Monday, June 30, 2008

If You've Got A Moment

The lovely Mrs grumps is having some surgery later this morning. It is neither unexpected nor unduly risky but I'd appreciate if you could add her to your thoughts this morning.

She's having repaired a complete tear of the rotator cuff (That's the rotor cup if you're from Sauk County.) She's looking at a 6-9 month recovery with little chance chance of regaining her major-league velocity. We've been working with her in hopes of reshaping her as a junk-baller in hopes of giving her four or five more good seasons.

Your CEO Administration At Work

It's not bad enough that Republican leadership is clueless in the WDoJ. Eight years of cronyism and incompetence is coming home to roost in the National Capitol Police as well.

This was the headline in the Washington Post last week.
The U.S. Capitol Police have dismissed about one-quarter
of their latest group of recruits after discovering the individuals had been
hired despite failing criminal background checks, psychological exams and other
employment criteria, officials said yesterday.

The 15 recruits, who were about halfway through a 12-week training
course in Georgia, were recalled to Washington over the weekend and told
yesterday to resign within five days or be fired, according to several

Now, let's just for a minute set aside the question of, "Georgia?" If these people were not qualified why had they been sent to training? What nefarious means had these 15 used to outwit the best and brightest administration ever?
Deputy Chief Matthew Verderosa replaced former human resources director
Jennifer McCarthy earlier this month, and oversaw the proper vetting of the new

Fifteen did not meet the department’s hiring standards. The reasons for
the recruits’ terminations vary, but include juvenile criminal records and minor
traffic offenses, according to a Capitol Police source.Senate Sergeant at Arms
Terrance Gainer, a member of the Capitol Police Board, said the problem was not
that the recruits attempted to hide their pasts.

It was that the human resource department bypassed information that
should have been scrutinized.“There’s nothing the department learned during the
course of its investigation that wasn’t known in the file. What is obvious is
that people in [human resources] didn’t follow the rules,” Gainer said.

"How tough can it be to hire or fire a few recruits?" you say. "Why would it be paramount to make sure that all i's were dotted and t's crossed from the start?"
Berry pointed out that under U.S. law, Capitol Police Chief Philip Morse
cannot hire or terminate any employee without first getting the approval of the
Capitol Police Board, the House Administration Committee and the Senate Rules

There is a subset of politicians who say that government cannot do certain things and then, once they are elected, set out to prove that to be true. We've seen that some parties just can't be trusted to use our common resources well. Don't trust them with your vote again this year please.

It's Good To Have Friends

I always kind of liked Norm Coleman as Mayor of St Paul. He's was a fiscal conservative with progressive tendencies. Political expedience saw him switch sides and the realities of caucus politics have him voting more consistently with GWB than I'd like. Still and all, he's hardly a red-meat true-believer.

That's why it was disappointing to see this story.
Luckily, Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has found a cheap place to crash when
he's working inside the beltway -- renting an apartment from Republican
operative and
"robo-call" expert Jeff Larson. Larson and his wife bought the townhouse on Capitol Hill in March 2007 for $989,900, according to National
Journal.Coleman pays just $600 a month for a one-bedroom place in a Capitol
Hill townhouse.

That's remarkably cheap for the neighborhood, and a fraction of the
$1,780 monthly rent Coleman paid on the Washington apartment he left in June
2007, according to a
report this week from the National Journal.

Lobbyists and Congressmen are like sharks and remoras without the clear distinction between predator and parasite.
Larson's St. Paul-based company, FLS Connect, is a critical component of
Coleman's political operation. The firm, which has raised money and hustled up
voters for Coleman, has been paid about $1.6 million since mid-2001 by Coleman's
Northstar Leadership political action committee and two Senate campaigns,
according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Larson serves
as the PAC's treasurer and provides it with office space in St. Paul; Coleman's
Senate campaign stopped renting space from Larson last year.

It looks like business as usual for another former maverick. Why does Coleman's relationship with Larson leave the taste of copper in my mouth?
FLS Connect is a go-to shop for the Republicans nationwide for fund raising and providing "robo-calls." In fact, the firm was targeted by the attorney general in Indiana for violating that state's automated call laws. The firm is also linked
to The DCI Group
, a lobbying firm that came under scrutiny for its work in
and its ties to the John McCain campaign. They're known for "Astroturf" organizing as well as robo-calls.

And, sadly, there's no reason to think that Norm might disapprove of Larson's activities.
Larson will get no argument on that score from his wife, Dorene Kainz, who
went to work for the senator in September 2005 handling requests from Coleman's constituents in his St. Paul office. Senate records show that she has been paid
$101,218 through March 31.

Business as usual. Norm saw the opportunities that were being provided to Republicans in Washington and grabbed the brass ring. I'll bet he couldn't find many places for rent for $600 a month in his home district.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just Law-Abiding Citizens With Tools

WDSU has the best headline for this story.
Brother Brings Gun To Machete Fight

How did the Brothers Dennis make the news last week?
Police said Evan Dennis and his brother Wayne Dennis got into an argument
over an inherited house. During the argument on Monday, police said Evan shot at
Wayne then Wayne hit his brother in the head with a machete.

Some people have problem-solving skills. Some people have problem-creating skills and a gun.

There's been a lot of silly reaction on both sides to the Heller case last week. Blood will not flow in the streets of DC because of the repeal of the handgun ban and more regulation will follow as the Autumn follows Summer. But the silliest reaction of all comes from those who say that 'Mericans have to be armed to protect us from the gummint.

When the Founding Fathers told us to beware the tyranny of government they had first-hand knowledge of tyrants, monarchs and despots. These two-bit tinhorns whose paranoia makes them believe that the enemy is in their democracy don't see where the threats lie.

Mold Follows Flood- What Can You Do?

From Senator Erpenbach's e-newsletter

Mold Cleanup Serious Concern

Even if you only had slight water damage in your home, please make sure that cleanup is completed and that all affected areas are dry and sanitized or you may be facing mold issues in your home. Water-damaged rooms are moist environments ideal for mold to flourish. People with respiratory problems such as allergies or asthma should not spend time in houses that might contain mold.

Mold often is visible as a fuzzy growth or discoloration on surfaces. It usually has a musty, earthy odor. Those sensitive to mold spores may experience wheezing, difficulty breathing, nasal and sinus congestion, burning and watering eyes, dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or skin irritation. For more information on clean up visit this website:

Specialists offer the following suggestions to ensure safe, effective cleanup:

• Have professionals check heating/cooling ducts and wall insulation for mold growth. If the system has mold inside, it will spread mold throughout the house.

• Wash all items that came in contact with floodwaters with a chlorine bleach solution.

• Open windows for ventilation and wear boots, rubber gloves and clothing that fully covers arms and legs, and use an N-95 rated mask.

• Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners.

• Mix no more than one cup of bleach in one gallon of water.

• Most antiseptics, including chlorine, are toxic to humans -- rinse the skin quickly and well if there is accidental contact with the solution.

• Remember, chlorine bleach is no longer is effective after the chlorine smell disappears.

• Use a fan in front of open windows or doors to help with the drying process, but it is important that fans blow outward, rather than inward, to avoid spreading the mold.

• Throw away all moldy items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned. If in doubt, throw it out. This includes carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture, stuffed animals, pillows, wall coverings and all paper products.

• Take out any drywall or insulation that has been dampened by floodwater.

• If there is more than a 10-square-foot area of mold in a building, consider using a professional mold cleanup contractor.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Flood Damage Reminder

From Senator Erpenbach's Newsletter comes this reminder.

Wisconsin Emergency Management

Many parts of Wisconsin are still reeling from recent flooding. While many highways are open, local roads still may have closures. With Dane, Rock, and Green County among the counties eligible for FEMA relief, residents and businesses should have already made initial contact with FEMA representatives.

If you have not made initial contact with FEMA please do so as soon as possible.

CALL: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

For complete information on the flood of 2008 visit the Wisconsin Department of Emergency website at .

Friday, June 27, 2008

What's The "Difference?"

Let's fisk this from Rep Ryan, shall we? The quote is from a State Journal interview.
"I think, Keep your options open, ' " Ryan said in a recent interview. "I
don 't want to be in politics my whole life. I want to be there long enough to
make a difference. "

Paul Ryan has been in Washington for 5 terms, three of them with a Republican President and Congress. Why didn't he make a difference from a position of strength?

Paul Ryan has been a rubber stamp for GWB for 8 years and he's hoping you forget it. He and Flyin' Jim Sensenbrenner have been consistent voices for the war in Iraq, for our dwindling civil rights and for trashing our economy for the benefit of the very richest among us.

"Keep your options open," he says. "I don't want to be in politics my whole life," he adds with an implied, "Aww, shucks." That just means he's looking for that one place to cash in the markers he's been collecting while he's been in Washington. It's easy to get rich as a Congressman but the serious money comes afterward, cashing in on consultancies and lobbying work.

Long enough to make a difference, Paul? Oh you've done that. I hope it doesn't take too long to get it undone and get America back on track. My granddaughter is already three. I'd like to see it rebound for her.

The Twin Cities Lose A Gem

I'm sorry to see this company close. They will leave a large void in the Arts in Minneapolis. From the newsletter of Theater de la Jeune Lune:
A Statement from the Artistic Director

In 1978 Barbra Berlovitz, Vincent Gracieux, and Dominique Serrand began
an adventure called Theatre de la Jeune Lune. They were soon joined by Robert
Rosen and eventually Steve Epp and innumerable other collaborators. Over the
past 30 years we have created nearly 100 productions, performed for hundreds of
thousands of people in cities across the United States and in France, but
primarily and most importantly in Minneapolis. For the first 14 years we were
itinerant, making the most of any venue we found ourselves in. Then in 1992,
with an amazing groundswell of support, we purchased and renovated the Allied
Van Lines building in the Minneapolis warehouse district. We excavated the
interior of this historic building to create a stunningly innovative and award
winning performance space, opening our new artistic home to the public on
November 18th of that year.

Sixteen years later we are faced with an excruciating decision. With
the organization burdened by mounting and unmanageable debt, the Board of
Directors has voted to put Jeune Lune's home up for sale. After much soul
searching and extensive fundraising and debt management efforts, we have
determined it to be the only prudent and fiscally responsible choice. What has
been acclaimed, as one of the most striking and unique theatre spaces in the
country will go dark. It is a huge loss, a loss for us, for all of the artists
who work with us, for our audience and for the community at large, both locally
and nationally.

And with the building, we have decided that the time has come to bid
adieu to the theatre ensemble we have all known as Jeune Lune.

Things That Make You Go, "Huh?"

In the gift shop at Louis Armstrong Airport you can buy a 5" long pewter Tabasco-logo letter opener. I'm trying to cut a TGIFriday steak with a plastic knife but have a metal fork.


There was a smattering of FEMA types on my flight into Madison, presumably on their way to Janesville or Delton or...One of them is dressed as if he's never seen what high water leaves behind. If my property is flooded the last person I want in my driveway is a 15 year-old wearing flip-flops.


Overheard in The Quarter: "Yes we lived right on Bourbon Street." "Well, okay. But you weren't right ON Bourbon Street, right?"


Out of the mouth of a bartender who should, we hope, know better: "Yeah, If you're looking for an import, that Dos Equis is the best Japanese beer we have."


Deep in the heart of the Lower Ninth Ward is Flood Street. It's pretty well wiped clean, too.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

I had a brush with celebrity last week on the Traain at DFW. Guess which one of these celebrities I saw.

Well. That Explains That

Didja ever get the feeling that you weren't getting the straight skinny about why your flight was cancelled and then delayed and the re-gated...four times? This may explain some of my troubles at DFW last week.
The back end of a Midwest airplane was struck by a service truck on the
runway at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Steel Of Freedom Does Not Stain

Let America Be America Again

By Langston Hughes
Originally published in Esquire 1938

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold!
Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--

And make America again!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Legislating Decorum And Morality Is Tougher Than It Looks

Less than a month after publishing a ban on bikinis, Kanab's City
Council is poised to modify the rule to permit the popular two-piece swimsuits
and Speedos at the city's soon-to-open public pool.

City Councilwoman Nina Laycook said Tuesday the bikini-Speedo
prohibition was unintentional and will be revised probably at their June 24
meeting to line up with other public pools in Utah.

[Informationally, the city's pool is called the Cowboy Water'n Hole] Laycook added:
"My recommendation is going to be no thongs or string bikinis," Laycook
said. The councilwoman said the original dress code - cribbed
from the southern Utah city's parks and recreation policy manual - was an

"We were so engrossed with safety and health issues we overlooked the
wording [about swimming attire]," she said. "We are addressing that now by
amending the policy."

Pause for a moment to consider the safety and health issues in which they may have been engrossed, as the good councilwoman says. Upon which bits did the discussion dwell? Was there a motion? Did a point of order pop up whilst considering the health and safety issues?
The rule also made headlines across the state and nation - attention Kanab
hasn't seen since 2006, when it adopted the so-called "natural-family
resolution" with its call for breadwinning husbands and homemaking wives to rear
a "full quiver of children."

Apparently the City Council of Kanab spends a larger share of their time on health and safety issues than one might have expected.

There's more but you can read for yourself. Go. Have fun.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Opinion

On whether John McCain represents his values: "I don't think so at all. I
would say he does not support limited government values and conservatives
deserve to hear the other side of the story."

Who said it?

Rep. Ron Paul on his own mini-convention that will coincide with the
Republican convention in Minnesota: "We're not going to parade, we're not going
to disrupt them. We're going to celebrate our values."

Ron Paul representing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quick Thought

I like Enya's music as well as anyone, I suppose. But that ethereal, angelic stuff doesn't really serve to calm me down as pre-flight music after the third cancellation.

Just That Easy

Gary Larson, of course

I Will Veto Every Single Beer

Yes, I know it was a slip of the tongue, one of several in the clip, but it's still funny.

All the more reason to cast your vote for Senator Obama.

That's the problem with posting days ahead and leaving them to publish themselves. This is ground that Jay's already walked. So be it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

That's Funny. It Works On TV

A woman who attempted to escape from jail in Sydney had to be
rescued by police after she became stuck in an air conditioning duct, police
said on Thursday.

The 22-year-old woman had just been refused bail by a Sydney
court when she attempted the escape, but then spent about an hour stuck in the
air vent before she was rescued.

It's only a movie people. It's only a movie. Don't try this in real life. OK? OK

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Top 14 Ways To Tell You Live In Ron Paulville

The note on the piece says:

Supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paulare starting their very own
cities "containing100% Ron Paul supporters and/or people thatlive by the ideals
of freedom and liberty."The first such Ronburgh is located in West Texas.

Yes, f'reals.

14) The local Paul-Mart sells nothing but guns, knives, batteries and tinfoil hats.

13) Since they don't expressly involve the "pursuit of happiness," funerals are banned.

...and a local favorite

2) "City Hall" is just a guy in a tent with a spiral notebook.

Go read the rest at

What Does $87 A Year Buy For You

In April, leaders of West Baraboo, a Wisconsin village of 1,200,
debated whether to purchase terrorism coverage.

"If terrorists got this far into the country, there would not be anyone
to make the claim anyway
," said village clerk Mary Klingenmeyer. But the village board voted 5-2 to pay $87 annually for the coverage.

There are a lot of Klingenmeyers in the area around Baraboo. Pretty much every one of them will tell you what's on their mind.

JBvH had better get going on finding those Wisconsin terrorists so the hard working people of West Baraboo can stop spending their hard-earned 7 and a quarter cents a year to protect their water supply from the Iraqis. Maybe those Wisconsin terrorists have learned how to start floods. Somebody should ask JB.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

One down and a rat's nest to go.
This court has held that obstruction of justice and perjury are crimes of
moral turpitude. Since respondent was convicted of each of these offenses, as
the Board concluded, disbarment is mandatory under D.C. Code

Not Much. What's Sharia With You?

Well, there you go. All the right wing wackos turned out to be one hundred percent correct. Sharia Law is creeping into American courts. Our handling of the situation in the Middle East has opened the door to the elevator shaft for the American Way Of Life and has set a banana peel in the hallway.

A defendant has, for the first time, asked an American court to allow Sharia Law to take precedence in a lawsuit based on the fact that the incident in question took place in Afghanistan and
“is governed by the law of Afghanistan,” Presidential Airways argued in a
Florida federal court. “Afghan law is largely religion-based and evidences a
strong concern for ensuring moral responsibility, and deterring violations of
obligations within its borders.”

Presidential Airlines is seeking to be judged under Afghan law which:
does not hold a company responsible for the actions of employees performed
within the course of their work.

Presidential Airlines, the company seeking to dodge responsibility to the widows of the three US men killed in the crash is a sister company of Blackwater. Now we've managed to outsource justice. How "forward thinking" is that?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Just For Clarity's Sake

Our favorite Ol' Broad thinks it looks like this.

But we know it looks like this.

So, How Do You Define Prominent

The McCampaign has released a list of "Prominent Democrats and Independents" who now support him for Pres. This is a plan to make it easier for former supporters of Senator Clinton to step up for McCain, who once toyed with the idea of becoming a Democrat himself.

But the staff at TPM have found that "prominent" may not mean to the McCampaign what it does to the rest of us. They've parsed the list and found a handful of wannbees and not-reallys to fill out a roster. Here's a quick look at a couple.

• Former state Rep. Steve Wenzel of Minnesota. It turns out that he has also had a long history of friendliness to Republicans. In late 2002 he served on the transition team of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who's apparently on McCain's Veep short list. And Wenzel is actually a Bush Administration appointee in the Department of Agriculture, a position he was given back in 2001.

• Clyde Hawes, a county-level official in Missouri. A nominal Democrat, Hawes has been a longtime supporter of the local GOP Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and her late husband Bill Emerson, who held the seat before she did. In 1996, he bluntly told the St. Louis Dispatch, "I'm for anyone who's conservative" -- not exactly the words of a conventional Democrat.

• Bill Veroneau, former mayor of Concord, New Hampshire. The mayor's office there is non-partisan, and Veroneau himself originally endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president. Shortly before the primary, he wrote a letter to the editor at the Concord Monitor that started off with this sentence: "Gov. Romney is a good man who is thoroughly honest and transparent about his views and beliefs."

But I think that our favorite is destined to be "Icky" Frye, the most civic-minded man in America, who ran for office just to be a bother to the man who'd given him horns.
Sounds pretty impressive. But it turns out that Frye's credential as a
Democrat is limited to ... well, Frye's wife made a cuckold of him by sleeping
with then West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise (D). In revenge, the humiliated Frye
decided to challenge Wise in the Democratic primary for governor -- which, I'll
have to say is one of the more creative and civically-minded ways I've heard of
to get back at the guy who slept with your wife. Wise decided that things were
getting a little out of hand and without precisely admitting to the affair
decided not to run again. At this point Frye seems to have lost interest in the
job and ended up garnering less than one half a percent of the vote.

The Charleston Gazette tells us that Frye is waiting for the phone to ring now that he's taken the national stage once more.
"Right now, we are waiting to be told what to do for Democrats For McCain.
We will sit back and see how that goes."

I'm betting that Icky gets a job in Internal Affairs. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Because Of Some Other Things"

What "other things?" Oh, just a Billion dollars in undocumented invoices.

The CEO Administration at work in the field.
Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the
multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war.
Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job
in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating
financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi

Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or
records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off
on the payments to the company. “They had a gigantic amount of costs they
couldn’t justify,” he said in an interview. “Ultimately, the money that was
going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn’t going to
do that.”

But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors — after
taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR’s claims
— approved most of the payments he had tried to block.

But the Army says they had to pay the baksheesh.
“You have to understand the circumstances at the time,” said Jeffrey P.
Parsons, executive director of the Army Contracting Command. “We could not let
operational support suffer because of some other things.”
And besides, it was just a billion dollars. Move along. Nothing to see here

Ashamed Of Myself

Deep inside there's a 12 year-old who wonders what the headline would have been if the Yankee's pitcher's name was Foot and he'd injured his...

I apologise. I truly apologise.

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Pancakes Are Going To Be Cheaper In My House"

The Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival turned political over the weekend, which probably isn't surprising. Anytime you get 80,000 people together someone is going to try to deliver a message.

Acts as widely diverse as BB King and Sigur Ros, Death Cab For Cutie and Robert Plant with Allison Krauss played the festival south of Nashville over the weekend and many of the acts had a political twist to the tunage. But the lines that I'll share come from Chris Rock: Rock said that Barack Obama has a name so black-sounding that he could be "the bass player for the Commodores."

The comedian wondered how gas prices could be so high considering the Iraq war: "Let me tell you something. If I invade IHOP, pancakes are going to be cheaper in my house."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Dutchman -1972

Long ago I used to be a young man
Dear Margaret remembers that for me.
-Steve Goodman, singing the song by Michael Smith

Friday, June 13, 2008

On The Fragility Of Life

Tim Russert died this afternoon. May he rest in peace.

Well, Dang!

When I tuned in the lead was 18 points so I just kept moving on. Maybe there was a game in the series worth watching.

Firmly Grounded In WTF

He's not just a Governor. He's an exorcist and faith-healer, too.

Some people want him to be your Vice President. Wow!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Just For The Record

I don't believe that these numbers are any more accurate than these.

I'd like them to be but I don't see how.

What Did The General Say?

"I know he's trying to get traction by seeking to play to what he
thinks is his strong suit of national security," [General Wesley] Clark said of
McCain while speaking from his office in Little Rock, Arkansas. "The truth is
that, in national security terms, he's largely
and untried
. He's never been responsible for policy formulation.
He's never had leadership in a crisis, or in anything larger than his own
element on an aircraft carrier or [in managing] his own congressional staff.
It's not clear that this is going to be the strong suit that he thinks it

Resume aside, though, Clark also took issue with the Arizona
Republican's instincts on national security. "McCain's weakness is that he's
always been for the use of force, force and more force. In my experience, the
only time to use force is as a last resort. ... When he talks about throwing
Russia out of the G8 and makes ditties about bombing Iran, he betrays a
disrespect for the office of the presidency."

McCain is running an ad in Wisconsin this week saying that, "Only a fool or a fraud talks about war tough or romantically." Which is the Senator?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Do The Math

16500 divided by 125 is 132 each, man and woman, for 3 months. That's 122 days so call it 1.09 per day, in half because you don't use two, is 2.18 per day for 12 solid weeks.

I'm thinking that there has to be one guy that's wrecking the curve for all the rest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Well, let's move ahead on the crush plant and be happy with what we get.
The board of directors planning to build a biodiesel plant in
Evansville has voted to end the project, according to a
letter from chairman
John Sheehy.

North Prairie Productions halted construction in November on the
biodiesel project on the city’s east side because of “rapidly rising commodity
prices and the decision by a key lender to withdraw from its loan commitment,”
Sheehy wrote.

Commodity price increases continue “to outstrip the ability to
produce and market biodiesel fuel at a profit,” he wrote.

Make sure you check out the comments. Evansvillehousewife takes a fellow to the woodshed. Metaphorically, of course.

Who Is This Woman? Answered

Who is that woman, I asked? She's in a better position to tell us about John McCain's Family Values than anyone.
McCain likes to illustrate his moral fibre by referring to his five
years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to
family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his
beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the
Senator’s presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about,
despite being mother to McCain’s three eldest children.

And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather
than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady. She is McCain’s first wife,
Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965.

She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration
and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the woman who
faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of
publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been
disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on
icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm
were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.
When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeonshad been forced to cut
away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure.
She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John
McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little
resemblance to her old self. Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still
walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of
silent suffering.

For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about
the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the bungalow where she
now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside resort 200 miles south of
Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday how McCain divorced her in 1980 and
married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune,
just one month later.

This Was The Janesville Gazette Editorial That Ran 6/1/08

Tax drop is good news, but let’s not go too far

Scott W. Angus is editor of The Janesville Gazette and vice president of news for Bliss Communications. His e-mail is

I have no use for cold weather. I don’t ski, sled or snowshoe. The only things I do with snow are shovel it, drive through it and complain about it.

So why have I lived in Wisconsin for all of my 51 years? Why do I tolerate below zero temperatures for months on end and snow piled higher than my mailbox from New Year’s to Valentine’s Day? Why don’t I move south where the breezes are balmy and the winters are warm?

Because I love this state. I’m proud to say I’m from this state. I like what this state stands for and how it cares for itself and its people. Not everyone who lives here appreciates Wisconsin as I do. Many people complain about it constantly, and their consternation often focuses on the state’s relatively high taxes. But I believe you get what you pay for, and in Wisconsin, we pay for and receive quality services.

Our roads, our schools, our social programs and nearly all other government services range from good to outstanding. And now, we’re apparently closer to having the best of both worlds. As reported last week, Wisconsin has dropped out of the top 10 highest-taxed states for the first time since 1980. We’re 11th. Researchers found that Wisconsin residents paid $22.3 billion in state and local taxes in 2006—the last year for which numbers are available. That represents 12.3 percent of personal income. The percent is up slightly, but several states passed us by as they raised taxes to keep up with runaway expenses.

The complainers love to cite the problems with Wisconsin, and we have them. But they are the exceptions, and people who don’t understand that need a little perspective. Travel a bit, and check out the roads in other states. Wisconsin’s are generally good from Ashland to Beloit and La Crosse to Green Bay, whether they are Interstates, highways or county roads.

When it comes to education, Wisconsin’s university system is the envy of most states, and it is a bargain. Our technical colleges are strong, and our K-12 schools produce some of the nation’s best graduates. Our students consistently rank at the top or near the top in the country in ACT scores.

Wisconsin is home to the Progressive Party of Fighting Bob La Follette, and that spirit lives in the programs that provide health care and other benefits to those in need. The safety nets aren’t all what they once were because of welfare reform and other changes, but the state still shows an admirable level of compassion that’s missing in many places.

It’s also important to note that Wisconsin’s fees are low. That pushes taxes higher and makes straight state-to-state comparisons difficult.

I’m pleased that Wisconsin’s high-tax rank has dropped. It gives the complainers less to complain about, and it shows that efforts by state and local officials to control costs are having an impact. Business interests have said for years that our status as a “tax hell” hurts our economic development efforts. This should help.

I’m also a bit concerned. I can live with 11th, but I can’t say that I want Wisconsin to drop much more. If we dip to the 20s, then we’ll be average in rank and probably in the services we provide. I don’t want to live in an average state.

I’ve always lived in a special state, and I hope to grow old in one, too.

And, This Was My Letter To Scott Angus

To the Editor

I wholeheartedly agree with Scott Angus’ editorial on Sunday. Wisconsin gets a bad rap as a high-tax state because of the tax/fee balance in our budgets. Wisconsin also benefits from a higher level of services than some other states.

It would be nice if those whose business it is to promote Wisconsin and Janesville were spreading the message as well. For years Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the erstwhile Chamber of Commerce for the state has been bad-mouthing Wisconsin as a tax hell and beating the drum for lower taxes, mostly for its own members. John Beckford, the President of Forward Janesville and Sidney Bliss of Bliss Communications each sit on the board of WMC and presumably have some say in the message the organization propagates. Perhaps Scott should send them each a copy of Sunday’s paper with his editorial underlined.

Best regards,
Jim Brooks


This is awfully close to home ground for me. My heart is with the families and with the area.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Who Is This Woman?

And why is she important to the future of the Free World?

Where's An Activist Judge When You Need One?

Let's hope someone can see that this is unconstitutional as well as being a bad idea.

Questionable Motivation For An Objectionable Act

If this is true it's unspeakably ignorant on so many levels. This is what happens when you let your fear of things you don't understand control your life.

Stop being stupid, people! Stop it!


Do you think that Noah would be building an ark or a casino riverboat after the past three days of rain?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Thoughts On The Belmont Stakes

Destiny ain't what it used to be.

Big Brown's trainer probably shouldn't have been talking smack for the last week. Once he said that the field was in its final throes we knew that something would go badly wrong.

I was surprised to see advertising on the jockey's silks. A UPS logo on Kent Desormeaux's pants and on the outriders jacket was jarring. Surprisingly, Alan Garcia, riding 38-1 longshot Da' Tara, carried the sponsorship of Alpo.

A $1 Superfecta ticket with Da' Tara, Tale of Ekati, and Anak Nakal over Ready's Echo paid $24,138.50. That means that somebody's crazy cousin who only plays hunch bets went home richer than all of the touts who laid big money on the 1-4 favorite. That's why "gambling" and "work" are different words.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

An Axiom

from George Will
An axiom. When voters watch a presumptive presidential nominee considering
this or that running mate, they think: What if the president dies? When the
presumptive nominee considers this or that running mate, he thinks: What if I

Friday, June 06, 2008

Hull Number 301- 50th Anniversary This Weekend

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon on June 7th, 1958, as more than 10,000 people lined the banks of the Detroit River. They had come to witness the launching of Hull 301 at the Great Lakes Engineering Works of River Rouge, Michigan. Mrs. Edmund Fitzgerald, wife of the president of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company for which the ship was named, christened the brand new ship and at 12:38 p.m. the 729 ft. “Edmund Fitzgerald” slid gracefully into the basin amid cheers, salutes, and well wishers.

For many of those in attendance, it was a spectacle that they would never forget.

The shipyard workers who constructed “Big Fitz” felt a deep sense of satisfaction as they anxiously watched the launch of this marvelous vessel. Being a prideful lot, they often endured long hours and harsh conditions. This was their “crowning achievement” and the beauty of their craftsmanship was truly evident to all those present.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of that memorable event. It is an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate a joyous time in our lives. It is also a chance to recall the great pride and cherished memories experienced by the ship workers, the community, and all who had the opportunity to witness the launching of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

On this historic occasion, let us joyously share our personal stories, renew old friendships, and fondly remember the day when the “Queen Of The Lakes” was born.

June 7, 2008 Detroit MI

A Thought On The NBA Playoffs

Beyond the fact that the NBA playoffs drag on longer than a Druid wedding, watching the Celtics and the Lakers play for the title is like watching a battle between the Huns and the Ostrogoths.

You wind up wishing there was a way for both teams to lose by an embarrassing margin.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Seaport Security Still Not Adequate

The Department of Homeland Security should have a single job. That should be the security of America and its borders. Under the current administration it is not doing its job very well.
A recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office
(GAO) stated that despite the introduction of new inspection and security
procedures, U.S. seaports are still vulnerable to terrorist
According to GAO spokesman, Chuck Young, the director of homeland
security and justice discovered that some of the “human factor” problems keep
the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) at a standstill. Young told LM (Logistics Management) that another report had been written two years ago with similar findings.

One would think that the CEO Administration would know how to run a government agency like a business in a results-oriented manner. One would be incorrect. What is the simple disconnect in the methodology?
“Although Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has developed performance
measures for facilitating the flow of commerce, it has not developed performance
measures to assess the effectiveness of C-TPAT’s efforts to improve supply chain
security,” stated the report.
In the nearly seven years since the attacks of 9/11 DHS has not been able to figure out how to tell if companies are in compliance with efforts to improve security. "Why is that?" You might ask. "Why can't they sort out the results? What is so complex that the answers to the questions are inscrutably opaque?"

“The usefulness of the instrument is limited due to its default ‘no’
responses,” the report stated. “Specifically, if a response is marked ‘no,’ it
is unclear whether a security specialist, who has the discretion to answer or
not answer individual questions, intentionally answered the question or if the
response was an automatic default.”

This factor, said the report, limits the ability of CBP to validate security practices at member companies.

In seven years they haven't been able, despite spending trillions of dollars of our money on security, to put a third column on the spreadsheet that says, "Not yet."

In two years since the last report DHS has not changed a friggin' thing about the way they make us safer. In the meantime we've all been putting our Pepto-Bismol into three ounce bottles and taking off our shoes.

My hope is that when my granddaughter writes the history of the first decade of the 21st Century that she's able to do it with humor, showing us for the fools we are to follow a madman blindly, and not with the derision we deserve for putting our lives and livelihoods in his hands.

El Gallo del Cielo

Tom Russell singing a Tom Russell song. What could be better?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


There was a period of time when I crossed this bridge twice every Friday afternoon.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is closing the Highway 43 bridge
over the Mississippi River at Winona after an inspection of its gusset plates —
the parts suspected in last year’s Minneapolis bridge collapse.

Wonks Only Want To Recognize Wonks

There's a wave of giddiness amongst the right wing this week. A couple of intemperate remarks at the DNC Rules Committee meeting over the weekend have given them a spark of hope that the Democratic Party is, somehow, so fractured that Hillary Clinton's mere presence in the country will be able to blow it to flinders.

Bad news, Kids.

Most of America doesn't act like you and me. They don't really give a rat's rip about what the Rules Committee said or did. They won't care about a Primary fight come November. Most of America doesn't understand the Florida/Michigan delegation folderol. Come November they won't care, either. They are not wonks and insiders. Most of America still doesn't read political blogs every hour or hang on every word from the mouth of either side of the Olbermann/O'Reilly coin. Most of America doesn't care about Inside Baseball.

Most of America is just trying to get by until the next paycheck. They know that the housing market is in the tank, that it costs $45 to fill the tank on the Buick and that the godforsaken war is sucking up a million dollars a minute of their mother's Social Security check. They know who has been in charge for the last 7 years and who's been blocking progress. Most of America has been paying attention and knows what it's going to take to fix it.

The biggest share of America doesn't know who Paul Ryan is, much less that he's got a magic map for them. Most of America can't name their own Representative in June. Hell, even the Republican's presumptive nominee didn't know that Paul Ryan had a plan. Most Americans just know that they are one layoff from not having insurance to cover Billy's next checkup and one stock market swing from having their 401k in the tank.

There's a lot of chatter and chaff about who will or won't vote for Obama in November going on this week. It's just as sincere and heartfelt as the same noises after the Fredheads were disappointed and after Huckamania sputtered. It carries all of the long-term weight of the ennui after Willard took his great haircut and headed home. Senator Clinton has already started to make conciliatory noises. Cooler heads will prevail in the party and the big bus will start to turn.

The Democrats will heal quickly. Those few wonks with their noses out of joint this morning will get glad in the same clothes in which they got mad. They may not pull the oars for an Obama campaign but they'll damn sure pull the lever for him.

The real campaign starts today. If you've managed to convince yourself that the Democrats are in disarray you might want to follow Jeff Wagner's bromide. Get yourself a helmet.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Growth Industry In Troubled Times

Job center gains workers
A state plan to consolidate its job assistance programs might mean more
employees for the Rock County Job Center.

The move comes at a time when Rock County is dealing with
downsizing at Janesville’s General Motors plant and layoffs at related
businesses such as Lear and LSI.

The Way We Treat Our Best

More Army Intelligence from Sam Sarver. We're hospitalizing PTSD sufferers next to a live-fire range.

Vaporware. Heh!

How long until the Michele Obama video myth slides off the trash heap?


Gun Safety Training?


Military Experience?


Display the proper method of handling a pistol to girlfriend?


Remember that you just reloaded the weapon?

I said, remember that you just reloaded the weapon?

I said...Oh, never mind.
Police said the 21-year-old man told investigators he forgot he had just
reloaded the gun, and squeezed the trigger while putting the gun into the
driver's door panel. The bullet went through his inner left thigh.

Think about how you sit in the seat of a car. Think about where the door is in relation to your inner thigh. Think about where how you would have to hold a pistol to be putting it into the door panel and still have your finger on the trigger.

Now think about soft tissue around the region of your inner left thigh. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Does something about this story not quite check out?


Monday, June 02, 2008

Another Talent Gone

I saw Bo Diddley one time, well after he was past giving his best to every performance.
Bo Diddley, the musical pioneer whose songs, such as "Who Do You Love?"
and "Bo Diddley," melded rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll through a
distinctive thumping beat, has died. He was 79.

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley influenced generations of guitarists.

Diddley died Monday, surrounded by family and loved ones at his home in Archer, Florida, a family spokeswoman said.

The cause was heart failure, his family said.

The world-renowned guitarist's signature beat -- usually played on
an equally distinctive rectangular-bodied guitar -- laid the foundation for rock
'n' roll, and became so identified with him that it became known as the "Bo
Diddley" beat. It was unlike anything else heard in pop music.

He was still pretty good. And there's no denying his influence on rock and roll.

The Same Regard

It sounds as if Fox News has the same regard for their human resources as they do for the truth.
A Fox News employee who says she suffers from post-traumatic stress
disorder after being bitten by bedbugs at work filed a lawsuit on Thursday
against the owner of the Manhattan office tower where she worked.

Jane Clark, 37, a 12-year veteran of Fox News, a unit of News Corp,
said she complained to human resources after being bitten three times between
October 2007 and April 2008. She said she was ridiculed and the office was not
treated for months.

That's no bedbug biting you. That's just O'Reilly crawling around the office.

The Definition Of "Fragile"

I wish that this was more of a surprise.

San Diego Padres pitcher Mark Prior will undergo season-ending surgery on
his injured right shoulder, the latest medical setback to a once-promising

Padres manager Bud Black announced the decision to operate before
Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Prior, one of the top young
pitchers in the game for the Chicago Cubs just a few years ago, has not pitched
in the majors since Aug. 10, 2006.

He had been trying to make a comeback with his hometown Padres this season, but his rehab process was shut down at extended spring training about two weeks ago when he had more soreness in the shoulder.

Prior, 27, had surgery on the same shoulder in April 2007 while with the