...busting up my brains for the words

Friday, March 31, 2006

Road trip

I'll have to let up on my heavy blogging schedule as I go on a little road trip to Milwaukee. I'm going to check out an art exhibit on tour called Saint Peter and the Vatican: The Legacy of the Popes.
It's actually something I decided to do almost on a whim. I've been cooped up at home for too long. I'm tired of politics. I hardly have any fun at all these days as all I do is work out, trying to lose weight, working on my arm therapy. I'll be going with a group from the church where I've been attending mass this Lent season, the Basilica of St. Mary.
Maybe I'll make a new friend.
Have a great weekend. I'll see you when I get back.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Candlelight vigil

The candlelight vigil in memory of the young man who was shot last week at 31st & Girard was not attended by myself. I had no intention of gathering with the bleeding heart types who think the answer to crime is to feel intensely sad about the senseless murder of a person. I suppose the vigil accomplished some worthy things. It probably raised consciousness of the need for good lighting.
I just wasn't in the mood to be in attendance at this vigil as an observer. I stayed home.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Uptown mood

I'm afraid I don't have much to add to the murder story in my Uptown neighborhood. Other blogs and the msm seem to be bring out quite a bit of information.
Tonight I had to work late. Rather than getting off my bus at the usual stop, I got off one stop early so I could walk through the crime scene. Right away I noticed a FOX-9 television cameraman on the corner of 31st & Hennepin, rolling tape. Then I walked down to Girard and the FOX-9 van was parked on the corner, its antenna raised.
I looked for but did not yet find a marker such as a cross or flowers. But there are posters everywhere announcing a candlelight vigil that will be taking place this coming Saturday, March 25th for the memory of Michael Zebuhr. It will be at 8 pm in front of 3116 Girard Ave., South.

The poster says, "Anyone is welcome."

For interesting details not found in the msm, click on Rambix & Red Star in my blogroll to the right.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Man shot in Uptown

Rambix & the Red Star blog has this chilling report on a man shot in the head just one block from my house!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

SD60 convention

My Senate District convention was held yesterday morning in the beautiful Lyn-Lake neighborhood, or as suburbanites call it, Uptown. I threw my hat into the ring to be elected Delegate for the 5th Congressional District and State of Minnesota conventions. With a little bit of help from a constituent, I won. I consider it an honor.

Since SD60 has no candidates running for any office and since this is a non-presidential election year and since there is no drama in the Republican races this year, by far the most electrifying issue of the day was Martin Sabo's announced intention to retire as Congressman of the 5th Congressional District.

Only two days ago I wrote that a realistic approach will dictate that no one but a liberal Democrat or a Green Party candidate has any hope of getting elected to this seat. But there were inspiring voices heard today at my convention that say I am wrong and pessimistic. Naturally, I want to believe that a Republican can win as Congressman of CD5, so I listened and dared to dream it might come to pass. Deputy Chair of the State Party, Eric Hoplin made no bones about the work involved and implored us to give up "that thing you love to do evenings" in order to work for a Republican victory. I couldn't help but notice that Mr. Hoplin's inspiring words actually caused another "realistic" Republican I know to beam and jump to his feet with applause. Just last Thursday, this "realistic" Republican was heard saying that because the 5th District is rife with social programs, it will always remain in DFL hands.

So I wasn't the only one who was struck with sparkles and dreams, although I'm not sure I have time to give up all my evenings. It seems to me they are already fairly well spent.

James Turnham's name had come up during the course of the convention and he was referred to in very favorable terms. To his great credit, then, when Mr. Turnham appeared in person to meet with us, this was a very powerful showing. Everyone in the room saw James Turnham as possibly being our next congressman. If you look over in my sidebar, you'll see a new addition; James Turnham For Congress. I think it looks a bit weak as of this writing, but I expect it will be improved in time. After all, James is just finding his legs so far and I predict he will find his stride before long.

I got this email from "the soul of the MN GOP", Lyall Schwartzkopf;

Now is the best time in 28 years for
a candidate
to win.
But everyone needs to move quickly.
We have a base in the 5th Dist. of

about 28 - 30 % of the vote.
We need only
another 5 to 10 % of the vote
to win.
The 5th District
is the most liberal dist.
in Minn. Therefore we need a
that can keep much
of the social conservative base
and put in the conservative DFL

and union base. The Fire, Police,
Building Trades and Teamsters
are all up for

grabs when the DFL endorses a very
liberal person for Congress.
It means that our
candidate can not
be a strong Bush backer.
The person must have sound ideas on
Iraq, on the 9 trillion
dollar deficit, on health care and
the environment.
I believe
we can be for peace in the
middle east and a sound
gove[r]nment in Iraq can begin to

stabilize that peace. But,
now is the time to move. Maybe the
candidate we support
has to
be an Independent. That is not all
ba[d]. The most important
vote cast by
a Congress person is
the first vote which is for
the Speaker of the House. How
vote goes, so goes
legislation for the next 2 years.
We need a candidate that
not vote for a Dem. Speaker. I would
prefer a candidate that
will vote for
a GOP Speaker, but I
would settle for a candidate
that would vote for no Speaker.
means the Dems have one less
vote for Speaker. That's what counts.

The most reassuring fact of Mr. Schwartzkopf's
analysis is that,
We have a base in the 5th Dist. of about
28 - 30 % of the vote."

Living in Uptown, it's far too easy for me
to assume it's even lower
than that and then to reason that
any conservative representative would
simply leave the district unrepresented.
I think Lyall is right
when he says that,
"It means that our candidate
can not be a strong Bush backer."

A Republican candidate would attract
little support if he were to support
a "stay the course"
line in Iraq. But Lyall mentions some common
ground issues that could actually
gain some of
the conservative democrats and and the union base.

This is getting interestinger and interestinger.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Huge sucking sound in 5th district

That huge sucking sound coming from the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota was heard as soon as Martin Olav Sabo announced he would not seek reelection to his seat and will retire. It was written long ago in stone that the only ways Sabo would be replaced were if he retired or if he were struck by lightning. But I think that even if he were to fall victim to the latter, they would still use his glowing body as a novelty sign to illuminate Calhoun Square's facade.

I live in the heart of Uptown. This is Sabo Country. Throw a stone in any direction and you'll hit a DFLer for Sabo. (And no, I am not advocating you do so.) As First Ringer explains, the DFL has no reason to fear that the 5th District will fall to anyone else but the Democrats. Many liberal candidates will vie for this coveted seat in the legislature. One of them shall win.

So what can the Republicans possibly gain from this disturbance in The Force? We can only watch and learn and feint and test. This is going to be quite interesting to students of politics.

Mehlman & Ruffini

I just returned home from my weekly gathering at Keegan's Pub for Trivia Night. There was a buzz over a blog event today. Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee Chair and Patrick Ruffini, previously the webmaster of, were in town today and met with bloggers.

Triple A has all the links to today's event.

Mr. Ruffini made an appearance at Keegan's tonight. I didn't get a chance to speak with him, but all the bloggers were agog.

It seems to me that nothing really concrete was accomplished by this meeting, other than the establishment of a rapport. It is a signal that Minnesota and her bloggers are deemed important at a national level by the Republican Party.

Hey, that's cool!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dean johnson in the hot seat

Dean Johnson is in the proverbial hot seat
From the MNGOP Website;

March 16 Press Release Dean Johnson's Credibility Gap Widens

Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement regarding Dean Johnson's serial contradictions. "Dean Johnson's misleading and contradictory statements have produced a credibility gap the size of Lake Superior. "Minnesotans aren't interested in Dean Johnson's self-serving excuses. "It is time for Dean Johnson to stop misleading Minnesotans and blaming others for his own self-inflicted problems. It is time for Dean Johnson to provide a full accounting of his actions and an up-or-down vote on the marriage amendment."

Will Dean "Cottonmouth" Johnson respond, or will he simply continue to blather? We're waiting.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Rich loves stacy"

This winterwonderland snow we were gifted with has got Uptown folks happy and inspired. The miracle of beauty this snow brings is really breathtaking (to use Dr. Evil's favorite exclamation). And you don't have to walk far down the street to see the inspiration the view imbues my neighbors.

At the corner of 34th & Girard someone made "Footprint Art".
Along the sidewalk border is a series of footprint impressions neatly planted, alternate-sized shoes making their angled signature.

At 35th & Dupont a tribute to "Rich & Stacy" has been written in the cold, white tablature.

And everywhere Mother Nature flourishes her ephemeral stamp of beauty. I saw a thousand pictures. And having no camera, I could only tell you about some of them.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Change of scenery

The parent company of the StarTribune newspaper has announced that it is going to purchase the parent company of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In other words, McClatchy Company will be devouring Knight-Ridder, Incorporated. But because there is a law that forbids newspapers from gaining monopolies of media in cities, McClatchy will most likely be forbidden from keeping the St. Paul Pioneer Press. This is of no consequence, as it turns out, because McClachy Company has no intention of keeping the St. Paul paper, as that paper does not fit its growth strategy;

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy's CEO...

is ... counting on paying down acquisition debt quickly by selling The Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Jose Mercury-News and 10 other Knight Ridder newspapers. Those properties don't meet Sacramento-based McClatchy's growth-market criteria or in the case of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, compete directly with McClatchy's Star Tribune in neighboring Minneapolis.

So, we have a much needed situation of musical chairs being played in this two-paper Twin Cities market. I think this is good news. The Pioneer Press is not distinctly differing from the Strib in its editorial profile. The stock holders of the Knight-Ridder company were dissatisfied with the performances of its papers, including the Press. So any future buyer of this St. Paul paper will have pretty definitive evidence that sticking close to the Strib is not a money-making strategy. The obvious choice is to distance its editorial profile from the liberalism of the Strib and thereby offer consumers a real choice in their daily spreadsheet. In other words, we may have a shot at seeing a truly conservative newspaper rising from the corpse of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. That would spur real competition and help to make it and the Strib much better newspapers than they are today.
The deal is expected to take place in three to four months. That means we'll could see a dramatic shift in news reporting in the Twin Cities about three months before Election Day. And Minnesota is already a national battleground state for the U.S. Senate. This change of scenery could pump it up a notch.

Mitch Berg weighs in that he doesn't think this deal will mean much in the long run as newspapers lose market share.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Kennedy st. paddy's bash

Boy, Republicans can drink! And they can generously buy others drinks. I wouldn't be able to write these words if it weren't for the two aspirin I popped during the wee hours last night along with the tall drink of water I washed them down with.
Regular readers will know that I haven't owned a car for about 30 years. I took a taxi home last night from a Nordeast bar where a few of us got away from the O'Gara's Kennedy fundraiser. I suppose you're getting the idea...this post will ramble on all over the map until it crashes senselessly into a tree.

Funny, how I'd feared that I missed out on all the fun because I was late. But I caught up pretty quickly. Having no car, I took the Selby-Lake bus from my Uptown estate, Zazudu. I recall being a bit peeved at myself because I got a late start. The #21 bus ride from Uptown to O'Gara's is a long one...about an hour long. And I've ridden this line countless times. But MetroTransit never sent me the memo telling me that they'd changed the route. It used to run right past O'Gara's, turning the corner at Snelling & Selby. So I stayed on the bus, not remembering precisely where the bar was. Now this bus takes Marshall Avenue to Snelling, which is two blocks away. Another change to this line is that the "21D" (which I was riding) reaches the end of it's line at Pascal Avenue right behind the Midway Shopping Center. And since I didn't know I had already passed O'Gara's, I stupidly waited for the next "A" bus that I thought would take me there. Only by the time my A bus turned left onto Selby and headed for downtown St. Paul, did I realize that O'Gara's had to be behind me. So I pulled the cord and waited for the next westbound #21. And I'm becoming all the more tardy for the Kennedy party of course as I wait.
When I climbed aboard that bus the driver asked me in a friendly voice, "How are ya doin'?"

"I'm lost."

I explained my dilemma to him and he cleared up all the confusion for me, quicklike. MetroTransit changed the route about two years ago because they had such a high traffic accident rate on the corner right in front of O'Gara's Bar. He advised that I get off the bus (debus?) at Hamline & Selby and walk two blocks to the bar.

When I arrived, I didn't waste any time getting a drink at the bar. I ordered a Jim Beam on the rocks and a Leinenkugel. The bartender thought I said two JB's on the rocks and a Leinenkugel. I told him that if he was going to throw the extra poured whiskey away, I'd be willing to take it. He said sure and cheerfully charged me for both and the beer. What could I do? I drank them, that's what.

Because I was late, I entirely missed Elizabeth Dole's appearance. But this was a good time and a good cause. I also met a new candidate for the 5th Congressional District of Minnesota. This seat is currently occupied by Martin O. Sabo, who's held the office since 1978. James Turnham has stepped forward and let it be known that he will be seeking this office as a Republican, though so far as I know, he has not yet formally announced his candidacy. Mr. Turnham assures me that while he does not yet have a website with information of his candidacy, he will be uploading it before very long. When it's available, I'll link to it.

While we're on the subject of CD-5, SD63 blog has this story about another challanger to Sabo's seat.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Intelligent guessing power

As I've said many times in the past, you cannot win Keegan's Trivia unless you are able to make intelligent guesses and win points for things you do not know. I had the opportunity of demonstrating this tonight at our wonderful Thursday night gathering place. My team mates were Kevin of EckerNet and Ben of Hammerswing75 as well as Chris of BuddaPatriot a little late in the game.

One of the questions, if I may quote it as best I can from memory was; "What is the slang name of a flirtatious email in Blackberry?"

No one in our party knew the answer to this. I certainly do not have a Blackberry text messenger. I've heard of them, but have no need for such a thing. I reasoned out loud with my team mates that such a name should probably resemble the word, "flame" in that it is simple and monosyllabic. Perhaps "blurt" would be a good answer because it contains the "bl" of blackberry and the "urt" of flirt. No one argued and this was readily accepted as better than a blank space which would certainly be counted as incorrect.

Blurt was the correct answer. Nevertheless, we only culled 14 points total, I think. In any event, my team mates and I were all amazed that I actually knew something without really knowing it.

Saints be praised.

Patriot act passes in u.s. house

At last, the Patriot Act, the legislation that breaks down the walls of communication between law enforcement agencies in order to protect the nation from international terrorist attacks, has been extended in the House of Representatives. Congressman Mark Kennedy of the 6th District voted "Yea". Further, his campaign for the office of United States Senator points out,

Democrat Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar has refused to say how she would vote on the Patriot Act. While Klobuchar has remained silent, her four Democrat supporters in the Minnesota House delegation all voted to oppose the extension of the Patriot Act. "Since Ms. Klobuchar has been unable to show one area of disagreement with her party, it is very troubling that every Democrat from Minnesota voted against extending this common sense security measure," added Kennedy. "This is exactly the type of mindless partisanship that has no place in the U.S. Senate."

And while we're talking about Mr. Kennedy's campaign for the Senate, be sure to visit the spot in his website concerning this Saturday's Saint Patrick's Party. You can phone in your intent to attend and they'll accept your contribution and put you on the list.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Caucus summary

I convened my local Republican precinct caucus last night. It was my first experience as convener and it went reasonably well. After all, the entire caucus was scripted out for we conveners onto paper. As has been noted across the land, attendance was down since 2004. The obvious reason is that 2004 was a presidential election year. I can't argue with that reasoning. But it strikes me as odd. After all, precinct caucuses are local local as you can get. I was drawn to that 2004 Republican caucus along with about a dozen other (mostly) men in my precinct. While I stayed active in the party these past two years and especially up through the national general election of November, I hardly ever again saw any of the other attendees from that caucus two years ago. So it makes me wonder what they sacrificed one to two hours of their time for that chilly March evening.
For my own part (as I've found myself explaining now and then to folks) I came to realize after George W. Bush was reelected, that if I walked away from political activism then simply because my guy was still in the Oval Office, I would be defeating myself. Once you're smitten with the political bug you know too much to simply walk away. At the same time, some people overwork or overextend themselves and ultimately burn out. The trick is to know your limits and know your capacities and work within them while you grow into the role.

I learned a few things last night. And I was lucky enough to meet an activist contact who is new to my precinct and a sharp cracker. I hope to convene my caucus again in 2008. By then I'll have accumulated yet more knowledge and experience. Last night I had the honor of being elected Precinct Chair as well as Delegate to my BPOU Convention taking place a week from this Saturday.

Coincidentally, I am reading Paul Johnson's A History Of The American People. Currently, I happen to be reading Johnson's account of the creation of the U.S. Constitution. We are very lucky to have this form of government in America. Participation makes the learning all the more potent. *Cue fife and drums*

Lent deprivations

I've been turning to my Roman Catholic faith lately, attending mass and saying my prayers. This Lent Season is a wonderful time for a Roman Catholic gone astray to come back to the church.
I'm a little slow out of the gate, but I've decided today what I will give up for this current Lent season; The Patriot Radio.

While I appreciate and like the various radio programs on The Patriot, I've lately been aware that the advertisements on this station are making me one angry burrito. I don't want to use a harsh word like "hate" when speaking of Lent, but these ads on The Patriot are very disagreeable to my mental wellbeing. It's unhealthy.

I realize that the advertisers and their money are what make it possible for great shows like NARN, Patriot Insider, The Hugh Hewitt Show and others onto the air. But the lion's share of the ads just infuriate me. My favorite ads on this excellent political talk radio station are the Benjamin Franklin ads; "Plumbing-focals, Wally?" I suspect that's because they are just light and silly and vaguely humorous in nature. I wish all the ads on this station could be so inoffensive.

So without much joy, I am not tuning into The Patriot until Lent is over. I need to allow the peace of Creation back into my life.The constant mental barrages over Memowhatever, The Three Point Plan, that "Reality" company and all the other maddening noise that come over the airwaves from advertisers is best forgotten for what's left of the forty days of Lent.

WELCOME, FRATER LIBERTAS READERS; I should also point out that because I appreciate the programming on am1280 The Patriot, I try to patronize their advertisers. Last spring, I hired John Haley #1 Roofer purely because their advertising dollars make the radio shows available to my hungry ears. I am pleased with John Haley's work and would recommend them to anyone in need of a roof. Naturally, I told John that he was getting my business because of their Patriot support.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Tiger installed

I had some false starts and then I was telephone....blackout.

But now things are looking so good, I am in a state of catatonic shock. Prior to my Tiger install, I had OS 10.2 and most of my programs simply wouldn't work. I had no multi-media. I had no local email program. I couldn't get iPhoto or iTunes or anything to work but the Internet.
Now the world has been brought to my very feet and I am reeling.

In good time I should be posting here again. Right now I'm busy working on something and learning how to use Tiger.

Thank you.