Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Political Bloggers And The MSM

As one of the 8 bloggers recruited by KELO TV for their political blog section, a story about a similar blogging project involving my hometown paper caught my eye. Like KELO, the Cleveland Plain Dealer recruited several local bloggers to participate in a co-operative political blog sponsored by the newspaper. Now of course that isn't something unique (thought the Plain Dealer bloggers are paid), what got my attention is what happened when one of the freelance bloggers, Jeff Coryell, who was critical of a local US House Member on his own blog and donated to his opponents during the 2006 elections was found to be on the Plain Dealer's payroll, he was fired!
Today I was terminated from my engagement as a freelance blogger at the Cleveland.com blog "Wide Open" as a direct result of intervention of Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) of the 14th Ohio Congressional District, in retaliation for my previous blogging about his re-election campaign and my financial support for two of his election opponents.
Read the account from the blogger in question here.

I admit that Ohio and South Dakota are 2 completely different animals but this situation brings up a few questions. How would things shake out if a similar situation happened here? What if a local candidate like say Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for instance took umbrage with something one of us wrote either on our own or our KELO blog and made that displeasure known to the powers that be in the news department at the state's most watched TV news outlet, how would they react? Of course we couldn't be fired like the blogger in question as we aren't actually employed by KELO but would they censor the post if it appeared on their site? Would they disassociate themselves with the person in question? Personally I don't think they would as long as it wasn't something totally over the top but who knows for sure?

The 2004 election was for the most part the beginning of an online revolution in regards to tools available to political campaigns and showed what bloggers could do during a campaign (just ask Tom Daschle and Thune operative and blogger Jon Lauck). The 2008 election appears to be taking that revolution to the next level by meshing blogs, at least on a limited basis, with the MSM. This partnership is a relatively new phenomenon that so far it isn't working too well in Cleveland and only time will tell how it will work here in South Dakota. Either way it should be an interesting ride...

Liberal Media?

Liberalism has taken over all mainstream media if you were to listen to some of the conservatives out there but apparently Clear Channel didn't get that memo. One memo that is circulating among the various Clear Channel classic rocks stations though is dictating that they do not play any of the new songs from Bruce Springsteen's latest album "Magic.
Bruce Springsteen should be very happy. He has the No. 1 album, a possible Grammy for Best Album of the Year for "Magic," an album full of singles and a sold-out concert tour.

Alas, there’s a hitch: Radio will not play "Magic." In fact, sources tell me that Clear Channel has sent an edict to its classic rock stations not to play tracks from "Magic." But it’s OK to play old Springsteen tracks such as "Dancing in the Dark," "Born to Run" and "Born in the USA."

Just no new songs by Springsteen, even though it’s likely many radio listeners already own the album and would like to hear it mixed in with the junk offered on radio.
Could it be because "The Boss" hasn't been very friendly to the Republican cause and the right leaning Clear Channel just happens to be the home of the "Dittohead" network of the Rushman? That can't be it, we all know radio stations have no interest in playing songs from the number 1 album in the country...

I Guess Porn Isn't That Profitable

Lodgenet has been the target of quite a bit of controversy lately because certain conservative groups have been complaining about some of Lodgenet's content being served to hotels across the country. The South Dakota Family Policy Council has gone so far as to call for a Justice Department investigation into what they call the "Nations Largest Provider of Hotel Hardcore Porn".

Putting aside the difference between what the South Dakota Family Policy Council considers obscene versus much of the rest of the country, the main purpose many believed behind Lodgenet's providing this type of entertainment was its profitability. The old adage that sex sells could be Lodgenet's motto but if their recent revenue report is any indication, it doesn't sell well enough.
LodgeNet reported a loss of $11.4 million, or 50 cents per share, for its third quarter of 2007. That's compared to a net gain of $2.1 million, or 12 cents, during the same period last year.
Much of that loss can be attributed to their purchase of competitor On Command but even without those numbers factored in they still would have lost $3.5 million. No matter which figures you look at, leaders of groups like the South Dakota Family Policy Council are probably smiling ear to ear this morning because sex may still sell, but apparently not like it used to as far as Lodgnet is concerned.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Next Generation's Ronald Reagan

Unfortunately for the latest generation and those in the GOP that support him, it appears that it is the post Alzheimer's Reagan. During a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Fred Thompson was asked about a law set to take effect in that state on January 1st that would allow civil unions and whether he would support a federal law that would do the same...

"I'm proud to say that in January 2008 New Hampshire has passed a law facilitating civil unions here. ... What is your belief for federal civil unions to be passed?" Paul asked.

"Soviet Union?" Thompson responded.

"No, civil unions," Paul said.

"Oh. No, I would not be in support of that," Thompson said.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Little Light Sunday Reading

Updated Below with new allegations (I use that term lightly).

As another "Lauckless" week goes by which included a weekend book signing in Sioux Falls, and as those on the right continue to go into to overload like a pack of wild dogs over the Argus Leader's snubbing of the truly non-partisan (tongue firmly in cheek) South Dakota political book Daschle V. Thune, it's business as usual at the Argus Leader. This weekend the Argus Leader editorial board turns their attention to the real issues facing South Dakotans, slogans on t-shirts and whether the newspaper should have mentioned them.

Last week Argus columnist Peter Harriman wrote a story about a popular hunting stop in Winner that included mention of a t-shirt with a certain slogan that could be taken a few different ways. The logo contained the phrase "I got my cock cleaned at Kooch's'' where Kooch's happened to be the name of a pheasant cleaning business and ever since the paper has been getting slammed with letters and comments bashing them for printing such comments in such a "high class" paper

"I had no idea you had sixth graders working for you,'' observed Spencer T. Kittelson. "The Argus Leader has reached a new high in low class.''

And

Betty Wagner characterized the word play as "disgusting" and "unbelievable.''

The Argus' decision to mention the slogan with an obvious double meaning can surely be questioned, I personally found it quite funny but then again I was a sailor and everyone knows about us. But the fact that editor Randell Beck felt the need to devote a whole column to the story because of the outrage it caused could be carried over to the Jon Lauck book review snub controversy, or at least what some in the blogosphere consider a controversy.

The Argus does what it can to ensure it maintains readers and to this point the paper has pretty much ignored the "furor" other than a few mentions on their blog and a puff piece in their Life section which seems to tell me that they at least believe that their readers don't really care.

Bloggers on the other hand have a clear bias, those that read blogs normally migrate to the one's that write with the same slanted view that they have. I wonder if you get outside the few thousand South Dakotans that frequent the fine blogs in our state if the rest of the population even knows about Lauck's book and if they do, do they really care? Readers of Sibby or the SDWC will notice whether or not the Argus reviews the book because they already have a preconception of the events in the book, tie that to the percieved left wing bias of the Argus and voila, instant controversy.

Lauck spent his days during that fateful election ripping the Argus and Dave Kranz and that fact alone makes the silence from the Argus a controversy of blogospheric proportions. Does the Argus care? It is apparent they don't and if you ask the average South Dakotan you will probably discover that they don't care either. At least though it does give us bloggers something to write about in the down time between real political stories.

UPDATE: Ok this is good, well known "investigative blogger" (as long as it is in WorldNetDaily and can be cut and pasted into his blog) Sibby has sources that are telling him that the Argus' Dave Kranz twice contacted Barnes and Noble and requested they not carry Lauck's book. Somehow I think that even the National Enquirer would have a hard time going to press with Sibby's anonymous sources and they had no problem going with the now debunked Edward's affair story.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Politically Correct Goes To College

Fighting Sioux MascotThe NCAA's fight with the University of North Dakota over their mascot has been settled finally, in a court of law. The university has agreed to get tribal approval to use the "Fighting Sioux" nickname and mascot or be forced to change it if that approval isn't given within the next 3 years. Why is this in court you might be asking? Did the local Sioux tribes ask the NCAA to get involved on their behalf? The answer to that question is no. It is actually the NCAA deciding that all Native American nicknames and imagery are offensive and have no place in college athletics. In fact the court decision and subsequent 3 year timetable seems to be more of an issue to the tribes involved than the mascot and nickname does.
North Dakota tribal officials have said the three-year period allowed in the settlement unfairly puts pressure on them.
Chief WahooNot being of Native American decent myself I might not have the same perspective as American Indians do but the UND mascot represents to me more of the long and proud Native American history unlike some of the other mascots and images that are prominent these days such as Chief Wahoo of Cleveland Indian fame. I look at this more as the NCAA doing what they do best, taking things to the extreme, sort of throwing the baby out with the bath water, and going after all 18 universities that used American Indian imagery instead of focusing on those that caused concerns with the local tribes.

Fighting IrishSo now the State of North Dakota is out around $2 million in legal fees and the Devils Lake and Standing Rock Sioux tribes are in the unenviable position of being forced to determine the fate of a popular mascot that they for the most part never had any serious issue with. Throw in the costs that would be associated with the university possibly having to change 10's of thousands of logos throughout the campus and you have the NCAA doing more harm than good as usual.

What's next on the NCAA's PC crusade? The little green Irish guy with fists raised that is the mascot for the University of Notre Dame could possibly offend some American's of Irish decent such as myself, will that be the next image on the NCAA's hit list? Apparently they have nothing else to worry about...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

24 Season 7 First Look

One of my favorite TV shows is still a few month's away from it's season premiere but for those looking forward to Season 7 of 24, here is a trailer.



I do have an issue with one thing I see, it appears Tony Almeida has miraculously returned from the dead ala Bobby's return on Dallas only on 24's version, Tony doesn't take up where he left off. And for those looking to draw parallels between 24 and world events, get over it! It's a TV show, just sit back and enjoy.

Think Twice Before Sending Your Kids To College

Thats the message being touted by the conservative front group Family Security Matters. According to their recently released list of the 10 Most Dangerous Organizations in America, our colleges and universities are the 2nd most dangerous organizations in our country only beat out by that horrific group working for media standards and fairness, Media Matters for America.
2) Universities and Colleges

Anyone familiar with my column at Family Security Matters knows my thoughts on the Left’s stranglehold on American colleges and universities. Unfortunately, many professors use the various organizations on this list as a part of their curriculum, often selectively ignoring facts that don’t support their far-Left agenda.
Other's making the grade (or missing it depending on your perspective) include:

10. ThinkProgress
9. Muslim Student Association
8. CodePINK
7. American Civil Liberties Union, National
6. Family Research Council
5. Center for American Progress
4. League of the South
3. MoveOn.org

I guess it's time to scrap my college funds and start looking at trade schools for my kids...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Which Doesn't Belong?

Let's play what doesn't belong...or sticks out like a sore thumb.



Laura Bush from her visit to that bastion of womens rights, the UAE.

California Fires Caused By Global Warming? Or Is It Al Qaeda...

First Harry Reid says that the California wildfires can be attributed to global warming.
As you know, one reason that we have the fires burning in Southern California is global warming. One reason the Colorado Basin is going dry is because of global warming.
Then soon thereafter in the same interview he said it wasn't.
Question: Senator, on the California fires, you said that the reason the fires are burning in California is global warming?

Reid: No. Here's what I - I didn't say the reason the fires were burning in Southern California was global warming...
Ok, so Reid has no idea what he is talking about which is seemingly a more common occurrence these days, what about the MSM? Well if you listen to Faux News, the California wildfires are actually a result of an Al Qaeda terrorist attack.
This morning on Fox News, hosts of the show Fox and Friends blamed the wildfires in California on a new culprit: al Qaeda. They pointed to a 2003 FBI memo, which raised the possibility that al Qaeda may try to set wildfires around the western United States. They also noted that men in a “hovering helicopter” saw “a guy starting one of these fires.”
It is apparent that no one is sure yet what caused the fires but it is real easy to see the agendas of those trying. One thing is for sure though. Bush's 2 front war in Afghanistan and Iraq is making it harder for firefighters to get the wildfires under control.
In California, half of the equipment the National Guard needs is not in the state, either because it is deployed in Iraq or other parts of the world or because it hasn't been funded, according to Lt. Col. John Siepmann. While the Guard is in good shape to handle small-scale incidents, "our concern is a catastrophic event,'' he said.

"You would see a less effective response (to a major incident),'' he said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also acknowledged the National Guard's equipment woes and attributed them to the war. National Guard policy has required that much of the equipment that goes with units to Iraq stays there.

Adding to the equipment woes facing those fighting the fire mentioned above, the fact that California is also short 1500 guardsmen whom are currently serving in Iraq and you have a recipe for disaster.

(HT: Think Progress)

No Further Comment Needed

Rudy Giuliani on his accomplishments as mayor of New York while campaigning in New Hampshire.

"I took a city that was known for pornography and licked it to a large extent, so I have my own set of qualifications."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Ron Paul Effect

Even some of the more popular conservative blogs have had enough of the Ron Paul wingnut supporters trolling through their comments sections and stuffing their online polls.
Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.
Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I'm guessing that most of you can probably guess. Unless you lack the self-awareness to understand just how annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans can be. Which, judging by your comment history, you really don't understand, so allow me to offer an alternate explanation: we are a bunch of fascists and we're upset that you've discovered where we keep the black helicopters, so we're silencing you in an attempt to keep you from warning the rest of your brethren so we can round you all up and send you to re-education camps all at once.

Another No Kidding Headline

The recently re-designed Rapid City Journal has another in a growing number of no kidding headlines from an AP story yesterday:

Rounds: Pheasant hunt not hurt by controversy

Now one should probably be asking themselves how exactly would this super secret South Dakota "good ole boys get together" hosted by our governor be hurt? Yes the Argus Leader fought to have the names released but once the State Supreme Court said that the names of those attending didn't have to be released you would think that it would have actually helped the hunt. Attendee's worried about staying anonymous now have a court order saying they can, which if anything would likely bring more business leaders that never planned on moving here but saying they are just to get a nice pheasant hunting vacation. Now they can come without fear of being exposed.

Even though attendee names are considered "Top Secret", it sure would be interesting to find out a few statistics from past hunts. I know some of this has been mentioned at different times when a new business moves to the area but has the total number of businesses that actually moved to South Dakota as a result of our governor sponsored networking "hunt" ever been released? How about how many people have attended these hunts? If we don't have the "clearance" to know the attendee's, we should at least know how successful they are, it is an official work product of a state agency after all which by some accounts, other than that of our State Supreme Court, would fall under a requirement for open government...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Light Posting And Some Name Dropping

Work has been keeping me on the run with not much rest in sight but I thought I drive by with a few name drops on my way out. I have been working almost constantly at Sioux Falls Regional Airport the past few days which in between digging into a sick machine has allowed a few minutes of people watching during our states second biggest tourist week.

Pheasant hunting season always seems to attract some well known people to our state, Dick Cheney normally comes to Pierre each November to get his lawyer, oops I mean pheasant hunting in and today I saw someone that hasn't been in the news in awhile hopping on a flight out of town. Oliver North of Iran Contra fame was quietly finishing up his hunt, no word on how many birds the former Lieutenant Colonel bagged, and soon after, our junior Senator, John Thune, was getting out of town after his publicized hunt this past weekend.

And speaking of Pheasant season opener, where else in the days of heightened airline security can you see almost every passenger walking around carrying a gun case along with tables and booths selling ammunition in the lobby of your local airport. Only in South Dakota...

Friday, October 19, 2007

One Born Every Minute

The old adage that states there is a sucker born every minute is again proven true as Betty Casey, a noted philanthropist and supporter of the arts, paid $2.1 million for the so called "historic" Limbaugh smear letter (hopefully tax deductible). The letter was sent from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 41 of his Democratic colleagues to Limbaugh's employers over at Clear Channel Communications asking that they force Limbaugh to apologize for his "phony soldiers” comments.

Limbaugh of course had to get his publicity out of the charitable auction and in this case he called on Reid and his cohorts to match the winning bid which was earmarked for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation though I doubt many of them could afford the $2.1 million each that would have been required. Not to be outdone on the publicity stunt front, Reid staged one of his own when he went in front of the Senate and urged his colleagues to bid on Limbaugh's "historical document".

So again the war dodging blowhard gets his followers all riled up and in the process Rush and Harry Reid get more publicity and Betty Casey gets a couple of pieces of paper worth barely more than the the Charmin I used this morning. Sounds like another successful Limbaugh stunt, at least this time the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation gets to come along for the ride.

Johnson Finally Announces What We Already Knew

From Tim Johnson's campaign site.
STATEMENT FROM SENATOR JOHNSON: I WILL RUN FOR RE-ELECTION
OCT 19, 2007

Sioux Falls – In a statement released today Senator Tim Johnson verifies what he has said publicly since his return to work over a month ago, Senator Johnson will seek re-election in 2008. A formal announcement will follow in 2008, as has been Johnson’s practice in the past.

“I was looking forward to asking South Dakotans to allow me to serve them for another term prior to my illness last December. Since then, I have never once lost my desire to continue serving South Dakota, but I needed time to recover and regain my health in order to determine whether I could do the job and best serve our state. After months of rehabilitation and recovery, more than a month on the job in Washington and after my recent trips back to South Dakota it is clear, to my family, my doctors, and me that I am able to do the hard work required of a United States Senator. I have said before that, I wanted to take this second chance at life and focus even harder on being the best advocate I can for the people of South Dakota. Today I am asking South Dakotans to give me the chance to give back to them by announcing that I will run for re-election in 2008.”
The worse kept secret in South Dakota politics that Johnson all but admitted during his Nightline interview and then had his staff deny is no longer secret.

Plan B For The GOP Presidential Candidates?

Has the threat by Religious Right leader James Dobson to have his flock vote "none of the above" if the likes of pro-choice Rudy Giuliani wins the nomination opened some eyes among the GOP Presidential candidates? Just last month the likes of Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and John McCain had no problem skipping the Value Voters debate in Florida but now all of a sudden they are jumping all over themselves to impress the same crowd at the Value Voters summit in Washington DC.

One might ask what has changed all of a sudden to make attending this summit a high priority. Could it be that some polls are now showing that as many as 27% of likely GOP voters could follow Dobson to a 3rd party almost assuring a Democratic president has made pandering to the religious right good again? The brown nosing has already started.
Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's argument to woo restive religious and social conservatives comes down to this: "I have a record that can be trusted." GOP rival Mitt Romney's goes like this: "I am pro-family on every level, from personal to political."

Margaret Cho chimes in with her comedic view on the religious right and those that pander to them. (humor warning, not for those without a sense of humor or that are easily offended)

Is The RCJ Shooting Themselves In The Foot?

The Rapid City Journal has made some major changes to their online presence to the joy of some and the scorn of others. Unlike when the other major rag in South Dakota, the Argus Leader, underwent a similar transformation, I actually like the new look and format though other than a few new graphics and a color change, the underpinnings are not that different. Finding items is much easier with the new menu setup though what you can't find is what is causing most of the problems, at least with some.
As a commenter pointed out, I read the typos and tribulations blog and found out what was up. Why couldn’t find the local columnists and the Letters to the Editor? Because they removed them, and they aren’t coming back anytime soon.

What the heck is the idiot editor thinking?
I thought a lot about this including reading the Rapid City Journal's response to the "Opinion Page" criticism over on their Typos and tribulations blog
a) Letters to the editor are products (and byproducts) of the print edition. Have an issue with the something you’ve read in the Journal? Write a letter and we’ll print it in the Journal. If you have an issue with something on the Web site, you can post a Rapid Reply or discuss your concerns on our blogs. Two different venues for readers’ opinions.

b) At this time, we cannot ‘turn off’ the Rapid Reply function on certain stories on our Web site. And we don’t believe it’s appropriate that Web site readers can post anonymous comments blasting our letterwriters by name, letterwriters who at least had the courage to put their real names to their opinion.
Lord knows traditional print media is going through major changes with the advent of online news sources and as the New York Times has discovered, charging for some of their online content hasn't been too successful. So what are some traditional dead tree outlets doing? As is the case with the RCJ, they are only teasing readers with their online content by leaving out some of the more popular features from the web.

I find their public excuse about the anonymous comments to be a bit over the top as there are many ways to combat that issue without having to resort to leaving the opinion pages off the web, sort of like cutting off the nose to spite the face, so why don't they just come out and say their real reason? The opinion pages are what many online readers enjoy, the regular news that is posted online for the most part can be found just about anywhere as it is a mixture of AP wire reports and news covered by other sources so they believe that leaving out the opinion section will boost the readership of their "dead tree" edition.

While that may help in a somewhat small way (how many local readers can you gain from an area with under 75,000 people?), you will end up losing some readership from those living out of the area that like to keep up with the happenings around Rapid City from all around the country and in turn you could end up loosing online advertising revenue. Will that make a big difference? I have no idea and I am sure the powers that be over at the RCJ will be watching closely and will tweak their content accordingly.

It will surely affect my readership of their paper, I had them on my daily morning read through my RSS reader and while I will still have some of their feeds in my reader, the lack of opinion columns will affect how much attention I pay to it as most of the news is covered elsewhere and considering I live East River, the off line version isn't an option. That is too bad as the editorial board from the RCJ had just started making a name for themselves with some of their recent columns especially in regards to the Hildebrand-Tewes embezzlement scandal involving Chad Schuldt and they were the only local media outlet that had the cajones to question the silence that was coming from the Tim Johnson camp during his recovery.

So now we have examples of 3 different online models. KELO TV puts even more content online including video from their newscasts than you would normally find broadcast over the air, the Argus Leader that is pretty much a carbon copy of the dead tree edition, and now the Rapid City Journal which aims to tease you with their online presence in an attempt to get you to buy the hard copy version. Is one of these models better than the other? I guess we can watch these 3 and find out because as MySiouxFalls.com found out, being a media company in the internet age isn't the easiest and if you don't give your readership what they want, there are thousands of other choices out there that will.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Some More Irony...Or Is It Hypocrisy?

What do you get when you combine the National Right To Life Committee (NRLC) and S-CHIP? Irony or hypocisy depending on how you want to look at it.
Ten House Democrats who oppose abortion rights have turned the tables on the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), taking the group to task for not backing a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

The anti-abortion rights group had taken aim at lawmakers who voted for an earlier House SCHIP bill, which included Medicare provisions that the NRLC maintains would lead to rationed care and government-sponsored euthanasia.

"I couldn’t believe it," said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in an interview with The Hill. "It absolutely didn’t make sense to my constituents, either."

Those provisions were stripped, but the NRLC has not swung in favor of the SCHIP bill that Congress passed and President Bush vetoed. This has irked some of the group’s typical allies, who viewed its campaign as unfair.

Posing a rhetorical question to the NRLC, Ryan asked: "Why aren’t you supporting it now? Are you really concerned with protecting life or are you concerned with protecting the Bush administration?"
Apparently we are witnessing some more of the same hypocrisy from pro-life groups that often seem to lose interest in the lives they were so set on saving before they were born.

My Career Was A Prank

Ann Coulter Wingnuth/t - Tech.Blorge.com (screenshot of hacked page available there)

That was the headline from a recent article on Ann Coulter's web site after it was apparently hacked by an enterprising hacker that could possibly have been someone of the Jewish persuasion that Coulter thinks should be perfected by converting to Christianity. Or maybe they were just a Democrat who was sick of hearing from the woman suffering from a chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth.

The letter closed with "And with that, my precious viewers, I bid you adieu. My career as a media figurehead is over". Too bad it wasn't real...

Note to my readers: Sorry for the light posting the past few days, I'm on the road west river in the land of the Rapid City Journal which seems to be causing some controversy of their own in the South Dakota blogosphere over their recent redesign. I'm still on the fence on that by the way, more on that subject to come in a future post.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Childish Debate

First the Republican's attacked 12 year old Graeme Frost and his parents before actually checking the facts when they conveyed their story on how on the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) has helped them, and now they are resorting to using cartoon characters on their press releases in opposition to SCHIP.

From the House Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee (minus the Simpsons characters).
Republican businessman Montgomery Burns today joined with Mayor Joe Quimby, D-Springfield, to support the Senate’s gazillion-dollar SCHIP bill.

“If the poor children can get a piece of the action, why can’t I?” explained Burns at a MoveOn.org rally in Capital City. “The little darlings are needy? Me, too. I need somebody to pay. Quimby here says he knows a bunch of low-income nobodies who are ripe for the picking. Excellent.”

“You need this?” wondered the mayor. “Well, why not. I’ve got needs, too. Why, I’ve got 27 paternity suits pending and to quote the Speaker, ‘suffer the little children.’ The Quimby Compound is overflowing with those little sufferers. Vote Quimby.”

Inexplicably, the mayor then leaned toward a comely MoveOn organizer and whispered in her ear, “Ah, if anyone asks, you’re my niece from out of town and you don’t get SCHIP.”

“But Uncle Joe, I am your niece from out of town, and I do get SCHIP.”

“Good Lord, I’m a monster!” exclaimed the mayor.

Mr. Burns shrugged and pressed on with a stirring call to arms: “Truth and fairness, these are the demons we must slay if we wish to save the tykes.”

His patience was tested when a ruckus arose from a restive crowd of backdrop-toddlers who’d been rented by MoveOn for the photo-op. “Get these props away from me,” Burns hissed.

“Kids? Who needs ‘em? Rahm, release the hounds!” added Quimby with a spreading grin. “Ha, I’ve always wanted to say that, Burns.”

The 37 rental children fled and were not seen again, but the arf-arf-arfing of their pursuers could be heard well past sunset.
I guess this is what happens when you don't have a real argument...

Irony [And Sadness] Over At The Washington Post

The same day that the Washington Post editorial staff crowed about casualties being down in Iraq.
NEWS COVERAGE and debate about Iraq during the past couple of weeks have centered on the alleged abuses of private security firms like Blackwater USA. Getting such firms into a legal regime is vital, as we've said. But meanwhile, some seemingly important facts about the main subject of discussion last month -- whether there has been a decrease in violence in Iraq -- have gotten relatively little attention. A congressional study and several news stories in September questioned reports by the U.S. military that casualties were down. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), challenging the testimony of Gen. David H. Petraeus, asserted that "civilian deaths have risen" during this year's surge of American forces.

A month later, there isn't much room for such debate, at least about the latest figures. In September, Iraqi civilian deaths were down 52 percent from August and 77 percent from September 2006, according to the Web site icasualties.org. The Iraqi Health Ministry and the Associated Press reported similar results. U.S. soldiers killed in action numbered 43 -- down 43 percent from August and 64 percent from May, which had the highest monthly figure so far this year. The American combat death total was the lowest since July 2006 and was one of the five lowest monthly counts since the insurgency in Iraq took off in April 2004.
They also announced the death of their first reporter in the region since the war in Iraq began.
“A veteran Washington Post special correspondent was shot to death Sunday in southwest Baghdad while on assignment, the first reporter for the newspaper to be killed during the Iraq war.” According to the Committee to Project Journalists, at least 118 journalists have been killed in Iraq while on duty, including nearly 100 Iraqis.
Another Alanis Morissette "Ironic" moment.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

It's All Good With Gore

Al Gore has taken a lot of heat in his political career, you know that terrible campaign he ran in 2000 that resulted in him pretty much giving the election to George Bush (though the Supreme Court had a little to do with that as well) and that whole inventing the internet thing but he is making up for it in spades now. The announcement Friday that he won the Nobel Peace Prize is the culmination of his second career that also includes an Emmy, an Oscar, and now best of all, totally driving the right-wing batty!

Since Gore left the political arena after losing in 2000, he has dedicated his efforts towards something that many conservatives love to hate, global warming and mankind's possible involvement in the phenomenon. No matter what the majority of scientists say, many right-wingers will find one study or one scientist that disagrees and will use that as a reason for debunking the whole theory. Someone comes out with another study showing an effect of global warming and soon thereafter they are under attack by the right as being a liberal shill or worse. Enter Al Gore and his latest mission.

Used to being the brunt of controversy and jokes for years, Gore persevered. His documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" was immediately panned by the right, almost as quickly as a Michael Moore film which in of itself is an accomplishment. First they attacked the science behind the movie then they just attacked Gore. Despite the constant criticism, the documentary won an Oscar and ended up earning millions at the box office. Fast forward 2 years and Gore can now put another feather in his cap, as a right-wing lightening rod, oh and that Nobel Peace Prize thing as well.

It is definitely debatable as to whether what Gore has been doing for these past few years should qualify him for consideration, let alone being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That debate started 30 seconds after the announcement and right-wing talk shows and blogs have been panning the choice and pretty much taking away any of the prestige that they award ever held in their eyes ever since. But whether you believe that Gore's crusade deserved being awarded a peace prize or not, the fact that many right-wingers are now blowing a gasket because someone gave credence to Gore's mission makes the announcement just that much more sweet and keeps the problem of global warming front and center. Thanks Al and keep it up...

Crossposted on KELO Political Blogs

Right Up There With The Constitution

Rush LimbaughPlease forgive me for any spelling errors but I was laughing so hard my eyes were tearing up as I was typing this...and thanks to Sibby for pointing this out because I would never have found this wonderful nugget from his favorite unbiased bastion of truth and the American way, WorldNetDaily.

Rush Limbaugh is challenging Senate Democrats to match the winning bid on an eBay charity auction on what he terms as an "historical document". So what has he got? Something from Watergate? Maybe some long lost letters from Abraham Lincoln? Nope, how about the original letter (warning WND link) from 41 Senate Democrats demanding that Limbaugh's bosses at Clear Channel get Rush to apologize for his "phony soldiers" comments.
The message on the letter's eBay listing says: "This historic document may well represent the first time in the history of America that this large a group of U.S. senators attempted to demonize a private citizen by lying about his views. As such, it is a priceless memento of the folly of Harry Reid and his 40 senatorial co-signers. BID NOW!"
There you go, history is up for grabs so you better get on over and bid right now so that you can own this priceless piece which is currently going for over $40,000 (what the heck it might even be tax deductible). Now might be your only opportunity to get this magnificent "historical" memento that can only be truly appreciated by a Dittohead and their mindless following of the draft avoiding blow hard.

This will surely teach those mean ole Democrats to mess with the Rushman and shame on them if they don't respond to his challenge because with Rush, we all know it's always about charity and helping others! On a similar note, when will Rush decide to put some more "historical" documents up for auction, like maybe his arrest report for illegal possession of prescription drugs or his 1-Y (later re-classified to 4F) designation letter he got to get out of the draft for an operable pilonidal cyst? I might bid on those auctions.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Calling All Atheists

My new KELO blogging colleague Cory Heidelberger over at the Madville Times kind of stole my thunder on a post I was working on in regards to KELO reporter Perry Groten's request for Atheists to email him for a story he is considering. So for more information and Cory's take on it I would recommend you go read his post but what I find funny in between the truly hateful comments by some on the forum aimed at an admitted Atheist posting in that thread is why would an Atheist care if:

- Someone prayed for them and their soul?
- They were told they were going to hell?
- People felt sorry for them because they can have no hope for the afterlife?
- Were called immoral because they didn't believe that the 10 Commandments existed?

Apparently a person's religious beliefs don't necessarily have an effect on one's ignorance toward other beliefs, or lack thereof, just ask the person on that forum thread that keeps pointing to Bible passages in an effort to prove to an Atheist that God must exist.

Friday, October 12, 2007

KELO Goes Youtube And The Abortion Issue is Back

The video revolution has hit KELO TV with the ability now for bloggers to place clips from their newscasts on our site. I'm not sure how long this feature has been available but KELO Political Blog handler Jeremy Moser gave us the heads up about it yesterday.

So to christen KELO video here I thought I would put up the story from yesterday regarding the petition floating around South Dakota from the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families that also has Sibby in a lather. The petition seeks to tell our legislators that we have had enough in regards to the abortion ban and that it's time for them to focus on other issues and is in response to rumors that a new ban bill may again be introduced during the upcoming legislative session.



Before you watch I should warn those that have a weak stomach that abstinence nut Leslie Unruh makes an appearance near the end so be prepared.

Just Shut Up!

Ann Coulter, Please Shut Up!Taking a line from ESPN's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" I have to say that TV "Talking Heads" have no one to blame but themselves when they invite diarrhea mouth Ann Coulter on their show. The latest to be offended by Coulter, other than 90% of the country that thinks she is a waste of human flesh, is CNBC's Donny Deutsch.

Coulter, whom is in the midst of her latest “get mindless conservatives to buy my book where I again rip liberals with outlandish slurs” book tour, appeared on Deutsch's show "The Big Idea" and proceeded to offend another in a growing group of people when she said that Jews need to be "perfected into Christians".
Appearing on "The Big Idea" with host Donny Deutsch on Monday, she said Christians were tolerant of racial diversity but that it "would be a lot easier" for Jews if they were to become Christians.
Of course Deutsch, who is a self described practicing Jew, is now feigning offense.
Deutsch, who described himself as a practicing Jew on the show, was clearly dismayed by the remarks, which he called "hateful" and "antisemitic," according to a transcript published on the Web by Editor and Publisher.
Given Coulter's penchant for hate speech, what did Deutsch expect? During her previous “get mindless conservatives to buy my book where I again rip liberals with outlandish slurs” book tour Coulter appeared on Deutsch's show and said that former President Bill Clinton showed "some level of latent homosexuality" so it's not like he shouldn't have expected it. But then again I am sure he is eating up the publicity he is now getting and herein lies the problem.

Coulter, who has nothing to offer humanity, knows that the only way she can get people to buy her waste of paper is to be outspoken and generate headlines. It isn't a new tactic for her and everybody knows it. These headlines sell her books and generate ratings for those that allow her to waste bandwidth, so acting offended when Coulter does what everybody knows she is going to do just doesn't hold water. Deutsch got exactly what he bargained for when he gave her a platform to spew and if those in the media don't like it all they have to do is stop putting her in a position to do it.


Who Has Had A Better 7 Years?

When George Bush was given the 2000 Presidential election over Al Gore despite a lack of the popular vote, who would have thought how different the 2 players lives would have been since.

George Bush, who is finishing up his 2nd 4 years in the White House has been quite busy since 2000. Other than the obvious of winning a second term, Bush has gotten our country involved in a war based on lies that we can't seem to get out of, authorized the eavesdropping on US citizens without warrants, and put the torture of suspects back into our interrogation repertoire among many other "accomplishments".

Gore on the other hand might have a hard time competing with that. In the 7 years since he had the election taken from him all he has done with his time is fight to save the environment, win an Emmy, an Oscar, and just this morning it was announced that he has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

So who do you think has done more for America in the past 7 years?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Coming To An Airport Checkpoint Near You

Remember the scene from the Schwarzenegger classic sci-fi flick "Total Recall" where a machine scanned the bodies of arriving passengers on Mars looking for weapons? At the time it seemed quite a ways out based on the technology of the day, but not anymore. About a year ago I mentioned a new airport security tool being tested at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport that would scan the body looking for explosives as well as weapons. The unit used backscatter (similar to xray) technology and presented an image that isn't for the modest at heart.

That unit is still being tested but it is now being joined by another similar unit called the L-3 ProVision millimeter wave from L-3 Communications which is well known in the airport security business as they already provide Explosive Detection Systems (EDS) for many of the larger 400 plus commercial airports in the US. As with the backscatter unit, the L-3 ProVision, which uses what is called millimeter wave technology, is designed to replace the standard metal detectors at airport security checkpoints and would add the ability to scan for metal, ceramic, liquids and plastic objects hidden even under layers of clothing that could possibly be missed by your standard metal detector.

WaveAlso like the backscatter unit, it outputs an image that some will not be very happy with. The unit software has the ability to blur the image somewhat as depicted in the promotional image shown here but there are some privacy experts that have taken issue with the images produced.

"If you want to see a naked body, this is a naked body," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's program on technology and liberty.

Airport installations of this unit would have the image display portion placed in a private screening room out of the view of the public and could be setup to only show images to TSA personnel when an actual alarm is detected.

So when could we see something like this is Sioux Falls? I would have to say not anytime soon as I see a few potential pitfalls for placement here (other than the obvious modesty ones). First off it costs from $100,000 to $120,000 each but the major stumbling block is that it is rumored to only have a throughput of around 200 people per hour. That may sound like a lot but in busier airports like Sioux Falls which would only probably have room for one, that could slow down the screening which is already not known for speed. In airports with multiple lanes like Phoenix Sky Harbor where it is currently being tested that isn't as big of an issue.

Whether or not the L-3 ProVision gets placed in an airport near you, it is still quite cool to see technology catching up with what at one time had only been a movie fantasy.

No Kidding

Far be it for me to criticize a headline from a MSM outlet as mine usually leave something to be desired but I just couldn't pass up this one from today's Rapid City Journal.

Bandits may be linked to robbery spree


Do ya think?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There Is No Crying In Baseball

At least that what Tom Hanks said. Unfortunately Yankee homer Suzyn Waldman didn't get the message.



Now besides Waldman, we had to deal with TBS's Chip Karay drooling over the Yankee's all throughout the broadcast with every hit being the beginning of a Yankee rally! And now "All Yankees All the Time" ESPN radio is dedicating most of their baseball coverage after the series to the Yankees off season. Heh guys, believe it or not there are still 4 teams playing and guess what? One of them actually beat the vaunted Yanks and is playing their other favorite, the BoSox though you'd be hard pressed to figure that out listening to some of ESPN's talking heads...

Not Good For A Presidential Candidate

From the National Enquirer so it must be true department.

The supermarket tabloid is reporting that John Edwards has been having an affair with a former campaign worker and has the emails to prove it...supposedly.
A source close to the woman, whose name is being withheld by The NATIONAL ENQUIRER, says that she confessed to having an affair in phone calls and emails, saying that her work with Edwards soon exploded into romance. The shocking allegation — if proven true — could devastate the Democratic hopeful's campaign, especially because John's devoted wife Elizabeth is locked in a desperate battle with breast cancer.

"The affair started about 18 months ago," a friend says the woman confessed to her. "When they met at a bar, sparks flew immediately.
An Edwards spokesman is denying this story and considering the source you should take it with a grain of salt but if true you can bet that Edwards, whom has often employed his cancer stricken wife to help in his campaign, is in deep deep trouble.

More to come for sure especially if this woman is from outer space and is pregnant with Edwards' illegitimate alien baby.

UPDATE: Apparently Ann Coulter has latched onto this as well during her "get mindless conservatives to buy my book where I again rip liberals with outlandish slurs" media tour so I would imagine that this story will have some legs for awhile even considering the one and only source and the so far lack of reporting on the issue in the MSM.

Letters From The Edge

The war dodging chickenhawk Rush Limbaugh really brings out the best in his listeners. Brandon Friedman from VoteVets.org has a nice sampling of the email his organization has received from the Limbaugh faithful after they called him out on his "phony soldiers" comments. I particularly like this one:
Subject: TRAITORS

i am a patriot. i listen to Rush Limbaugh every single day. and i know who you people are. you are traitors. you do not support this country. you do NOT support the troops nor the mission. most Americans see you for who you are. you are traitors. you have stood against America every step of the way and WE stand against you. you are partisan hacks and traitors. enjoy the reputation you so rightly deserve.
Gee a group made up of Iraq and Afghan war vets are unpatriotic? I am sure that hurts coming from someone who wants everyone to know that they have religiously listened to a man who managed to wiggle his way out of serving because of a cyst for a whole 15 years! For some more compassionate conservative love check out some of the other letters from the Dittoheads.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Argus Responds

Patrick Lalley from the Argus Leader Voices blog gives his reasons as to why no one from the Argus including himself, Kranz, etc. has reviewed the Lauck book “Daschle V. Thune - Anatomy of a High-Plains Senate Race” .
There’s a few reasons why Jon’s book hasn’t been publicized in the paper as of yet. First of all, some of us, including me, David Kranz and other Argus Leader folks, are in the book. I have a copy, signed and personalized by Mr. Lauck by the way, but I haven’t read the whole thing. So I can’t say for certain, but I’m fairly confident that most other media outlets don’t have the issue that we have.

It would be unethical — and probably not fair to Jon — if I or Kranz or anybody involved in the coverage of that campaign were to write about the book. Given that attacking this newspaper specifically — and many days me personally — was part of Thune campaign manager Dick Wadham’s strategy, it’s questionable whether we should write about the book at all.

Let me just say that again, WE ARE IN THE BOOK. That’s the key issue. I’ve told Jon this.
There you have it, and in case you missed it somehow, they're in the book...

Now Here's An Idea

Not much time today because of work requirements but there is an Op-Ed in the Argus that explains another recourse for those that believe Roger Hunt's secret donor debacle was wrong.
Even if the judge was correct in ruling that Hunt broke no laws, the people do have recourse. Hunt has broken an unspoken agreement. He has transgressed our state's expectations of openness. South Dakota is not Sicily, and it is not Malaysia. We don't put up with that sort of thing.

Voters in Hunt's district should let him know by voting against him next time. Everyone else in the state should loudly complain and not let him forget it until he is out of office. No matter how just Hunt feels his campaign is, the means do not justify the end. We live in an open society that respects the rule of law and flourishes because of the interaction between the two. Let's not forget it.
So simple but so correct and it doesn't include Larry Long, Chris Nelson, nor would it cost one penny in tax dollars...

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Argus Sucks?!

The Argus Leader has always been a lightening rod for criticism. Its editors have been slammed for just about everything from ignoring the Hildebrand-Tewes embezzlement scandal, after they broke it by the way, to the latest blog scandal which involves ignoring the book written by super secret Thune paid former blogger Jon Lauck. His book "Daschle V. Thune - Anatomy of a High-Plains Senate Race" has been discussed at great length by many bloggers as well as several South Dakota MSM outlets including the Rapid City Journal and KEVN TV.

Of course to date, the Argus hasn't spent on inch of coverage on the book and many are giving them the business over that fact. So why has Kranz and company ignored the book while talking about several other books? Since they are eerily silent on the matter one can only speculate. The right will tell you it is their liberal bias showing while others will mention that it could just be a bit of revenge as Lauck spent countless posts back during the 2004 campaign ripping Kranz and the Argus on his blog along with his co-blogger
Jason Van Beek for what they perceived as an obvious slant towards Daschle.

A 3rd school of though might also be floated. Some may believe that the Argus is ignoring the book because of the "questionable" history of the author. Lauck has taken a lot of criticism for his myopic onslaught aimed at Daschle during his 2004 campaign versus John Thune on his blog. While campaigns by bloggers aimed at candidates aren't new, these types of campaigns perpetrated by those paid by the opposition without disclaimers to that effect are frowned upon. Admittedly, if you dug deep enough you would have discovered Lauck's connection to the Thune campaign, though most readers would not have known this. Throw in Laucks' connection to the voter fraud scandal in Ziebach County back in 2002 and you start seeing a pattern forming. What ever happened to
Shelley Keohane by the way?
Where did Shelley Keohane get the documents which helped her put together the Eunice Taylor stunt? After questions about Keohane's report were first raised, this post appeared on the KSFY website saying that she got them from "a personal friend who volunteers for John Thune's campaign."


It turns out, according to TPM's sources, that the 'personal friend' was a Sioux Falls lawyer named Jon K. Lauck, who happens to be the Chairman of Lawyers for Thune Committee. Lauck's bio at the Republican National Lawyers Association website says he is "currently chairman of the Lawyers for Thune Committee and deeply involved the nation's most-watched Senate race."


And, surprisingly, there's even more.


It turns out that Jon Lauck and Shelley Keohane live at the same address in Sioux Falls.
No matter what the real reason behind the silence coming from the building at 200 S. Minnesota, the question is does anyone outside of the blogosphere care anymore about the Argus' editorial opinions? Bias or not, their subscribers are down, their reputation is questionable at best and I try to use them for a source as little as possible because they remove online content shortly after posting it. After a few month's they require you to pay in order to view the articles that at one time were available for free. Note to Argus, ask the NY Times how that pay model worked.

Lauck's book may or may not be the best South Dakota themed political book ever written but worrying about whether or not the Argus mentions it is probably only a few steps higher on the "big deal scale" than would be a lack of review of the book on this blog. (I'm waiting for it to come out in paperback by the way...)

TransCanada Expert Says Pipeline Won't Leak

An environmental toxicologist hired by TransCanada is assuring us that the chance of a leak anywhere along the 220 miles of oil pipeline proposed to run through South Dakota is no more than once every 41 years.
An expert for a Canadian company planning to build a crude-oil pipeline in eastern South Dakota says professional estimates show that a leak is unlikely to occur more than once in 41 years.

The expert also says any such leak along the proposed TransCanada Keystone Pipeline is likely to be "very small."

The comments come in written testimony for a December hearing by the state Public Utilities Commission on a request for a pipeline permit.
On a side note, doctors hired by the tobacco industry have been quoted as saying that smoking is not harmful for your health.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Never Ending Battle

F14 Maintenance

The one thing in the military that is as constant as death and taxes is preventative maintenance. Not only do you receive many hours of training on the maintenance itself, you also receive almost as much training on documenting and scheduling the maintenance which at times seems almost as complex.

The picture above was taken on board the USS Kitty Hawk during one of our at sea periods sometime in the mid 80's and shows the aircraft maintenance guys performing their normal in between flight maintenance on several F14's.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

The Campaign That Never Ends

Each day I keep hoping that the final vote on the abortion ban last fall would put that issue to rest, at least for a little while. Unfortunately a failed attempt to resurrect the ban during last winter's legislative session, threats to bring it up again next January, and the state's continued attempts to get Roger Hunt to disclose his super secret $750,000 donor have kept this issue in the news.

On the Roger Hunt anonymous donor front, the August court decision that Hunt's funneling of money from a secret donor through a sham company was legal put some closure on at least that issue, or so we had hoped. Yesterday Secretary of State Chris Nelson and Attorney General Larry Long announced that they were appealing the case to the State Supreme Court because for one thing, they believe that Hunt broke campaign finance laws. Laws that aren't for the most part even on the books anymore by the way.

Now putting aside the fact that the Circuit Court didn't agree and that the legislature changed the laws in question because of this case pretty much admitting that Hunt found and exploited a loophole in a poorly written law, what is the state's reasoning for continuing to spend tax payer dollars on what is now appearing as more of a personal crusade against Hunt? What Hunt did isn't right by the thinking of most that believe our elections should be open and honest nor is it legal anymore. The donor while still anonymous spent $750K and lost, Hunt is loosing what little credibility he had among all but the most radical right-wingers as witnessed by his poorly attended so-called support rally in front of the Argus Leader (headlined by Queen Wingnut Leslie Unruh), and our laws will now hopefully prevent this from happening again in the future. Should the anonymous donor be named? Of course, but when will enough be enough?

Apparently for Long and Nelson, not just yet...

UPDATE 10/7: Todd Epp believes that Long and Nelson's waste of tax dollars is a good thing and has awarded them his "Best Week Ever" recipients for this week. I wonder if Todd will be able to score one of his favorite blog post subjects Shawn Cable to host his awards ceremony, I hear his latest gig over at MySiouxFalls.com isn't going so well.

Friday, October 5, 2007

King Traitor

I hate to do 2 totally self serving sports posts in as many days but last night's Indians/Yankees game has so much from a Cleveland sports fan perspective to write about that I just couldn't resist. First off for a life long fan, the 12-3 Indians victory by no means has me thinking that win was anything other than what it is, a single win out of 3 needed to move on. The Yankees mastery of the Tribe during my lifetime is very reminiscent of the mastery Michael Jordan had over the Cavaliers from the mid 80's to the early 90's and that John Elway had over the Browns during the mid to late 80's. Therefore the win, while great considering the 0-6 record they had during the season, just means that the Indians were able to get the regular season out of their heads and can now compete against "The Evil Empire".

The real story in my mind from last night's game was LeBron and his Yankee cap. Sports stars from a city's other sports teams often attend the games for that other team especially during the playoffs. In fact I can remember several Tribe players showing up when LeBron's Cavs were in the middle of their run to the finals last summer. I can also understand that more often than not those players, while not necessarily fans of that cities other team, will rarely if ever wear the colors of the opposing team. So Lebron "King" James showing up at the Indians first playoff game since 2001 in a Yankees cap is definitely not going to endear him to the fan base paying his salary. What makes it worse is James isn't from New York and is in fact from Akron which is just a short drive south of Cleveland!

Living in South Dakota as I do now, it isn't uncommon to come across fans from many different teams as we have no professional sports teams locally. Minneapolis is the closest big league city so the Twins are popular here but there are also plenty of Rockies and Cub fans among others, but for those born and raised in the Cleveland area, you are either an Indians fan or you just hate baseball. Not only do North East Ohioans love the Indians, we also almost to a person hate the Yankees more than any other franchise in any sport, other than the Steelers that is. (anyone remember the "I hate the Yankee Hankie"?) So Lebron openly wearing his Yankee colors at the Jake is just a bit more than this Cleveland sports fan can take.

Lebron's contract will soon be up and it is apparent that the Cavs will never be able to put the parts around him to win a Championship so maybe it is just time to cut our ties with him. Give him his wish and send him to New York so he can bask in the bright lights and big endorsement dollars we all know wants. Once in New York I would like to see him wear the colors of his favorite NFL team to Giants games, I am sure New Yorkers will not be bothered at all with him wearing Dallas Cowboy (yes he doesn't like the Browns either) garb at the Meadowlands during some future Cowboys/Giants NFC Championship Game.

UPDATE: 10/6/2007 - Well the 2-1 11th inning victory does help in the confidence arena for the prospects of another ALCS for the Tribe. The 10th man has always been a description given to a teams fans but I think in this series the 10th man award should go to the mayflies that hounded Joba Chamberlain into submission.

We're Watching You

Watching youFor some reason I don't think the folks over at TransCanada are too worried but KELO is reporting on a sternly worded letter sent to them by the South Dakota PUC. In the letter the PUC basically told TransCanada that they are being watched in response to the number of complaints of unfair treatment by those in the path of the proposed Keystone Pipeline.
The Public Utilities Commission has written a letter to a top official of the company that plans to build a crude oil pipeline across eastern South Dakota to let the firm know the regulatory agency is watching.

The three-member PUC can't influence how the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline handles land deals, but commissioners are warning that they're keeping tabs.
When TransCanada first conceived their Keystone Pipeline project and saw that it would run a full 200 miles plus through South Dakota they must have been salivating. Eminent domain, already a sore spot for many is even more troublesome in South Dakota and TransCanada is exploiting the South Dakota laws in the courts by going after land from landowners that aren't being as co-operative as TransCanada would like. While court involvement in eminent domain cases is not uncommon, the fact they can do this even before they have final approval from the PUC makes it that much more of a head turner for those involved.
Public Utilities Commission Chairman Dusty Johnson says he has heard the concerns of landowners who are already getting these condemnation papers. They say they don't understand how TransCanada can take them to court before the PUC has given the company approval to build the pipeline in the state. But Johnson says they leave that process up to the courts.

Johnson says, "That's not something we talk about with TransCanada they're not asking our advice. If they did we might have told them to do something different but we've got our process to work and the circuit court has their process to work through."
TransCanadaSo now South Dakota landowners are being forced to fight condemnation in court on a project that hasn't even been approved yet and if for some reason the project gets denied by the PUC, they will be out any costs associated with fighting it for no reason. But at least they can thank the state for our questionable eminent domain laws and the PUC for putting the fear of God into TransCanada with their "letter". And for those that say this could backfire on TransCanada from a public relations standpoint, I somehow doubt they are too worried considering that the courts will probably give them what pissed off landowners won't.

This Is Just Too Easy

Ann Coulter has a new book out so get ready for the BS to follow. Her first episode of diarrhea of the mouth is already here.
If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president. It's kind of a pipe dream, it's a personal fantasy of mine, but I don't think it's going to happen. And it is a good way of making the point that women are voting so stupidly, at least single women.
There you have it, the next GOP strategy from Coulter. Why does anyone give this woman a public stage?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Think Again?

Despite what some of those "in the know" on the right will tell you, the threatened 3rd party run by the leaders of the Religious Right could have a big impact on the GOP if they were to carry out their threats to blackball a Giuliani presidential nomination. Powerline's John Hinderaker thinks that in fact it is silly (emphasis mine).
The idea that this group of 50 can put up a new candidate who will have a significant impact on the process at this point is even sillier than the idea of a third-party candidate who will "irrevocably split the GOP."

It's possible that a group of social conservatives could support a fringe third-party candidate--Gary Bauer, say, as the nominee of the Constitution Party--and it's certain that a few social conservatives would stay home if the Republicans nominate Giuliani or, perhaps, Romney or McCain. That number would be about equal, in my opinion, to the number of anti-war zealots who would stay home rather than vote for Hillary Clinton.

Contrary to the assumption of many liberals, religious conservatives (a group in which I include myself) are not stupid. As President, Rudy Giuliani would nominate judges who will support rather than usurp the Constitution. That's the only significant role the President plays with respect to social issues. James Dobson et al. wish that they controlled the Republican Party, and Salon wishes they controlled it, too. But they don't.
Just maybe Mr. Hinderaker might want to rethink his position after the latest Rasmussen poll. According to that poll, a 3rd party anti-abortion candidate could pull as many as 27% of the GOP voters away from Giuliani which would tip the balance in favor of the Democrats, in this case Hillary Clinton 46-30%. So maybe you (and the religious conservatives) aren't as smart as you profess them to be, or maybe some liberals are actually smarter than you give them credit for being. My guess is it is a little bit of both but either way James Dobson and the rest of the religious conservatives he represents and their one issue crusade are providing us with a great service...putting a democrat in the White House.

The Ultimate ChickenHawk

The right loves Rush Limbaugh, every word he says is the gospel for many and watch out for the wrath of those blind followers when anyone has anything whatsoever bad to say about the guy. Enter the latest Limbaugh controversy, his "phony soldier[s]" comments that have gotten him into a verbal war with a veterans group, Media Matters for America and several members in Congress.

My RSS reader is full of posts of those defending Rush and either trying to explain why he said it or outright denying that he ever did. But either way, the question needs to be asked why is someone that never served a day in his life and who was able to avoid the draft and hence not have to serve in our last unpopular war because of a completely correctable pilonidal cyst even commenting on the patriotism of someone that had the guts to serve voluntarily? If anything Rush would qualify as a "phony" more than anyone that ever volunteered to protect his right to be the drug addicted obnoxious blowhard he is.

Maybe in the future it would be more appropriate for Rush to actually have a quality before he decides to call out someone for supposedly not having it?

Do You Know Us? We're A Baseball Team

Cleveland Indians



Up until 1995 most Cleveland Indians fans only had the movie Major League to fall back on when they wanted to reminisce about playoff baseball. From 1995 to 2001 the Tribe dominated the AL Central and made 2 appearances in the World Series.

Today the Indians begin their latest quest to win their first championship since 1948 against the hated Yankees. So here's wishing C.C., Travis, Victor, Grady, et al good luck tonight in game 1. Go Tribe, a win would be an excellent birthday present!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Silly Me I Thought It Was About The Kids

President Bush did what he vowed to do today when he went behind closed doors and put his veto pen to the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Democrats were quick to react.
Democrats unleashed a stream of harsh rhetoric Wednesday after President Bush vetoed a bipartisan bill expanding a popular children's health insurance program, gearing up for a battle to both improve their chances of winning a veto override and score political points against Republicans who oppose the expansion.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decried Mr. Bush's action as a "heartless veto."

"Never has it been clearer how detached President Bush is from the priorities of the American people," Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement. "By vetoing a bipartisan bill to renew the successful Children's Health Insurance Program, President Bush is denying health care to millions of low-income kids in America."
Of course Bush says he wants a compromise on this legislation and immediately offered to meet with Congressional leaders to work on some sort of middle ground between the $5 billion increase Bush wants and the $35 billion Democrats want.

At first I figured that the 2 sides would get together and start working right away or at a minimum I expected the Senate to quickly schedule a vote to override the veto as they have the numbers and then work on getting the votes in the House. But when I saw that they were going to wait until sometime in November at the earliest the light bulb in my head went off. The Bush veto along with fairly strong bi-partisan support is actually a blessing in disguise for the Democrats. All throughout the process it was touted as being for the children but now all of a sudden it has become a silver bullet for use in the 2008 elections.

Democrats now have as many as 8 vulnerable Republicans on record voting against children's health with scores of campaign ads surely to follow, it's already starting here with ads touting the benefits of SCHIP being run by Stephanie Herseth Sandlin that ask us to call and thank her for caring about our kids seemingly every time you turn on the TV. I can imagine that Republicans that voted against this bill will be seeing sick underprivileged kids being paraded around the TV sets in their districts to gather votes for their opponents very shortly as well.

SCHIP is a very important program for the health of our children and even President Bush believes it should be expanded at least somewhat. Democrats wanted us to believe that their $35 billion increase was for the best interest of our kids though it now seems that the $35 billion was more of a number that worked to their political advantage. The Dems had no problem giving Bush another $190 Billion for his war in the Middle East even after promising they wouldn't so how about finally doing something worthwhile for a change and make President Bush an offer he can't refuse.

Kissing ButtUPDATE: Will John McCain ever get his nose removed from George Bush's backside? I do hear that doctors have a procedure for that now.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told CNN Wednesday he agrees with President Bush's veto of legislation expanding a children's health insurance program, saying the bill provided a "phony smoke and mirrors way of paying for it."

God Hates Fags

Note: This is not my line but instead is the byline of the the church's own website "www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html" (sorry no live link will be given to these nuts) and was used as the title of this post to show just how out of touch these people are.

Religious wacko Fred Phelps' wingnuts from the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) were scheduled to be in South Dakota to protest at the funeral this morning of Huron soldier Zachary Tomczak who was killed last week in Iraq. For those not familiar with the Christian radical group Phelps started, they are known for picketing at the funerals of those killed in Iraq because they believe the deaths are God's vengeance for our country's perceived indifference to the "homosexual lifestyle".

I haven't heard any word yet on how many of the WBC zealots showed up but luckily South Dakota had already passed a law forbidding protests within 1000 feet of a funeral service which should keep them at arms length (though no where near far enough) from the honoring of a man that gave his life for our country. I do also hope that a few local folks were around to give any protesters vile enough to actually show up exactly the reception they deserve.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Fuzzy Thune Logic

As President Bush prepares to veto the State Children's Health Insurance Program or SCHIP as early as tomorrow, I came across an interesting quote from our illustrious junior Senator, John Thune. As you may or may not be aware Thune is against expanding the program because he says that it would cover people that make too much money. But another excuse he offered during the Senate debate is what caught my eye.

“Low-cost, efficient states such as South Dakota... end up subsidizing higher costs in inefficient states,” complained Thune during the Senate debate.

You mean sort of like low population, low tax revenue generating states getting more from the federal government than they put in? I am sure our gas tax revenues easily cover all the construction on on our roadways each year and are not in any way subsidized from tax revenue generated in other states...

Funding Without Strings Part 2

Funding The War PollNot only are the Democrats not keeping the promises that put them in office, they are also ignoring the views of their constituents. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 69% think that Congress should at least reduce the money spent in Iraq and to more heavily challenge the president over Iraq.

Part of the displeasure with Congress stems from the stalemate between Democrats and the White House over Iraq policy. Most Americans do not believe Congress has gone far enough in opposing the war, with liberal Democrats especially critical of their party's failure to force the president into a significant change in policy.

Note to Democrats: Pandering to your base only continues to work if you promote their agenda. Breaking promises can get you thrown out of office just as quickly as making them got you there in the first place and yes I do realize that you don't have the votes to get a lot accomplished. But I also know you are in a position to prevent some things from happening including the ability to stop giving the president a blank check for Iraq which you have so far decided not to use.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Democrat's Plan For Getting Out Of Iraq, Keep Funding Without Strings

Democrats swept their way into the majority in Congress last year mainly by promising to get us out of Iraq. So how's that working?
Thwarted in efforts to bring troops home from Iraq, Senate Democrats on Monday helped pass a defense policy bill authorizing another $150 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nothing like a total lack of backbone from the party in the majority.