Apparently Mr. Sullivan no longer holds office, although I hope I'm mistaken about that as he seems to be a formidable asset to the State GOP. He pointed out that he does not understand why Republicans take a scrubbing in the city, as the liberal philosophies that hold the upper hand there have been discredited. Liberal policies on welfare, crime prevention, taxation have all be shown to be ineffective or to be undesirable and yet they are embraced by the voters of the urban setting, keeping the DFL in power here. He then ironically lauded we grassroots activists for our efforts in "a very, very tough job" we have before us of winning conservative Republicans for City offices.

This sort of talk is inspirational to me. It indicates that the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party's seat of power has a soft belly and can be defeated with the right kind of campaign message. Ron Eibensteiner's mistake is conceding the cities to the Democrats and focusing on the outlying red counties of the state. Carlton Crawford was elected today as Chair of the 5th Congressional District Republicans. He and new CD 4/5 officers understand the grassroots power base, as does Bill Pulkrabek. The State House of Representatives and is controlled by the Republican Party. Republican Tim Pawlenty remains a very popular and effective State Governor. If projections are not overly optimistic, the State Senate will soon enjoy a Republican majority, DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch is vulnerable and Mark Kennedy is poised to win the other U.S. Senatorial seat. In other words, Minnesota Republicans have candidates that we are excited and energized about.

Maybe the urban landscape can change to red and win the cities back from the Democrats. That's been difficult to imagine for as long as I know.

Before & after

While surfing the blogosphere this morning I came across this choice post by Chrenkoff.

Be sure to scroll all the way down for "The ultimate makeover".

As President Bush has so accurately said many times, al Qaeda is coming to know the meaning of American justice, one at a time.

Bench memos

The Corner blog over at National Review Online has this temporary blog about the pending battle in the U.S. Senate over the filibuster. The latest indications I am seeing and hearing at Power Line and NRO and The Hugh Hewitt Show are that the Republican Party will have the votes to win. (But as Deacon at Power Line points out, there could be a compromise. If there is, it is important to note that such a compromise would be cast out of the very real power options that the Republicans hold. I think such a one would therefore have to be favorable to Republicans.)

Janice Rogers Brown, if accepted by the Senate, would serve as a judge for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It's easy to see why the Democrats are so rabid in their opposition to her placement on this court, as it's the most runaway, radical court in the country. Bringing a judge of Ms. Brown's competence and adherence to the Constitution of the United States, and away from radical activism, might erode one of the last holdouts of runaway liberalism that the Democrats have left after losing three consecutive election cycles in general elections.

The American public is sick of seeing the business of our nation's government bogged down by petty obstructionism. They want to see business moving forward. I don't think it's asking too much for Janice Rogers Brown to get the benefit of a straightforward vote on her nomination by the president. As I've said before, such obstructionism on the part of the Democrats will bode very badly for them in the next elections. And Democrats threaten to shut down the Senate if the Constitution Option to stop this filibustering is employed. Another big mistake by the Democrats if they commit to this.

The only comparable thing they could do to worsen their scenario would be if they were to choose Howard Dean as chairman of the party.

Oh, that's right.....they already did choose Howard Dean as chairman. Big mistakes on their part are being committed.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

My week was growing a little mundane and I realized that I should see a movie to cheer myself up. I've been going to the gym daily and, while I love getting that exercise, a movie would bring a bit of variety to my week. So, I picked this one.
It's getting a little late. I'm tired and should shuffle off to bed now. But before I do, a few words about this movie.
I never read the book but had heard some favorable comments about it through the years. Notably, one of my sisters said she thought it was hilarious. And so, while I never thought I'd like to read the book, why not take the George Costanza solution and just see the movie?

As we all know, sometimes movies are faithful to books and usually they are not. No matter. I could use a bit of whimsical fantasy tonight. It was reasonably entertaining. Sometimes I thought it seemed to be trying too hard. I laughed once, I think. There were a couple of charming surprises.

One aspect I couldn't get over was actress Zooey Deschanel. She seemed to be the incarnation of a young Cindy Williams! I'm sure I'm not the only person who thinks so.

But I did feel a bit like I was cheated out of a story. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by saying that this is yet another movie that brings the message; Life is a journey. Enjoy it. This movie felt a bit like a Terry Gilliam movie. Time Bandits, perhaps.

Okay. I was looking for light entertainment and I got it. Fair enough

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Firefox is installed

I'd like to call in sick for work tomorrow so I can just stay home and surf the Net with Firefox. It's a beautiful browser. I love the way it interfaces with Blogger. I worked on the post immediately below this post for a couple of hours. Spell-check didn't work, so I apologize if there are some misspellings in there that I haven't bothered to correct. It's quite late.
The fact that my Mac or Firefox or both did not crash and lose my composition after working on it for so long is testiment to me that these are probably rather reliable tools for a blogger to have. I can't tell you how many posts I have lost with my old system. It's enough to make a grown man break down and weep, just thinking about it.

So, like John Kerry, I'm reporting for duty.

Or is that doodie?

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sci-fi hack

I started writing this post a few days ago. Then I ran into some browser problems and had to put it on ice.
But I've successfully installed Firefox this evening and everything looks grand. So back to blogging.

There is an essay that's been getting passed around a bit on the blogosphere this past week that is in need of a thorough fisking because it is offensively wrong on just about every level. I am speaking of this piece by science fiction hack Orson Scott Card. I call myself a sci-fi fan. In the 60s I ravenously read the masters; Heinlein, Clark, Azimov, Bradbury, etcetera. I also took stabs at reading authors who were not recognised as being among the top greats, but who were great just the same, such as Simak, LeGuin, Herbert and the list is practically endless.
When Star Trek came out on network television in 1966 I was enthralled. I have vivid memories of biking home from little league practice, keen on getting planted before the t.v. in time to see this amazing and wondrous sci-fi adventure show.
Now, I was, and remain, a big fan of the show, but I am most certainly no disfunctional nerd of the sort that Card describes in this piece of garbage article. I have never, and have no intention of ever attending a Star Trek convention.

I also have no intention of ever reading anything again by Orson Scott Card. I first heard of Card back in, oh 1998 or so. I'd heard he was a good writer and that one of his best books might be a novel called Ender's Game. This novel was an insufrable read. It's embarrassing, it's so badly written. Somehow, I forced myself to read the entire piece of junk, hoping its ending might redeem the author. It never did and I'd like to have back the 120 minutes or so that I wasted with my nose stuck between this worthless book's pages.

Ok. Now for the fisking; Strange New World: No 'Star Trek'

So they've gone and killed "Star Trek." And it's about time.
They tried it before, remember. The network flushed William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy down into the great septic tank of broadcast waste, from which no traveler…. No, wait, let's get this right: from which rotting ideas and aging actors return with depressing regularity.

So far, Card is on Terra Firma. Yes, they tried to kill Star Trek before. I am strictly an OS guy; Original Series. Those first three seasons of this groundbreaking sci-fi show were golden. And NBC television didn't even know they were golden. But the fans were summoned by Bjo Trimble and a few highly intelligent Trekers who saw the magic of this show and persuaded the network to keep it alive for a third season. But that season saw the show suffer a devastating cut in budget.
Card is right to point out that a good show should have been allowed to stay dead, rather than be resuscitated in the fashion it was. This goes the same for the movies which are all pure tripe.

It was the fans who saved "Star Trek" from oblivion. They just wouldn't let go.


This was in the days before VCRs, and way before DVDs. You couldn't go out and buy the boxed set of all three seasons. When a show was canceled, the only way you could see it again was if some local station picked it up in syndication.

A few stations did just that. And the hungry fans called their friends and they watched it faithfully. They memorized the episodes. I swear I've heard of people who quit their jobs and moved just so they could live in a city that had "Star Trek" running every day.

And then the madness really got underway.

It was this manner of artifical resusitation that imbued the new Star Trek franchises with their putrid and self-conscious rot. The network knew that the fans were loyal and nostalgic. All they had to do was go to one of the many Trek conventions and they could see what William Shatner was talking about in that famous SNL skit in which he told the Trekkies to "Get a life".
This was going to be easy. The show was already sold. All they had to do was wrap it up in gawdy paper with a big pink bow on it and they would lap it up.

So Card and I are pretty much on the same planet so far. He asks a question;

So out of the ashes the series rose again. Here's the question: Why?


Then, attempting to answer it, he takes this dip into an alternative universe that bears very little resemblance to our own;

The original "Star Trek," created by Gene Roddenberry, was, with a few exceptions, bad in every way that a science fiction television show could be bad. Nimoy was the only charismatic actor in the cast and, ironically, he played the only character not allowed to register emotion.

This is where Card should have an agonizer applied to his head. This is the juncture where this Zaon pig should die as an example.
Star Trek was wonderful science fiction. Nothing like it had ever been seen on television before. Gene Roddenberry had done his homework well. He'd studied many different science fiction movies and borrowed some of the best ideas and designs to create a new vision. Any casual viewer would notice that Forbidden Planet was inspirational.
When Roddenberry assigned the job of designing the Enterprise, he eliminated the option of giving the ship a cliche'd appearance. Saucers and cigar shapes were out. His instruction was to "make it look like it's got power". Clearly, Star Trek was a gizmo show. With its communicators, tricorders, phasers, laser cannon and that beautiful ship Star Trek was pure action/science fiction. And the invention of the Transporter seems to be entirely a Star Trek original idea, not found in any other movie or t.v. show prior to it. Roddenberry shrewdly saw the need for a device that would quickly get his characters beamed down to the planet where the action of the story would take place, doing away with cumbersome shuttle craft everytime they needed to get to the surface.
Card doesn't understand the most fundemental chemical component of the show; Spock, Kirk and McCoy were a trio. For this oversight Orson Scott Card should be blasted with phasers set on stun.

Then Card babbles on some drivel about how in the days of Star Trek television shows were frozen and characters did not grow within the program. While that may be true, it is a stylistic design that all television shows observed up until Twin Peaks was made. It entailed what we refer to as The Golden Age of Television. Is Card claiming that The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, I Love Lucy and Gunsmoke were inferior programs? Card should be attacked by a wild Mugatu for even thinking this.

As science fiction, the series was trapped in the 1930s — a throwback to spaceship adventure stories with little regard for science or deeper ideas. It was sci-fi as seen by Hollywood: all spectacle, no substance.

Which was a shame, because science fiction writing was incredibly fertile at the time, with writers like Harlan Ellison and Ursula LeGuin, Robert Silverberg and Larry Niven, Brian W. Aldiss and Michael Moorcock, Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke creating so many different kinds of excellent science fiction that no one reader could keep track of it all.

Little of this seeped into the original "Star Trek." The later spinoffs were much better performed, but the content continued to be stuck in Roddenberry's rut. So why did the Trekkies throw themselves into this poorly imagined, weakly written, badly acted television series with such commitment and dedication? Why did it last so long?

Here's what I think: Most people weren't reading all that brilliant science fiction. Most people weren't reading at all. So when they saw "Star Trek," primitive as it was, it was their first glimpse of science fiction. It was grade school for those who had let the whole science fiction revolution pass them by.

This is the part where Card should be placed into the Transporter and then beamed directly into solid rock. He evidently has never even watched this classic television show. Many, many a Star Trek was written as social commentary in just exactly the manner that Card says it did not. There was an episode in which a planet was overpopulated and people were crammed like sardines in every room. There was an episode that paralleled the Vietnam war and examined that conflict with the objectivity of a science fiction setting. There was an episode in which people became so accustomed to civilizing war that they had allowed its horrors to continue unabated. There was an episode in which two brothers were half white and half black and hated each other because the values were switched on the other. There was an episode in which the people of a planet revered a false god merely because it provided for them.

Now, granted, these themes were not central to Star Trek. It's true that Roddenberry sold the show and conceived of it as a "Wagon Train to the stars". These social commentaries were not shaking the foundations of our society, causing viewers to discuss these hot button topics at the water cooler the next day. We must remember, this was still 1960s television.
But Card is wrong. Star Trek was wonderful science fiction. The t.v. show was blessed to have some of the better writers of the genre weigh in with an episode or two. Harlan Ellison wrote The City On The Edge Of Forever. Theodore Sturgeon wrote Amok Time. Robert Bloch wrote What Are Little Girls Made Of?

Here's what I think; Science fiction fans who had been reading science fiction for years discovered one day that there was finally a great show for them. Star Trek.

Now we finally have first-rate science fiction film and television that are every bit as good as anything going on in print.


Charlie Kaufman created the two finest science fiction films of all time so far: "Being John Malkovich" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof have created "Lost," the finest television science fiction series of all time … so far.

This is the part where Spock performs the Vulcan Mind Meld on Card and discovers that his brain has been stolen. Every hodunk in all of creation knows full well what the greatest science fiction movie ever made is; 2001; A Space Odyssey. (Sorry James Lileks...no, it's not Wrath Of Khan). Charlie Kaufman has my greatest admiration for Being John Malkovich and for Adaptation. I have yet to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Funny, I'd never thought of Being John Malkovich as a science fiction movie, but Card is right about that. It is. And it's a very good science fiction movie. But "the finest"? I'd say that Slaughter-house Five is of the same ilk of the genre and is a better movie.

Lost? I'd heard of this show and have never seen it. I'll check it out and see if this is good science fiction. But I doubt it is. Why do I say that? Because just about everything I see on television these days is utter rubbish. The Simpsons is one of the few exceptions and I'm sorry to say that last Sunday's installment was weak.

Now I have an idea I'd like to share. This comedy program called That 70s Show caused a bit of a stir, no? Well how about this; How about if we don't retire Star Trek just yet. How about if we launch another spin-off with the idea of melding Star Trek and That 60s Show? The program should be remade in the vintage mold, harkening back to 30s Westerns. The budget would be ridiculously meager so as to inspire ingenuity in the artistic department to make the show look good without throwing a lot of money at it. This was one of the charms of Star Trek OS. Such a show might somewhat resemble Gallaxy Quest. It would have thrills, spills, occasional laughs, camp, social commentary.

Now that's a show I'd like to see.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Found forum

After much searching in the many, many Firefox pages I've come across, I have found a forum that might end up helping me install Firefox so that I may resume posting in Blogger with the various buttons in its writer.
I am disappointed in not finding a previously existing post that describes my problem. That would be the easiest scenario, as I would simply be able to follow an existing prescription.
So far, 6 surfers have read my post, but no one has Replied to it.

As is usually the case, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if I learn that the solution is ridiculously simple. But seeing as how I am a newbie to MacIntosh, I have an excuse for stupidity.

I hope I can install Firefox soon so I can get back to blogging. While I can blog using IE, (this post is evidence of that) while I'm at my computer I am working on attempting to solve my Firefox installation problem rather than blogging. Maybe I'm being too much of a perfectionist and should spend some of my time blogging. If so, this post you are reading is a stab in that direction.

Thanks for your patience. Please check back once in awhile to find out where I'm at, won't you?

Mac bugs

I'm sorry to say that I still have not had success installing Firefox browser. Firefox is recommended by Blogger for Mac users.
For some reason, when I download the package, it is known as "download.mozilla.org" rather that "Firefox 1.0.3.dmg".
When I double-click on it, rather than opening, my system tells me that QuickTime is trying to open it, but cannot.
Firefox's user Forum has scant information on any of this.

As C3PO would say, "Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear."

Email me if you think you know how to solve my problem, won't you?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Light blogging

Because I'm using a Mac now, and because Blogger buttons don't show on Mac when using Internet Explorer, I'm trying to load Foxfire. Last night I didn't have any luck with this. But I'm working on a post that I've saved to Draft. As you can see, I am able to post. But without those buttons, I'm not able to embed links (unless I write the code for everything...which I am not familiar with).

I like my Mac, but it will simply take awhile to get used to.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Those whacky campus conservatives

I just got back home with my skin still attached after meeting the U of M campus conservatives after their El Dos de Mayo celebration. Oddly, my Mac doesn't show any buttons to create embedded links, so I am unable to link to Marty Andrade's blog.
Anyways, the festivities involved a good number of fine fellows with conservative credentials at the University. One conduit that I learned about just this evening is a fellow named Orlando. He is some sort of trailblazing conservative on campus even though he'd lost his campaign.
The life of a campus conservative is indeed strange. But I like this group. They made me feel welcome.

Big Republican victories in '06 & '08

A lot of Republicans are hopping mad at their elected officials for what they perceive as a lack of will to exercise their power in overcoming Democratic obstructionism in the Senate. We've been hearing exaltations like, "Republican Senators need to get a spine implant," as they allow Democrats to walk all over them over issues such as the vote for the president's judicial nominees and the vote to ratify John Bolton as ambassador to the UN and the stonewalling of Social Security reform.
But Stanley Kurtz has these observations over at The Corner. Scroll down over four entries. Here's a key segment;

The Democrats are trapped now. Their obstructionism is exposed, and the president stands to gain his rightful political reward when this problem finally gets fixed. I have never seen anything like the swift, massive, and unified Democratic effort to kill the president’s Social Security plan. It put the far more divided and unenthusiastic Republicans to shame. Trouble is, for all that effort, the Democrats have been digging their own political grave.

In their glee, Democrats are hopeful that they're successfully making a lame duck out of W while they energize their base and gain back political momentum for their party. But the opposite is happening. More and more citizens are objectively looking at the charge of "obstructionism", finding it to be true.

I think this will translate into big wins in the next two election cycles.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

I'm a Mac person now

I just made the big jump from IBM computer to MacIntosh. I've had this G4 for longer than I care to admit. When my Hewlett-Packard died today while I was tinkering around with it, that was the motivating factor that got me pushed to connect my Mac. Now it will take several weeks for me to get used to it and to customize everything the way I will want it.
I'm still using the HP monitor, however. Yes, this is the one I accidentally poured water into last week. I wish I could say my screen looks great, but it's still yellowed out. For some reason, the yellow haze went away after about 5 days, only to come back again yesterday. Maybe I've spoiled it.
So what happens to my HP? It's so sick that I expect I'll have to blow away the hard drive and reinstall everything. That's one of the reasons I got a Mac. It's my understanding that Macs don't go corrupt like pcs do. That's because the software is more closely designed for Mac use.
I'm sure I will post a thing or two about my experiences as I learn to use MacIntosh. Sigh. Another radical life adjustment. In the wake of 9/11 I switched from Independent/Democrat to Republican. And now I'm switching from IBM to MacIntosh. What's next, I wonder.