Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I didn't mince my words, I said to her myself,
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
Now Albert's coming back, make yourself a bit smart.
He'll want to know what you done with that money he gave you
To get yourself some teeth. He did, I was there.
You have them all out, Lil, and get a nice set,
He said, I swear, I can't bear to look at you.
And no more can't I, I said, and think of poor Albert,
He's been in the army four years, he wants a good time,
And if you don't give it him, there's others will, I said.
Oh is there, she said. Something o' that, I said.
Then I'll know who to thank, she said, and give me a straight look.
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
If you don't like it you can get on with it, I said.
Others can pick and choose if you can't.
But if Albert makes off, it won't be for lack of telling.
You ought to be ashamed, I said, to look so antique.
(And her only thirty-one.)
I can't help it, she said, pulling a long face
It's them pills I took, to bring it off, she said.
(She's had five already, and nearly died of young George.)
The chemist said it would be alright, but I've never been the same.
You are a proper fool, I said.
Well, if Albert won't leave you alone, there it is, I said,
What you get married for if you don't want children?
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon,
And they asked me in to dinner, to get the beauty of it hot—
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
HURRY UP PLEASE IT'S TIME
Goonight Bill. Goonight Lou. Goonight May. Goonight.
What a repulsive display today. If there really a crisis, the people in Washington sure the hell aren't acting like it. Pelosi dumps a 55 gallon drum of bile on the Republicans whose votes she needs right before the vote, doesn't get them, and then the Republicans take their ball and go home.
The reasonable conclusion - this isn't really a crisis, it's just kabuki theater. I mean, if the financial system was really on the verge of collapse, Pelosi would have had the votes going in, right? And if Republicans realized the gravity of the situation, they would have gone along, right?
All last week I tried to maintain my equanimity about this clusterbleep. Tried to be fair, even though there was ample evidence which side was primarily responsible for getting the ball rolling some 30 years ago (that's a hint). Even tried to look the other way while Barney Frank (D-Fannie Mae) and Chris Dodd (D-Countrywide) tried to escape blame. In a just world, both of them would be facing federal indictment, instead of crafting legislation that obfuscates their role in the mess. They'll skate, though. They have for years and nothing is going to change about that any time soon.
George W. Bush is the only actor in this mess who is certain to leave the stage in January. The cretins on the Hill will return, quite likely joined by a new President who spent his formative political years tied to ACORN. Happy days are here again!
The only solace? Even though it's not part of Catholic theology, I fully expect that there will be enough karma to go around for all these miscreants.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Yeah, let’s have a tax on the rich - the super rich - McCain should support a clawback tax on billionaires alone. A confiscatory one that causes the WSJ editorial page to go crazy. I bet you’d find they’re mostly Democrats and Democratic party contributors - and that would put Obama and the Democratic party in a genuine bind.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
But the killer quote came from Henry Kissinger whom Obama had invoked to criticize McCain’s stance that we should not meet unconditionally with Ahmadinejad. Kissinger retorted: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level. My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.”
- No one scored a knockout in this one, so if the polls are accurate and Obama is leading, then chances are that Obama will still be leading when the polls come out next week. I say that with one major caveat, about which more in a moment. Still, I doubt what happened tonight moves the needle.
- McCain was the aggressor throughout and he seemed to get under Obama's skin a few times. The split screens were not kind to Obama, who was scowling and visibly perturbed on a number of occasions. I saw that several times during the course of the debates. Don't know if that makes a difference to people, but it might.
- Obama took one huge gamble in invoking Henry Kissinger repeatedly as supporting his notion of meeting with foreign leaders without "preconditions." When McCain challenged him on it, Obama doubled down. My guess is that the reporters will be coming to Kissinger to find out what he really thinks. It's been 30 years since Kissinger has been relevant and I'm sure he'll not hesitate to speak to reporters. If Kissinger contradicts Obama in a forceful way, it will definitely leave a mark on Obama and it could move the needle.
- Maybe it's just me, but as the candidates kept battling each other about what the meaning of "preconditions" is, I kept thinking of Inigo Montoya, the character played by Mandy Patinkin in the 1987 movie The Princess Bride. After listening to the character Vizzini (played by Wallace Shawn) continually refer to a series of events as "inconceivable," Montoya says "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." Given the way McCain and Obama were bandying the word about, the word does not mean what one of them thinks it means. When I hear someone say that they will meet someone without preconditions, I assume it means that they don't have expectations that the other party will have to do anything prior to having the meeting. That's not what Obama said he meant tonight and he made it clear that he thought McCain was misrepresenting what he meant. Perhaps it was "inartful phrasing?"
Thursday, September 25, 2008
As I've often said, a job worth doing, is worth doing right. Although I've enjoyed blogging, the time required to not only update a blog daily, but to really put thought into each post, was time that I was lacking. I was paying a little attention to each facet of my life, but nowhere near the attention each facet deserved; that included blogging.
Certain thoughts have been in the back of my mind for some time, and I let them come to the forefront while I was on vacation the last couple of weeks, and I've made a decision. Blogging has been a great exercise ... almost like calisthenics. The thing with calisthenics is that you can develop your muscles but at some point you're going to want to do something with them. As the Anthony Trollope quote in my header this week says, "Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write." I now know I can put two to three hours a day into writing, because I've been doing this and now...I need to break from the familiar and comfortable and see what else I can write.
As when I started this blog, I have no idea what I'm going to write about, or what form it will take. I think I'd like to try a novel, but I don't have a vision for a story yet. It may be short stories at first, as the next step in my process. What I do know is that I'm going to take those two to three hours a night to work it out, and that means not writing as often here.
It’s not that I’m not writing anything, just not on the blog.
Presently I am working on two Bleacher Report columns and an end of season MLB Awards ballot that all the community leaders in the MLB section of the Bleacher Report were given. Plus, the 2nd edition of the Burger Tour (with 3 new joints and 2 new essays) is getting worked on.
However, this week’s lack of posts might be indicative of things to come.
On Monday I start my MBA program. There won’t be any fooling around. The MBA program becomes my #1 priority. This blog gets pushed down the priority list.
This is not to say I’ll be quitting the blog. Hardly. But it might become one of those annoying one-post-a-week-on-something-everyone-else-has-already-talked-about blogs. I also might start liveblogging more. It’s easy and well…pointless. But fun.
It’s one of the hidden success stories of the Clinton era. In the great housing boom of the 1990s, black and Latino homeownership has surged to the highest level ever recorded. The number of African Americans owning their own home is now increasing nearly three times as fast as the number of whites; the number of Latino homeowners is growing nearly five times as fast as that of whites.
These numbers are dramatic enough to deserve more detail. When President Clinton took office in 1993, 42% of African Americans and 39% of Latinos owned their own home. By this spring, those figures had jumped to 46.9% of blacks and 46.2%of Latinos.
That’s a lot of new picket fences. Since 1994, when the numbers really took off, the number of black and Latino homeowners has increased by 2 million. In all, the minority homeownership rate is on track to increase more in the 1990s than in any decade this century except the 1940s, when minorities joined in the wartime surge out of the Depression.
But the economy isn’t the whole story. As HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo says: “There have been points in the past when the economy has done well but minority homeownership has not increased proportionally.” Case in point: Despite generally good times in the 1980s, homeownership among blacks and Latinos actually declined slightly, while rising slightly among whites.
All of this suggests that Clinton’s efforts to increase minority access to loans and capital also have spurred this decade’s gains. Under Clinton, bank regulators have breathed the first real life into enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, a 20-year-old statute meant to combat “redlining” by requiring banks to serve their low-income communities. The administration also has sent a clear message by stiffening enforcement of the fair housing and fair lending laws. The bottom line: Between 1993 and 1997, home loans grew by 72% to blacks and by 45% to Latinos, far faster than the total growth rate.
Lenders also have opened the door wider to minorities because of new initiatives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac–the giant federally chartered corporations that play critical, if obscure, roles in the home finance system. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages from lenders and bundle them into securities; that provides lenders the funds to lend more.
In 1992, Congress mandated that Fannie and Freddie increase their purchases of mortgages for low-income and medium-income borrowers. Operating under that requirement, Fannie Mae, in particular, has been aggressive and creative in stimulating minority gains. It has aimed extensive advertising campaigns at minorities that explain how to buy a home and opened three dozen local offices to encourage lenders to serve these markets. Most importantly, Fannie Mae has agreed to buy more loans with very low down payments–or with mortgage payments that represent an unusually high percentage of a buyer’s income. That’s made banks willing to lend to lower-income families they once might have rejected.
Rome is burning, y'all. So it's a perfect time to talk about football.
Xavier Hawks 21, Clintonville Truckers 17. Homecoming for the Hawks and a tough opponent. The Truckers are pretty good most of the time, but my sense is that the X will be ready for this one.
ACTUAL RESULT: XAVIER 27, CLINTONVILLE 16. The X was ready. Defense was tough all night.
Irondale Knights 31, Friendly Fridley 21. The Knights have been dominant lately, but they step up in class a bit with a tough game against their neighbors to the west. Based on what I can tell, the Knights should win, but it won't be easy.
ACTUAL RESULT: IRONDALE 42, FRIDLEY 7. A rout. Irondale wasn't especially friendly.
Mounds View Mustangs 34, Hastings Raiders 17. Hastings, like their Stillwater neighbors, is a river town with a fine football tradition. Also like Stillwater, Hastings is down a little this year. Look for the Mustangs to take advantage.
ACTUAL RESULT: MOUNDS VIEW 42, PARK OF COTTAGE GROVE 0. Lesson of this one -- don't depend on the schedule printed on the Mounds View website. Park is near Hastings, if that means anything.
Beloit Bucs 31, Knox Pure Prairie League Fire 24. Knox is one of the teams Beloit can beat and frankly any school whose nickname is "Prairie Fire" really deserves to get its butt kicked. Hope that my friend Stephen, who is a professor at Knox, will forgive me for making this common-sense argument.
ACTUAL RESULT: BELOIT 38, KNOX 0. That's about as big a butt-kicking as a Beloit team has ever delivered. Good for them, especially in front of the Homecoming crowd. And the worst part for the defeated Prairie Firers is that they have a 3+ bus ride back to Galesburg, Illinois.
Wisconsin Badgers 31, Meeeshegan Woolverines 21. Usually Ann Arbor is a graveyard but Go Blue is in transition right now. When the Badgers return there in two years, it will be a lot tougher than I expect it to be Saturday.
FINAL SCORE: MICHIGAN 27, BUCKY FREAKING FAILURE CHOKE MONSTERS 25. Epic Fail. Start the cheer now, kids.... "Over-rated... Over-rated." That was one of the worst chokes I've ever seen. And it won't look much better unless Michigan wins about 7 more games this season.
The Ohio State University 31, Minnesota Golden Gophers 17. Okay, let's give Tim Brewster some credit for righting the ship. The problem here is that OSU is still much better than the Gophers. But it won't be a rout this time.
ACTUAL RESULT: THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY 34, GOPHERS 21. It is what it is.
Green Bay Packers 27, Tampa Bay Pewter Pirates 19. Tampa has been a tough place to visit for our beloved Pack in recent years, but this time the Pack has a better team. Look for Aaron Rodgers to come back smartly from last week's lessons.
ACTUAL RESULT: TAMPA BAY 30, GREEN BAY 21. Aaron Rodgers throws 3 interceptions, while Brett Favre throws six touchdowns for the Jets. Packer fans go back on suicide watch again. Not me, though - just go get 'em next week!
Tennessee Tuxedos 14, Purple Helmeted Love Warriors 10. If Matt Birk has trouble blocking massive, mean Albert Haynesworth, we might have a T-Jack sighting sooner than Week 8, which is still the over/under for when Gus Frerotte breaks down.
ACTUAL RESULT: TENNESSEE 30, VIKINGS 17. Easy to sum up this one, Vikings fans: Not. Good. Enough. Boy, the Packers are lucky that the rest of the division appears to stink.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
The Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.
Under the plan, disclosed at a Congressional hearing today, a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.
The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight, which is part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, was created by Congress in 1992 after the bailout of the savings and loan industry and concerns about regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy mortgages from lenders and repackage them as securities or hold them in their own portfolios.
At the time, the companies and their allies beat back efforts for tougher oversight by the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or the Federal Reserve. Supporters of the companies said efforts to regulate the lenders tightly under those agencies might diminish their ability to finance loans for lower-income families. This year, however, the chances of passing legislation to tighten the oversight are better than in the past.
''These two entities -- Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- are not facing any kind of financial crisis,'' said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. ''The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.''
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
You see, none of this would have been possible if all those people who read "maximum loan amount" on their preapproved loan documents as "buy a house that costs this much" had just stayed out of the market; or at least had been familiar with the nuances of the word "maximum". Because all the (well, most of) the troubles Wall Street is currently facing can be traced directly back to the dimwit making $35,000 per year who just absolutely fell in love with that 1800 square foot $400,000 bungalow in Tangletown with its $8000 per year in property taxes. The figures and locations are of course different from case to case, but the ratios tend to be the same. Sure, there may be a thin film of folks who were victimized by circumstances and were forced to default. I'm certainly not blaming them. Most people get farked by the fickle finger of fate at some point in their lives. I'm talking about those people that you think about when you drive past those vast tracts of McMansions and overpriced townhouses in Eden Prairie or Plymouth, wondering to yourself: "how can so many people afford these super-expensive homes?" You now have your answer. Most of them can't.
Read the whole thing.
WASHINGTON - Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., told reporters
Tuesday that a provision continuing the moratorium will be dropped this year from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running after Congress recesses for the election.
- It's possible that the Senate will vote on the bailout bill this week and that both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain will miss the vote because they are too busy campaigning. I think it would be a very good thing indeed if both of them get their butts back to Washington, participate in the debate and vote. This is the most important vote that will take place in this Congress and if these guys want to be President, the people ought to know where they stand. Oh, and Biden should vote, too. Almost forgot about him.
- Sometimes if you want to understand something, you should ask an expert. That's when I turn to the Nightwriter. Click the link, kids.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The risk that a party to a transaction has not entered into the contract in good faith, has provided misleading information about its assets, liabilities or credit capacity, or has an incentive to take unusual risks in a desperate attempt to earn a profit before the contract settles.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
We ended up having dinner last night since she has to work today and it's a school night. Those are some of the realities associated with wedding anniversaries - the daily grind often intervenes. Three years ago, we ended up celebrated our 14th anniversary by bailing water out of our basement because our sump pump had been disabled by a power outage caused by a huge storm that wiped out hundreds of trees in New Brighton. We fought off the flood with a flashlight and a plastic Kirby Puckett souvenir baseball cup, bailing the rising water into the laundry tub for hours. It's times like that when you understand what "for better or worse" really means.
One thing is certain - after 17 years, I remain convinced that I am the luckiest guy in the world. Jill has always been a very special person but she is better in every way than she was when we married - she is smart, funny, wise, generous and loving. And we've learned to adjust - you have to be able to change and grow together if you are going to make a marriage work.
- In tough economic times, most business look at their supply chain as a place to cut costs.Is anyone really surprised that NBC would let a liberal Democrat currently involved in a political campaign participate in writing something for them? As a practical matter, NBC typically runs DNC talking points unedited on their newscasts, so at least this way they've cut out the middleman.
- It's good to see that Franken is taking steps to find something to do with his life after he gets his butt handed to him in November.
- As I watched the skit last night, I was wondering why it wasn't very funny. Franken's hand in the sketch explains why.
Bottom line - just about everyone in the media and entertainment industries are completely committed to pulling Barack Obama's butt across the finish line. The only person NBC employs as an on-air talent who isn't in the tank for Obama is Al Michaels, who has been known to let slip his conservative opinions during football games. (John Madden's candidate, from what I can tell, is Brett Favre.) Conservatives just have to accept it and move on.
Cross-posted at True North.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
In the four years since he stepped down as Fannie Mae's chief executive under the shadow of a $6.3 billion accounting scandal, Franklin D. Raines has been quietly constructing a new life for himself. He has shaved eight points off his golf handicap, taken a corner office in Steve Case's D.C. conglomeration of finance, entertainment and health-care companies and more recently, taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters.
Obama has no background in economics. Who advises him? The Post says it's Franklin Raines, for "advice on mortgage and housing policy." Shocking. Under Raines, Fannie Mae committed "extensive financial fraud." Raines made millions.
Fannie Mae collapsed. Taxpayers? Stuck with the bill. Barack Obama. Bad advice. Bad instincts. Not ready to lead.
Fannie Mae did collapse, requiring a government takeover, and Raines, its former chairman, paid $25 million in April to settle a case brought by federal authorities investigating his role in the agency's accounting problems. But he has never been a close adviser to Obama.
The commercial's main charge is based on an April story in The Washington Post that said Raines has "taken calls from Barack Obama's presidential campaign seeking his advice on mortgage and housing policy matters." Reporter Anita Huslin says Raines told her that during an in-person interview.
An Obama spokesman called the ad's contention "a flat-out lie," saying Raines has "never advised Senator Obama about anything, ever." But Raines did not claim to have advised the Illinois senator personally. In an accompanying statement, Raines said he never "provided his campaign with advice on housing or economic matters." That contradicts what he told Huslin five months ago.
The McCain campaign is clearly exaggerating wildly in attempting to depict Franklin Raines as a close adviser to Obama on "housing and mortgage policy." If we are to believe Raines, he did have a couple of telephone conversations with someone in the Obama campaign. But that hardly makes him an adviser to the candidate himself -- and certainly not in the way depicted in the McCain video release.
Friday, September 19, 2008
LAS VEGAS, NV -- Barack Obama stepped up his attacks on Republican rival John McCain today during a campaign stop in Nevada, telling supporters to "get in the faces" of waivering voters with his message of hope, change, and "brass fisties."
"Righty right, me malenky droogs," said Obama, nonchalantly spinning a steel baton while pacing the stage before a packed audience at a Las Vegas baseball stadium. "Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are all invited. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their faces, with bootsie-woots if thou it suits."
Obama said his new gloves-off campaign strategy was prompted by what he described as a coordinated effort by McCain and talk radio to distract from his message of national unity."One thing I could never stand was to hear a filthy, dirty old partisan bushie, howling away his filthy songs and going blurpy blurp," said Obama. "Naughty, naughty, naughty! You filthy old soomkas!"
"So great bolshy yarblockos to you, Johnny brother," he added in a stern warning to the McCain camp, "We'll meet you with chain or britva or Dailykos anytime, not having you aiming factchecks at us reasonless. Well, it stands to reason we won't have it."
Indeed. Read the whole thing.
Turns out, there's a long line of presidents who have invoked God, as this video shows. Punch that link and give it a look. Further affiant sayeth not.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Football rivalries tend to be passionate, especially if they have a long history. This week's slate has some of that, but not as much as we'll see later on.
Xavier Hawks 17, Ripon Tigers 3. This year the mighty Hawks have been playing defense like it really matters, pitching two consecutive shutouts. There's very little history between the Hawks and Ripon, but what history there is favors the Blue and White.
ACTUAL RESULT: RIPON 39, XAVIER 22. Ripon pulled out a spread offense and was just too fast for the Hawks. Next weeked hated Clintonville comes to XHS for Homecoming.
Irondale Knights 41, North Branch Vikings 6. North Branch is a nice town on the outskirts of the metro area and there's very little history between these two schools, either. North Branch had a dismal season last year and so far things haven't improved much. The Knights should cruise in this one.
ACTUAL RESULT: IRONDALE 51, NORTH BRANCH 0. This just in -- North Branch is still dismal.
Mounds View Mustangs 31, Roseville Raiders 17. This is a good rivalry but historically Mounds View has had the better of it. Since the game is in Roseville, it may be close, but there's little reason to expect the Mustangs to fall.
ACTUAL RESULT: MOUNDS VIEW 35, ROSEVILLE 0. Surprisingly easy win. Those Mustangs might be pretty good.
Monmouth Scots 42, Beloit Bucs 10. Beloit and Monmouth have been playing for years and while from this distance it looks like the Bucs are getting better, they are not ready for this challenge. The Scots will battle hated St. Norbert for league supremacy and the Bucs will be spectators at best.
ACTUAL RESULT: MONMOUTH 51, BELOIT 3. Next!
Badgers have a Bye. Looking at the schedule, so does a lot of the Big Ten, especially Penn State, which is playing Temple. Penn State can consider itself ripped, especially since it also played Coastal Seafoods, I mean Coastal Carolina a few weeks back. Next year I believe JoePa has scheduled these guys for a game, and he won't stop until the Lions have cut a path through all of the Seven Sisters.
Minnesota Golden Gophers 31, Florida Atlantic Owls 28. Last year the Gophers got beat down in Florida by these guys, but the Owls aren't as good this year. Give the Gophers the nod based on the home field and the chance that ancient Owls coach Howard Schnellenberger will be distracted by the cannon fire in the end zone after the Gophers score.
ACTUAL RESULT: MINNESOTA 37, FAU 3. It has to be said - the Gophers are making a lot of progress. Next week they go to Columbus - that will tell us a lot.
Carolina Panthers 21, Purple Helmeted Love Warriors 17. My Appleton readers are disappointed that the Vikings have decided to start Gus Frerotte instead of this guy. But it won't really matter much - the Vikings will rise or fall on the production of Adrian Peterson. The Panthers will likely have 8 guys in the box and until the Vikings can get their offensive line straightened out, Peterson will continue to run wild between the 20s and have little room in the red zone. Sorry, Purple.
ACTUAL RESULT: VIKINGS 20, PANTHERS 10. Good win for the Purple. Antoine Winfield may have saved their season. Tough trip next week, though, so caution is advised, oh manic Purple fans.
Green Bay Packers 31, Dallas Cowboys 28. Aaron Rodgers almost beat these guys in Dallas last year. This time the game is in Green Bay. The Cowboys have never won in Lambeau Field and the last two times they've come up they've been blown out. It won't be a blowout this time, but the guess here is that Tony Romo will try a little too hard and throw a key pick late.
ACTUAL RESULT: COWBOAHS 27, PACKERS 16. Nothing too complicated here - it looked like a Packers/Cowboys game from around 1993-94, with Romo in the Aikman role, Barber in the Emmitt Smith role and Owens in the Irvin role. Irvin didn't usually hurt the Packers that much - it was always Alvin Harper in those days, and so it was yesterday - the other guy was the one with the dagger. Packers just have to get better, like they did after 1994.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
- October 11, 2002: The United States Senate passes Public Law 107-243, more commonly known as the Iraq War Resolution, with a vote of 77-23. Senator Paul Wellstone, involved in a re-election campaign against challenger Norm Coleman, votes against the measure.
- October 25, 2002: Sen. Wellstone dies in a plane crash near Eveleth, Minnesota.
- October 29, 2002: A memorial service honoring Sen. Wellstone is televised throughout Minnesota. It turns deeply partisan, with speakers including Rick Kahn and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) openly campaigning for replacement candidate Walter Mondale.
- The backlash against the memorial service proves costly to the Democrats as Norm Coleman wins election. Polling suggests that the tone of the event may have cost other Democrats running in elections elsewhere in the country.
- January 7, 2006: a helicopter crash kills Maj. Stuart Anderson near Tal Afar, Iraq. Seven other soldiers and four civilians are killed as well. Major Anderson is survived by his wife, two daughters and his parents. "He was very proud of being in the military,” his father, Claremont Anderson, of Hoffman, Minn., said earlier this month.
- September 16, 2008: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee runs an ad featuring Maj. Anderson's parents, including the aforementioned Mr. Anderson. In the ad, the grieving parents blame Sen. Coleman for voting for the war. As noted in the timeline, when the war was authorized, Sen. Coleman was a private citizen.
Cross-posted on True North
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
- It's increasingly looking like my beloved Milwaukee Brewers are going to choke yet again. They went into the weekend up three games in the wild card race to Philadelphia and are in the process of getting swept by the Phillies while dodging the raindrops that have been falling all over the Eastern Seaboard. When it matters, the Brewers are falling apart. Goodness, it's irritating. This team has more talent than any since the lone World Series team in Brewers history but has had an awful penchant of blowing games in the late innings. It may not be entirely fair to blame this on manager Ned Yost, but it's pretty clear that if the Brewers miss the playoffs again, Ned will be gone. As for the picture, my friends back home in Wisconsin will remember.
- The football season has been a lot of fun so far, but things will start getting interesting this week. The Badgers passed a major test last night at Fresno, but begin a really nasty stretch after a bye week. They go to Michigan, then entertain Ohio State and Penn State on successive weekends, then face a trip to Iowa, a home game against Illinois and a trip to Michigan State. Can the Badgers run that gauntlet unscathed? If they do, you'll have to look at them as a BCS team for sure. At this point, Penn State looks like the toughest foe they will face but trips to East Lansing and Iowa City are usually highly problematic.
- Can we now put a rest to all the Favre longing, Packer fans? Aaron Rodgers played a pretty darned good game today in Detroit and it's increasingly clear that he is the best quarterback in the division. If the Packers can beat the Cowboys in Green Bay next weekend, it will set the tone for the rest of the season. And it sure will be nice to have the Cowboys play the Packers someplace other than Dallas for a change.
- After a Vikings loss, it's often entertaining to listen to the carping on the "Vikings Fan Line" post-game show in KFAN, because it's usually a festival of schadenfreude. I didn't get the chance today but my sense is that the natives are really restless about the Purple being 0-2. If you look at things objectively, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Vikes are where they are. We've heard all summer long about how the Vikings would be vastly improved, but those assertions never made a lot of sense. Jared Allen is an excellent speed rusher, but he can pushed around at the point of attack. Nose tackle Pat Williams has played at a very high level since he's come to Minnesota but he's an old guy by NFL standards playing a very punishing position and it's reasonable to assume that he will wear down. Darren Sharper is getting up there, too. Upshot -- there was reason to suspect that the defense, while generally stout, could be exploited. And it has been. On the offensive side of the ball, T-Jack is still a work in progress and is in danger of moving from prospect to suspect, while the offensive line has only two good players on it right now. Bryant McKinnie will come back eventually but it's doubtful that he'll play at the level needed to make a big difference. This team's ceiling has probably always been 9 wins. I'll say this -- I'd rather be a blogger than Brad Childress round about now.
- We had a little fun jawing about scheduling patsies on the prediction thread. I chided the Gophers for having lowly Montana State on the schedule, prompting a commenter to also chide the Badgers for having might Cal Poly on the schedule at the end of the season. It's an interesting question - whom should you schedule? I've always thought that the ideal non-conference foe is a second-division school from a BCS conference. Good examples of teams to schedule would be Iowa State, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Arizona, Duke, etc. Teams like Fresno are not good choices because they can beat you. For non-Big 10 conferences, the Gophers and Indiana are excellent choices. I did take a peek ahead to the Badgers non-conference opponents in upcoming seasons (the information is available on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website) and see that the Badgers will be looking at Oregon State and Arizona State in upcoming seasons. These are pretty good foes. If Tim Brewster can get the Gophers to a more competitive level, it will be interesting to see who starts to show up on the Gopher slate.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Sarah Palin makes me sick. I hate that she was able to steal Barack Obama's mojo just by showing up wearing rimless glasses and a skirt.
I hate that she makes Joe Biden look like John McCain and John McCain look like the maverick he is not.
Even with a supportive husband, I doubt seriously that Palin has time to be a hockey mom unless she is making a personal appearance on a campaign trail.
And while 7-year-old Piper Palin gave the world a fuzzy moment on stage at the convention when she licked her hand and smoothed her baby brother's hair, and when Bristol, 17 and pregnant, held Trig against her chest while her mother shook the hands of adoring fans, I couldn't help but wonder what it's really like for these kids.
After all, there's no such thing as a superwoman, and children of driven moms make their own sacrifices.
Sarah Palin makes me sick because although black Democrats have been responsible for giving white candidates the boost they needed to beat their Republican opponents in tight races, these voters are now being insulted by feminists who say they will cross over into the McCain camp because of her. How can that be?
Cross-posted at True North
Friday, September 12, 2008
Senator Barack Obama will intensify his assault against Senator John McCain, with new television advertisements and more forceful attacks by the candidate and surrogates beginning Friday morning, as he confronts an invigorated Republican presidential ticket and increasing nervousness in the Democratic ranks.
“We’re sensitive to the fluid dynamics of the campaign, but we have a game plan and a strategy,” said Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe. “We’re familiar with this. And I’m sure between now and Nov. 4 there will be another period of hand-wringing and bed-wetting. It comes with the territory.”
- The primary reason McCain can't personally use a computer is pretty simple - his arms don't work well because of the injuries he suffered as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Given the frequency that McCain mentions that part of his life, it might have occurred to someone in the Obama braintrust to think about that. And it's an especially risible charge to make given McCain's clear understanding of the power of computers and the net, as documented in this article from Forbes concerning McCain's 2000 campaign.
- What's more, sneering at some for not being able to use a computer is especially misguided considering how many people in this country still have difficulties using a computer. There are a lot of seniors who don't use computers regularly and who are frankly embarrassed about it. I wonder how they might feel about a presidential candidate rubbing someone's nose in the dirt about that. I might also share this experience: when I was between jobs a while back I spent time at the Minnesota Workforce Center. Every day I would see people who came there who had absolutely no idea how to use a computer and needed the staff to basically do everything for them. These people were not doddering idiots; they simply needed help. I wonder how they might feel about this ad.
- One other point regarding e-mail. Do you know how many e-mails a typical executive sends? Not many. You know why? Pretty simple -- e-mail is forever and in our litigious society any correspondence from an executive on any topic can be grist for the lawsuit mill. Perhaps Bill Clinton could have explained that to Obama yesterday, considering he only sent two in his entire 8-year term.
Another unforced error from Sen. Obama.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
It was an especially beautiful morning, and really a gorgeous day, one of those days that make September the best time of year in Minnesota. The sky was clear and the morning air was crisp. I climbed on the 4 bus on Foss Road and began my journey to my office in downtown Minneapolis. I arrived at my desk about the same time the first plane hit.