Saturday, May 24, 2008

Re: Hill's not the first

Karl cites nine "cases" where the assassination possibility is raised, not by the "Obama camp" as Michael stated, but by "Obama, his staff, his supporters and his friends in the media".

First of all, discussing the possibility is different from using the possibility to justify your continued pointless campaign.

Second, I looked at all nine of Karl's cases and here's who's talking:

1) Obama appears to be answering a question raised in an interview;
2) Nothing relevant; maybe a wrong link
3) Teddy, responding to reporter's question
4) An elderly Rhodesian woman
5) Earl MacRae (who is that? a Canadian journalist)
6) Regarding the apparent security lapse in Dallas
7) Obama describing not being aware that his motorcade passed the site of JFK's assassination, in response to reporter's question
8) An art installation on the topic
9) Rev. Billy Kyles responding to reporter's question. The Rev. was with RFK.

You simply can't form an impression that the Obama camp has pushed this image, based on these nine cited cases.

Hill's not the first [Updated: Steph shows otherwise]

to talk about assassination. Barry's camp has before, lots of times, as noted by Karl at Protein Wisdom. Via Allah.

Shocking new photo evidence re Hill's assassination comment


Well, actually...

Olbermann said Hewitt's comment about Olbermann being a sports guy was fair enough:

Olbermann on Hillary's assassination comment

I'm sure not everyone enjoys Keith Olbermann, but he's made a Special Comment regarding Hillary's "assassination" comment.

Perfect.  Long, but I enjoyed the whole thing.  It includes a listing of the many many outrageous things she's said during this campaign and it is pretty amazing to hear them all strung together in one place.

Friday, May 23, 2008

We didn't hear her the first time

Karen Tumulty notes that this isn't the first time Hillary suggested assassination was her route to the WH.  She said it in March in a Time interview.  How did it go unnoticed?

New poll--> Youza! or yikes!


I predict that Hillary's "assassination" idea for getting the nomination is going to bring an abrupt end to her campaign.  The party is going to tell her its time to bring it to an end; Obama can stop dribbling the supers and unleash the rest.  Will take a few days.  This is who I've always thought she was.  Well, actually, I thought she had it in her to commission the hit.

[Update:  Wrong.  Supers still dribbling.  Probably smart on Obama's part whose eye has remained steadfastly focused on bringing the party together when the primary is over, and so won't do anything that would humiliate her.]

The Blue Religion

Collection of short stories from members of the Mystery Writers of America (edited by my man Michael Connelly) about cops. Hit and miss.

Every Dead Thing

John Connolly's debut novel and the introduction of Charlie Parker, whose fifth(?) appearance I reviewed here. Pretty good stuff.

Now, I really am ashamed of my vote


The former first lady originally told a newspaper board in South Dakota she could not understand calls for her to quit the race, arguing that history showed that some past nominating contests had gone on into June.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, somewhere in the middle of June, right?" Clinton said in an interview with the Argus Leader newspaper editorial board.

"We all remember, Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California, I don't understand it," Clinton said.

I'm ashamed. Life is uncertain. Any VP chance now gone.

When I voted, I did so because I thought her more beatable and, in the event of a McCain loss, she'd be a better president. I was wrong on the latter.

Democrat Senators who have fooled me, Al Gore and Joe Biden

Even as late as the campaign when Biden was still in it, I thought him the most reasonable foreign policy Democrat running. I suspect that the anonymous poster to your comment was Michael given the brevity of the comment but even if not, I have to agree. As I read Biden’s article, all I could think about was how wrong I had been last fall to ascribe any Scoopsonian qualities to him.

Just in case you’ve missed hearing about the lawsuit in Florida

From the South Florida Business Journal:

Three prominent Broward County Democrats filed a federal lawsuit Thursday morning against the Democratic National Committee, seeking to force the committee to seat Florida's delegates at the upcoming presidential nomination convention.

The suit was filed by state Sen. Steven Geller, an attorney for Greenspoon Marder in Fort Lauderdale; Barbara Effman, president of the Democratic Club in Broward County; and Percy Johnson, a convention delegate.

It's November, 2000 all over again.

Rep. Maxine Waters

The gift that keeps on givng.

From the NYT:

At another point, Ms. Waters brazenly suggested that perhaps the American oil industry should be nationalized, acknowledging that it was an “extreme step” but one that might be necessary if outsize profits and exorbitant gasoline prices continued.

Lileks defends MSP

Here.  He forgot to mention MSP's very famous men's room.
It's a crummy airport.  LJ, do you fly into MSP to get to your land?

Biden responds to Lieberman on foreign policy

Joe Biden, making his case (well) to be Secretary of State:

At the heart of [Bush's] failure is an obsession with the "war on terrorism" that ignores larger forces shaping the world: the emergence of China, India, Russia and Europe; the spread of lethal weapons and dangerous diseases; uncertain supplies of energy, food and water; the persistence of poverty; ethnic animosities and state failures; a rapidly warming planet; the challenge to nation states from above and below.

Instead, Mr. Bush has turned a small number of radical groups that hate America into a 10-foot tall existential monster that dictates every move we make.

The intersection of al Qaeda with the world's most lethal weapons is a deadly serious problem. Al Qaeda must be destroyed. But to compare terrorism with an all-encompassing ideology like communism and fascism is evidence of profound confusion.

From Biden's op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nope, I don't know this guy

From the Strib: Long-time Minneapolis peace activist and sometime-gadfly Ed Felien asked a Hennepin County District Court judge on Thursday to compel the county attorney to arrest President Bush when his plane lands for the GOP convention in September.

Full quote from Obama

In case context matters to anyone, here's the full quote:

All right. So that's what we want to do on global warming here in the United States. We are also going to have to negotiate with other countries. China, India, in particular Brazil. They are growing so fast that they are consuming more and more energy and pretty soon, if their carbon footprint even approaches ours, we're goners. That's part of the reason why we've got to make the investment. We got to lead by example. If we lead by example, if we lead by example, then we can actually export and license technologies that have been invented here to help them deal with their growth pains. But keep in mind, you're right, we can't tell them don't grow. We can't drive our SUVs and, you know, eat as much as we want and keep our homes on, you know, 72 degrees at all times, whether we're living in the desert or we're living in the tundra and then just expect every other country is going to say OK, you know, you guys go ahead keep on using 25 percent of the world's energy, even though you only account for 3 percent of the population, and we'll be fine. Don't worry about us. That's not leadership.

He wasn't saying we need permission from other countries to do these things; he's saying that if we are going to extract commitments from China, India and Brazil to make changes, we're going to have to too.

New poll -->

[Old poll: Americans 3, Jaytard 1.]

New poll: Agree or disagree?:

"We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and expect that other countries are going to say OK. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Re: Re: What if... (Marriage)

I appreciate the going out on a limb, Scooter. And I like the red ink.

I remember a study that supports your proposition that marriage tames men. It showed that testosterone levels drop when men marry.

Biking to work!

I biked to work today for the first time this season.

Our office has a couple fabulous features that make it easy to commute by bike: 1) ultra-casual dress is acceptable and 2) it’s located right next to a major bike path through town called the Midtown Greenway. The Greenway extends east-west across the whole city and connects to suburban bike paths, making it possible to bike on a carless bike path from the Mississippi River westward to Lake Minnetonka, one of the largest metro lakes and the westernmost suburb.

Part of the Greenway, through the heart of the city, is built in what was a railway trench. It was built below street grade, with the city streets bridged over it. Seems like an obvious way to build a railway through the city so as not to disturb street traffic, but it was unusual (either the first or second such railway trench) when it was built. The glory of it for biking is that you can get across the city easily, without having to stop and wait for lights and traffic at every corner.

Last summer I biked to work as much as possible, which means all the days that I had no client meetings (and therefore didn’t need to dress up) and it wasn’t raining.

I’m not wild about biking for exercise. But I do love biking for transportation and especially for getting to work. I don’t do it for the environment. I don’t do it to save energy. I don’t do it to reduce my impact (if I have any) on global warming. I do it because it’s more fun that driving. There’s something about using a bike for transportation that makes me feel like a kid and, more specifically, makes me feel like ME as a kid. What could give you a stronger reminder of yourself as a kid than biking as fast as possible to get home before dark, which I had to do a couple times last fall.

Sometimes I don’t feel all that connected to the person I was at earlier points in life. But I suspect it’s emotionally healthy to feel one with all the yous that you’ve been. Because biking for transportation connects me to the kid me, I feel like it’s good for my soul.

There’s another aspect to biking to work that I love that I’m having trouble putting my finger on. It’s something about having a more direct connection to all of the ground between home and work.

A third fabulous feature of our office is that dogs are welcome. Here's Karma the Dog sleeping under my desk.
The result of this abundance of office riches, is that I’m going to have to choose each day between biking to work without Karma or driving with Karma. (I know, I could get a doggy trailer and I might, but a) she’s 50+ pounds so it’d be a chore to pull her and b) she’s easily frightened so I doubt she’d like it. I need to find a way to test it before shelling out $300.)

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minneapolis is second only to Portland, OR in its percentage of workers who commute by bike. Austin is 18th. Houston is 41st. Dallas is 48th.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Re: What if...(marriage)

I'm going to go way out on a limb here.

On a purely personal and, I admit, probably religious level, my biggest gripe with the changing of the definition of marriage is that I do believe this:

Men without women at some basic, instinctive level are savage and destructive: self-destructive and others-destructive.

Marriage has a civilizing effect on men. There is in men a swashbuckling bent (ok, maybe it's just me). Marriage to a woman focuses that bent in a positive way. It re-channels those destructive forces into positive outcomes as the drive to cause destruction/chaos becomes a drive to protect--wives and children.

For this reason, I see real problems in a Chinese society going forward as boys are treasured and girls discarded. Who wants to live in a society in which men vastly outnumber women? That will be a scary place.

Doesn't resonate with my libertarian side but that is what I think. I also recognize that I generalize.

Re: Rollerball

A movie from the 70s (terrible recent remake) with James Caan and John Houseman in which nation states had been replaced with corporate states. The Rollerball team of which Caan was a part was the home team of Houston which was the "capital" of something like Petroleana. (Update: apparently it was something much duller: the Energy Corporation.)

Not exactly Bobbitt's "market states" but that is what came to mind.

I saw Rollerball at a drive-in in the 70s. There is a line in the movie that comes up when the shady muckety-mucks are discussing rollerball and Muckety 1 calls rollerball a "game."

Muckety 2 replies, "Game? It was never intended to be a game." He implies that it is really the current equivalent of the Coliseum and it is one of the key lines of the movie.

Seeing it at a drive-in, here is what I heard Muckety 2 say:

Game? It--the snack bar will close in 5 minutes--game.

LJ and Michael have probably heard me tell that story a dozen times. Can't help it.

Why can’t I clear some of this out of my little brain for something useful

I heard an announcement today at the office for one of the nurse/paralegals to take a call from what sounded like a “Dr. Tobor.”

Immediately a song from about 40 years ago (from a cartoon I once watched) popped into my head:

There's a prehistoric monster
that came from outer space.
Created by the Martians
to destroy the human race.
The FBI is helpless,
it's twenty stories tall!
What can we do, who can we call?
Call Tobor the 8th Man,
Call Tobor the 8th Man.
Faster than a rocket,
quicker than a jet.
He's the mighty robot,
he's the one to get.
Call Tobor the 8th Man.
Quick call Tobor, the mightiest robot of them all!

I recall it being the "Call Tobor the Eight Man" but it’s pretty close. I also recalled it being animation of the Clutch Cargo or Speed Racer variety. I didn’t recall that it was early anime. Or that Ralph Bashki did the opening sequence.

Update: I certainly didn't remember this, "8th Man had special energy cigarettes that he carried in a cigarette case on his belt. Bad guys who made the mistake of allowing Tobor to have a final smoke before attempting to execute the worn down 8th man were rudely surprised to find that he would return to full strength." Foreshadowing echoes (yes, it's oxymoronic) of Sleeper.

Conclusion to Minneapolis school investigation

The Minnesota Department of Education has completed its investigation into whether the Tarik ibn Zayad Academy charter school in a suburb of Minneapolis is really a madrassa. It finds nothing in the school's curriculum that violates laws precluding government establishment of religion in public schools. It did direct a couple of changes that the school agrees to make (something about a prayer service on Fridays, and having buses available so kids can leave before a voluntary after-school activity is over). The school was cooperative with the investigation.

It was appropriate for Kersten to draw attention to this school; it was not appropriate for her to paint the school as nefarious and to write with an attitude that this was an outrage that the wacky liberal Dept of Education doesn't care about, asking "Why does the Minnesota Department of Education allow this sort of religious activity at a public school?"

There are a couple of interesting footnotes to Kersten’s story. The substitute teacher, Amanda Getz, who constitutes Kersten’s gotcha-gotcha eyewitness proof of the school’s nefariousness, is a Republican activist. Not that Republican activists can’t ever be reliable, but her affiliation with the party does raise the specter that Getz’s observation and reporting to Kersten (and apparently not to the Department of Education) wasn't as devoid of political agenda as Kersten would have readers believe. Here is more on that.

Further, Kersten’s piece relied on a freelancer’s report of what he saw at the school. He complains that Kersten mischaracterized his observations, and that what he observed was not an Islamic school.

Kersten's attitude toward the Department of Education is fascinating to me. She was faced with what she believed were facts about the school engaging in inappropriately religious practices. Instead of postulating, "maybe the Dept of Education doesn't have enough resources to police its schools well enough", she instead postulated "the Dept of Education doesn't care about schools engaging in Islamic practices; it only cares about stopping Christian practices". In so manner ways, in so many moments we are all confronted with situations where we have a few data points of information and, seeking to paint a full picture, we fill in the blanks with our imaginations, colored by our past experiences, our fears, our prejudices, our hopes. We all do it. It's human nature. It is not, however, journalism.

[Update 1: Here's a link to the MN Dept of Education's report.]

[Update 2: Adults at the school (school officials?) apparently assaulted a local TV camera man while he was filming the students.]

Monday, May 19, 2008

Philip Bobbitt's Terror and Consent

I’m going to have to try to read this one since Dennis Prager had him on his show. Prof. Bobbitt worked for Clinton (and Bush the Elder) and is a Democrat but supported the invasion of Iraq. If I’m not mistaken, he also dated Nanci Griffith for a while.

The Townhall Prager radio blurb:

Philip Bobbitt, Professor of Federal Jurisprudence and the Director of the Center for National Security at Columbia University. He is also Senior Fellow at the Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas. His latest book is Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century.

From the Amazon blurbs:

"Brilliant . . . This is quite simply the most profound book to have been written on the subject of American foreign policy since the attacks of 9/11--indeed, since the end of the cold war . . . It should be read, marked and inwardly digested by all three of the remaining candidates to succeed George W. Bush as president of the United States."
--Niall Ferguson, The New York Times Book Review

Texas Tort Reform

Last Thursday, the office manager of a cardiologist client of mine contacted me about a medical malpractice insurance carrier vying for his business at substantially lower premiums than he currently pays. My firm has a substantial, but dwindling, med-mal defense practice (interestingly to me, run by the most liberal lawyers in my firm) so I was able to find out about the company. My firm also is counsel of choice for the firm vying for the biz and it’s a good carrier.

In the WSJ this weekend from a former Texas state congressman:

Over the past three years, some 7,000 M.D.s have flooded into Texas, many from Tennessee.

Why? Two words: Tort reform.

In 2003 and in 2005, Texas enacted a series of reforms to the state's civil justice system. They are stunning in their success. Texas Medical Liability Trust, one of the largest malpractice insurance companies in the state, has slashed its premiums by 35%, saving doctors some $217 million over four years. There is also a competitive malpractice insurance industry in Texas, with over 30 companies competing for business. This is driving rates down.


C and I ventured back to the concert world last night to catch Radiohead's first Dallas appearance in over 10 years. It was a beautiful night and unlike the Roger Waters show a few weeks ago, we had lawn tickets for this show. The crowd, definitely a much younger one than for Waters, was very well behaved and quiet during most of the show. While everyone tries to sing along with the songs, it's tough because even on the cd's, Thom Yorke (Radiohead singer) is a mumbler. Half the time you have no idea what words he is singing. They had a very bare-bones show (no spotlights, no videos, no movies) that featured just grainy images of each band member (head shots, foot shots, no full body shots) in one of 5 video squares behind them. They did, however, have a very unique light show that consisted of long fiber-optic tubes hanging down all around them. Of the 4 or 5 songs that I really wanted to hear, they played 3. They don't have hits really, and even if they did, they wouldn't play them. Radiohead are VERY anti-establishment.

We had a couple from Oklahoma sitting next to us - quite the talkers. He is a lawyer (a month out of law school), she works for a oil and gas company. It was very apparent, at least to C and I, that we were old enough (or they were young enough) for us to be their parents. Not sure if that is sorta cool......or sorta weird.

Big Brother is watching

The City Pages, a local indie weekly, reports on how ugly it gets when protest is viewed as treason or terrorist-sympathizing:

What they were looking for, Carroll says, was an informant—someone to show up at “vegan potlucks” throughout the Twin Cities and rub shoulders with RNC protestors, schmoozing his way into their inner circles, then reporting back to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, a partnership between multiple federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. The effort’s primary mission, according to the Minneapolis division’s website, is to “investigate terrorist acts carried out by groups or organizations which fall within the definition of terrorist groups as set forth in the current United States Attorney General Guidelines.”

Carroll would be compensated for his efforts, but only if his involvement yielded an arrest. No exact dollar figure was offered.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What if...

we just took gov't out of the marriage issue ( long as kids are not involved) altogether? I suppose the social security issue would be an issue for those currently married with which we'd have to deal. Remove any income tax benefits. I think property law could take care of most property issues.

Just make all "relationships" strictly contractual. One could enhance it with a religious ceremony if one so chose.

This idea goes against every religious fiber but resonates with every libertarian fiber.

Chopin prefers Mozart

I just heard the tail-end of a blurb on NPR (I think it was about Mahler). The piece included the tidbit that Chopin's last words were "Play Mozart for me, will you?"

[Update: Oh, for Pete's sake. Apparently there's some conflict about what Chopin's last words were. There's this, that describes he died of TB and said this: "The earth is suffocating . . . Swear to make them cut me open, so that I won't be buried alive." And there's this account: "But when he asked Chopin whether he was still in pain, we quite distinctly heard the answer: 'No more.' These were the last words heard from his lips." - Charles Gavard, witness to Chopin's death. And this: "Play Mozart's Requiem in memory of me."

While I was looking for this, I came across this quote attributed to Robert Schumann: "We may be sure that a genius like Mozart, were he born today, would write concertos like Chopin and not like Mozart."]