Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers Withdraws

I don't see what the problem was with her, other than inexperience. I wouldn't have personally been a fan of hers, but I do agree that when a president has the opportunity to choose a justice, he's probably going to choose one with a similar belief system to his. That's America. But wasn't it just a few years ago that the same people who were against her nomination were clamoring for "less lifetime judges" and "more non-judicial types" to "fix our Supreme Court"?

So it seems the Great Uniter has accomplished the impossible: Not only did he make the Dems and GOP more divided than ever before, but now it appears he has caused a fracture within the GOP itself.

Is the beginning of a long, hard row to hoe for the GOP? Many of the more moderate members of the party are pretty put off by the far right extremists who a) Bush panders to and b) think they are the mainstream, when they are the farthest thing from it.

I feel for sensible people like McCain and Spector and others like them, even for the Ray Lahood types who don't always follow the company line. What far-rights and far-lefts don't seem to grasp is that the other side is sometimes simply correct, and it's okay to take the opposing position once in a while.

And I'm beginning to think that Mr. Bush couldn't unite two pieces of bread to make a sandwich.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

...And The Cubs Are Left In The Dust!

Congrats to the White Sox! How cool, eight wins in a row over two years for the American League in the World Series. I'm startin' to like baseball again.

From The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Who are the dead of Operation Iraqi Freedom? How did they die? Like the rest of America, they are a diverse group. A numerical portrait of U.S. military members who have died so far in the war in Iraq:

Number who died since major combat ended April 30, 2003: 1,846.

Percent who died since major combat ended: 93.

Number lost in November 2004, the month with the most deaths: 137.

Percent of the dead who were in the Army: 68.

Percent in the Air Force: 1.

Percent in the National Guard or Reserves: 25.

Percent who died in three Iraqi provinces with mostly Sunni Muslims, the branch of Islam to which Saddam Hussein belongs: 53.

Percent who died outside military action: 23.

Percent who died in accidents on land: 12.

Number who died of illness: 9.

Number of friendly fire deaths confirmed by the Department of Defense: 4.

Number killed in rifle and grenade attack by fellow soldier at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait: 2.

Number of commanders killed in so-called fragging attack — by a soldier on a superior — at a camp outside Baghdad: 2.

Percent who were officers: 10.

Number older than 45 years: 30.

Number who were age 18: 20.

Number of women: 44.

Percent of the dead who were women: 2.

Percent who were Hispanic: 11.

Percent who belonged to a minority group: 25.

Number from California, the most of any state: 215.

Number from Alaska, least of any state: 4.

Number from Texas: 174.

Number from New York state: 92.

Number from Puerto Rico: 16.

Percent from the South: 38.

Percent from the Northeast: 16.

Number of foreign citizens: 76.

Number from Mexico, the country with the most foreign citizens: 27

Number identified by the Defense Department who were awarded posthumous citizenship: 24.

Number who died after five years or more in military service: 568.

Number who died within first three months of their tour of duty: 925.

Percent of total dead who were married: 40.

Percent with children: 30.


NOTE ON NUMBERS: The numbers are based on counts by the Department of Defense and Associated Press. Most items are based on 1,985 deaths tallied by the DOD as of Oct. 25. The AP's count, which includes deaths reported by news staff in Iraq, has been consistently somewhat ahead of the DOD's. The percentages for minorities were last updated Oct. 15, and the number of foreign citizens was updated Sept. 3. The numbers for marital and parental status, as well as when killed during tour of duty and military service, include 245 deaths in Afghan operations that cannot be separated out.

This Cheney Guy Is Something Else...And It Ain't Good

Looks like he's the leaker, and then I see this story in the Houston paper this morning saying Ol' Dick is the main guy trying to keep this whole torture of prisoners thing going:

Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the administration is floating a proposal that would allow the president to exempt covert agents outside the Defense Department from the ban.

Meanwhile, a provision by Sen. John McCain would bar the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone in U.S. government custody, regardless of where they are held.

"There's a lot of public pressure to retain the language intact. At the same time, there's pressure from the vice president's office to modify it," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, which supports McCain's provision.

Just One More!

Go, Sox, Go!

I've always kind of liked the White Sox, if only because any success they have pisses off Cub fans. But I actually found myself staying up for all 14 innings of last night's Game 3.

The American League has now won seven straight World Series Games. The AL owns the three longest World Series winning streaks, 10 games each time. The AL rules.

Now, the Sox may not sweep, indeed, I didn't expect them to sweep Houston. But it would be extra sweet to keep the current streak alive, started last year by Boston rubbing out the Cardinals in four straight.

Love it!

Go, Sox, Go!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

In The Wake Of The NCAA v. Bradley Debate...

...there is the beginning of a great discussion over at Bill's place.

To back up what I said on that subject, I'll add this:

The recommended method is to refer to a person by their tribe, if that information is known. The reason is that the Native peoples of North America are incredibly diverse. It would be like referring both a Romanian and an Irishman as European. . . . [W]henever possible an Indian would prefer to be called a Cherokee or a Lakota or whichever tribe they belong to. This shows respect because not only are you sensitive to the fact that the terms Indian, American Indian, and Native American are an over simplification of a diverse ethnicity, but you also show that you listened when they told what tribe they belonged to.

What's in a Name? Indians and Political Correctness
by Christina Berry, All Things Cherokee

North Country - Good Flick

Diane and I went to see North Country Friday night at Rave Theatres.

I love movies, and I love to talk about them. But unlike almost everyone who tries to be a movie critic, I don't try to criticize first, or look for how I can say something negative just to sound cool. I go in, rather, with the intent of enjoying the movie, and then I like to talk about it with co-workers, or now since I have this blog, just jot down a few thoughts about it.

With that in mind, here goes:

North Country is based on a true story of the world's first Class Action Sexual Harassment suit. It takes place in the iron ore mines of Northern Minnesota, a few hours drive from my home.

Charlize Theron, Richard Jenkins (Illinois Wesleyan grad who has become an outstanding character actor in both comedies and dramas), the outstanding Frances McDormand, and Woody Harrelson are the main stars, but the supporting cast does a great job of capturing the lifestyle and personalities of the tough people of the Iron Range.

First thing I noticed was, unlike the cartoony, over-the-top accents of "Fargo", this movie pays enough attention to detail that the actors actually capture the Iron Range accent without going to far. As a Minnesotan, I appreciated that greatly.

Secondly, the movie has surprisingly little courtroom drama, which I expected more of after watching the previews. The story centers more on the how the life of one woman is affected by her job and the crap she has to endure at work. It also tells of the struggles of the other women in the mines, as they battle internally over whether to complain and risk losing their job, or keep quiet. Same goes for the men NOT involved in bad behavior...many characters are shown conflicted as to what they should do.

Minnesota mines are not the underground type, they are open-pit mines. The scenery is beautifully captured, and the movie goer can almost feel the cold, whipping wind even on a springtime or fall day in Minnesota.

The actors all did a good job at creating their characters, and the young man who plays Theron's son (Thomas Curtis) Sammy is outstanding. Also of note is the performance of Xander Berkeley as the women's supervisor, Mr. Pavich. Berkeley played in the first two seasons of Keifer Sutherland's "24" on Fox, and nobody catches the Minnesota demeanor in this movie like Berkeley. If you see the movie, and you see Mr. Pavich, and you say, "what a geek", you will have seen a true mine supervisor in Northern Minnesota. Company man, unattractive but thinks he's a player, that kind of guy.

SIDENOTE: When I returned to Minnesota a week and a half back for my grandfather's funeral, I asked my Uncle Dick about the movie. He joined Reserve Mining in Babbitt, Minnesota in 1954 and still lives up there. I asked him if he was aware of the case (the case came forth in 1984, but the movie not only changes names, it changes dates, as it plays out in 1989. Not sure why. Probably to protect from lawsuits.) and he said it did indeed happen at his mining company.

He said he heard tales at the time of what was happening, but he didn't work with them. They were all (with one exception) working inside the buildings that convert the iron ore into taconite, and he was out driving trucks and running the huge claws that dig at the earth, and he said that he, like many others, turned the other cheek. He didn't say it, but I have the feeling he wishes he and others would have done something about it before it got to court. He also said many of the ladies still work there, and they didn't want money, they just wanted to be treated fairly. You'll have to see the movie to see whether that happens or not.

Who Will Get Cheated Today?

Three races ago, NASCAR inspectors found Jimmie Johnson's car to be illegal (body too high in the rear end, increasing downforce and improving handling) after he recorded a victory at Dover.

NASCAR did nothing.

Last weekend, with Tony Stewart comfortably leading and running away with the race at Lowe's Motor Speedway, NASCAR changed it's rules in the middle of a race, by ordering the teams to pit their cars and run a tire pressure mandated by NASCAR. Several laps later, his handling changed significantly, Stewart crashed when his tires...NASCAR mandated tire pressure...let go. Jimmie Johnson, struggling at the time of NASCAR's "safety-related" decision on tires, went on to win, and pull into a first place tie with Stewart in the points standings.

Who will get ripped off by NASCAR today in it's efforts to help Jimmie Johnson (car owner, Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick) win a championship?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

George Carlin and I agree: We Hate This Crap.

So the Parents Television Council is mouthing off again.

Parents Group Warns Against 4 Fox Shows

George Carlin said it best:

There are two knobs on the turns the channel, and the other one turns the damn thing on and off!

The ironic thing, of course, is that Fox, the same company that owns Fox News, is being targeted here. I've said it before, nobody plays both sides like Ol' Rupert. One one side, he's got Fox News preaching (and I do mean "preaching") from the right, then you turn on Fox or worse yet FX (or "better yet", if you're me) and you get The Shield, Nip/Tuck, and Rescue Me. Those three shows, by the way, are ALL among the best five shows on television of any kind on any channel, and they all air on FX.

Organizations like the PTC do no good. None. Zip. Zilch. Nil.

This, however, is the funniest line in the story:

A Fox spokesman said the network never comments on reports by the Parents Television Council.

Why is that funny? Because when you go to, you see this about every second week:

Plus, are R-rated movies keeping Hollywood's box office down? We'll examine the issue with Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council.

Don't miss a very special edition of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" today at 4 p.m. ET!

They put Bozell on this channel to spew his nonsense whenever they can, and they never take him to task for his claims. That's why it's funny.

Is This Going To Happen?

Rove To Resign

Time magazine said resignation was the most likely scenario if either man is indicted, citing several legal and political sources.

Rove could be charged with perjury for failing to testify that he had spoken to Cooper about Plame, despite later correcting himself.

A former White House official said Rove’s break with Bush would have to be clean, with no “giving advice from the sidelines” for the sake of the administration.

That last paragraph? Chjea, right, that'll happen.

Then there was BAD football

The Minnesota Vikings. Holy crap.

After a pathetic 1-3 start, the Vikes said they were going to change their season around with a big win at Chicago. That was before the "sex cruise". Acting stupid is is something that overpaid, overspoiled, bratty, stupid, intellectually challenged, 'roid raged athletes do every day.

But the Vikings took it to new levels. In public, in front of 16- and 17-year old servers on a pleasure boat in the middle of a lake, the Vikes decided to rehearse for a porn film. I don't care if they have orgies every night of the season, just don't be so stupid as to do it on a boat in front of kids. Nothing good can come of it. And nothing good, now, can come from this season.

Stories out of the Viking camp now say that they were all consenting adults, so no crimes were committed. Unfortunately, the underage employees of the boats are saying they were being offered money to join in by some players, with other players apologizing for them and protecting the kids. While I'm glad SOME players had a brain, soliciting young kids is, indeed, a crime, isn't it? And rumors persist that some of the ladies were flown in from Atlanta for the event. Hookers? I'd only say probably. I can't see wives or girlfriends being willingly involved in multiple-partner sex in public, so I'd have to lean a bit towards "paid help". But we'll see what happens. I could be wrong.

Meanwhile, on the field, the Vikings are 1-4 after handing the Bears a victory. Oh, and before Bear fans get all excited, your team had 192 yards total against one of the easiest defenses in the NFL to gain ground against. The Bears suck. Big. The Vikings just suck bigger right now.

That being said, if the new owner makes some changes at the top right now, the Vikings will still finish higher in the standings than Chicago. Sex parties and all.

Thank goodness hockey has started.

Then, there was football failure

Upon arriving home, I looked to my Minnesota Gophers to whip Wisconsin and get me in a good mood last weekend.

Whip them they did. Everywhere except the final score. In one of the great collapses in Big 10 history, the Gophers went from a 34-24 lead with three minutes left to a 38-34 come-from-ahead defeat thanks to a soft prevent defense, (The "prevent" only prevents one thing: victory) and a freshman punter who dropped a perfect snap and gave up a touchdown with :35 seconds left.

The Gophers rushed for 400+ yards against proud Barry Alvarez and his proud Badgers...and lost. How in the h-e-double hockey sticks do you do that? The better team did not win that game, only the luckier one.

Another annoying item from that loss:

Laurence Maroney went for a career high 258 yards, yet the pundits say he lost ground in the Heisman race, because the Gophers lost to Wisconsin on a fluke.

Note to Heisman voters: This is not an "MVP" of college football, it's about the best player. How a freshman punter can affect a premier running back's Heisman chances is beyond me. Unlike the NFL or NBA, where it is supposed to be the "Most Valuable", the Heisman is about the "best" player, regardless of team quality. And I see no better this year than Maroney.

Trying to get back in the swing

Two weeks of doing mornings instead of afternoons were followed by the death of my last remaining Grandparent last week, and a three-day trip to Minnesota to honor him.

He was not an average man, he was not a good man, he was a great man. I've talked of him in this blog before. He was the self-made success who ran a farm, a country general store, and a bus route all at the same time from the 50's through the mid 80's, when Reaganomics busted him and countless other small farmers in the midwest.

I consider myself one of the luckiest dudes ever, because both of my parents (who had me young) were also born early in their parents' lives. So I had four grandparents until I was 29, and still had a grandpa until the age of 44. I know lots of folks who barely remember any grandparents, and I had four of the best, and for a long, long time.

We laid Grandpa to rest Wednesday morning, cried our tears, and then honored him as he'd have honored anyone else: we all congregated at my uncle's beautiful house in the Minnesota countryside for a day of memories, tall tales, and laughs about Grandpa. I saw cousins I hadn't seen in years. I was able to introduce my lovely Diane to cousins and aunts and uncles who had yet to meet her, and they all loved her immediately, as expected. They all wonder how I got her. I say the same thing to everyone: I'm an overachiever in that department.

I finally got to see my goddaughter's baby, and lo and behold, the little guy became enamored with Diane (no surprise there). Did he like me? Not so much. I saw a nephew from Nevada for the first time (he's 1), and I got to make peace with an uncle that I've been bickering and battling with since Dubya took office. Without going into too much detail, he's a bit ashamed of what's going on right now. He'll never vote Democrat, and I don't expect him to, but he's not going to support the far right wing ever again. Good move that, I say.

We're moving closer to meeting in the middle politically. Something that all of us should do.

All in all, a sad time, but a wonderful time, and a new beginning for long-gone-away family members. Terrible that it takes a death to do that, but we made the vow to not wait until another funeral to get together. Accidents aside, family deaths go in cycles. If everyone lives out a full life, we'll not have another round of funerals for 20-25 years. We will not wait that long to get together again.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Start With These Nine

Now that the GOP-controlled Senate has taken a stand against the Bush Administration (see "90-to-9" below), for the first time in the years of the "selected" president's reign, we can start the path to a better, more co-operative Washington by singling out the nine dolts who voted against the McCain amendment:

Allard (R-CO)
Bond (R-MO)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Stevens (R-AK)

I mean, come on. When Santorum, Frist, Lott, Warner, and even Norm "whatever George wants I'll do" Coleman vote with the Dems on something, you know it must be a cut-and-dried deal against Bush and Rummy. So these nine dudes are on the shit list today...and for a long time.

Friday, October 07, 2005


Some sanity in Washington:

THE SENATE has taken a major step toward stopping the most damaging and shameful American conduct during the war on terrorism. An amendment to the defense appropriations bill offered by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and approved Wednesday night by the resounding vote of 90 to 9 would end four years of uncertainty about the rules for the military's treatment of detainees.

Read the whole story...

This sensible amendment, BTW, is being threatened with a veto by the administration, and they (the administration) are already working over house members to weaken the bill and the McCain amendment.

That, my friends, is shameful. When a bi-partisan vote of 90-9 goes through the Senate, when the GOP and Dems work together and agree on something, wouldn't the great "uniter" want to take this and run with it instead of against it?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Cynicism Gets The Better Of Me Again Tonight

I see that both CNN and Fox are reporting about the possible terror attack on the New York subway system, and the first thing...the first thing...that comes to my mind is the administration is trying to deflect attention off their own troubles again.

I know I'm not alone here, either. Why is it that so many of us immediately think this way when we read this kind of news?

Hockey's Back!

Oh, I love the NHL. I don't care what anybody else thinks, either. I just love the stuff. Fast, physical,'s totally awesome, baby. (Take that, Vitale, you Duke fan.)

The Minnesota Wild got off to a great start last night, whipping Calgary 6-3. One of the guys that worked in the Rivermen office last year is with the BlackHawks now, and you can bet I'm going to tap that resource for good seats when the Wild comes to the U.C.

Darn, I Thought He Might Have Opened His Eyes! headline: "Bush: Radicals Abuse Religion".

Well, needless to say, I got a little excited. Did George say something bad about the zealot christians who are bound and determined to ru(i)n this country?

Then I read the story. False hope again. But I agree with what he said about the radical terrorist wing of Islam. He just needs to say the same about the radical wing of christianity.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Busy Week

My schedule is screwed up. I had to work mornings (up at 3:30 instead of 8) for three days last week, and I have to do it again tomorrow. So my body clock is running backwards.

To catch up:


DeLay - The Hammer is gettin' Nailed. Good.
Gretchen Wilson's new CD came out last week. It's awesome. And it's Country with a capital "C". Good.
Had a great day Sunday at Tailwaggers, put on by TAPS in Pekin. Hopefully a bunch of good doggies found new homes. They raised a LOT more money than they did last year, and they're quite happy about it. Good.
Hockey is back. Looking forward to the return of the NHL, and to the upgrade in talent for the once-again AAA Rivermen franchise. Should be a blast!


The Gophers ran into a buzz saw in Happy Valley. The Gophers came out flat, the Nittany Lions are...dare I say...almost back. Big 10 is going to be too nerve wracking all year. Are there any teams capable of rolling through the conference unbeaten? I don't think even OSU is. Gophers = bad.

The Vikings. Holy hell. I knew the offense was going to suffer without Moss, the greatest wideout in the game BY FAR, but I didn't expect Culpepper to turn into a 98-pound sissy in the pocket. Yuck. Mike Tice, can you please just resign? Vikings = terrible...and they'll STILL win the NFC North.

I wasted 30 minutes of my life tonight checking out Michael Savage on Markley's station. This guy is absolutely nuts. A lunatic. Thinks the Bush Administration isn't far enough to the right socially. Oh...My...god. Savage = Dispicable.