Friday, December 31, 2004

Nick Gets a Pass; Irrational Peaceniks Do Not

Nick did not write an objectionable column today. Yet, he somehow has still managed to bring out the worst in me.

He is going to force me to speak ill, albeit somewhat tangentially, about the dead.

What a jerk.

Coleman writes about Mary Peek who died yesterday. Peek was a Democrat activist who was severely injured in 1970 by a bomb planted by a Black Panther.

Incidental side note: The Black Panther who was convicted of attempted murder for planting the bomb (and served a 3-year sentence) reportedly is now working for the Congressional Black Caucus. And Nick says the Powerline bloggers are extremists...

Incidental side note to incidental side note: The source of the information provided in that last paragraph is none other than Nick himself. So you should probably take it with a grain of salt, as Nick tends to have an infacility with things factual.

Back on task: The following passage near the end of the article practically leaped off the page and bit me on the nose (emphasis is mine):

"We have to do something about all the violence in the world," she told me when I saw her last. "When I think about the suffering I went through to get back to life, I think of that suffering multiplied by thousands. And I say, 'What are we doing about the absolute insanity of violence?'"

Today, the last day of this very bloody year, Mary Peek still asks, what are we doing?

"She carried her wounds to her death," said her son Tom. "But she lived her life in the belief that we have got to find another way to deal with things. And that takes real courage. My mother had that courage."


Two things occur to me when reading this: First, the utter simpletonesque stupidity of the belief in a World Without Violence; Second, the courage thing.

Violence-Free World. This is the typical liberal canard. This happy-smiley-face-Howdy-Doody-why-can't-we-just-hold-hands-and-be-friends-sunshine-and-lollipops-all-people-are-basically-good-all-we-need-to-do-is-sit-down-and-talk-over-a-nice-cup-of-latte strain of simple-minded BS ignores four basic, immutable truths of human existence:
1) Evil people exist;
2) Mentally deranged people exist;
3) Negotiating with evil or mentally deranged people rarely turns out well;
4) Often the most effective way to mitigate the harm done by evil and deranged people is to shoot them.
So perhaps, instead of perpetuating some so-called "cycle o' violence" - of which people of Peek's ilk would assign blame amongst all parties equally - those of us who don't fall into categories 1 or 2 listed above, should just lay down our arms and give the malefactors a big metaphorical hug. Oh wouldn't that be nice. They'll no longer be motivated to do us harm because we've stopped fighting back. Except for the fact that they are evil or deranged. By definition, they are motivated by greed, power, lust, hatred or malice, and the ends always justify the means. So once our peaceful backs are turned again, they will try to slaughter us. I have millions of dead Jews, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Iraqis, Afghans, Cambodians, Russians, Congoese, Ugandans, Spaniards, Englishmen and Americans to back my argument. What do you have?

So there is "another way of dealing with things." Find a cure for evil. Unfortunately, the most effective cure we have at our disposal right now involves bullets.

LearnedFoot's Conscience: Aren't you being a little harsh?
LearnedFoot: Shut up! I'm on a roll.

Courage. A belief in finding an alternative to violence is not indicative of courage. If that were the case I would go on record right now proclaiming that I am against rape. That's right: I dream of a world where the crime of rape has been eliminated.

I will now wait while my readers swell the comments section to this post with plaudits for my incredibly courageous stand against rape.

I'm still waiting...

Nick Coleman has not yet called me for an interview, despite my outrageously courageous anti-rape stance. Maybe he doesn't have my number.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Signs? How about bumper stickers?

It was only yesterday that I posted about the signs in Prospect Park, and today we have another example of those who refuse to put away the 2004 campaign. This Star-Tribune letter writer and bumper sticker displayer rationalizes it thusly:

"During Christmas Eve dinner, a relative commented on the many people who still display Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers - saying 'Why can't they just get over it and move on?'
Being one of this group, I'm writing to dispel the idea that I display my sticker as a sign of continued mourning over the results of the election. Instead, it's a sign that I will not be held responsible for the colassal domestic and international messes we'll be left with when Bush leaves office.
It's a sign of solidarity with those who believe that wars of choice are immoral, that the only way to support the troops is to oppose the dishonest policies that put them in harm's way unnecessarily.
It's a sign that I support protection of civil rights and liberties for all. It's a sign that I support preservation of the environment, our fundamental common interest.
It's a sign of hope that one day soon we'll have a leader of whom we can be proud.
And above all, it's a sign that I love my country."

Mike Gude, St. Paul.

Wow. That's a powerful sticker! Hate to break it to you Mike, but a majority of Americans feel that we already have a leader of whom we can be proud. Why do you and all the other con-Trib-utors always write in a fashion that suggests that the constituency to which you belong is really the majority, and that you have been denied your rightful place as guardians of this country's soul? And quit trying to wrap yourself in the flag. Everyone who reads letters like your's recognizes the common ruse that you and your kind are the'true patriots,' and that you do what you do out of an undying love for this country. We know better. We know that you actually hate this country as it is currently constituted. You do not subscribe to American exceptionalism, and you openly wish that we were not as successful and influential as we are. Go back to the Sixties Mike.

Fade to White

A grateful Packer Nation says, "Thank you."

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

"Signs, signs, everywhere the signs...": A Drive Through the Twilight Zone Update

You will recall that in a previous post, I was perplexed by the abundance of campaign signs that still remain in the Prospect Park area of Minneapolis. It is truly amazing to me that these folks would be so distraught over election results that they would leave the signs up, a silent but graphic protest of the outcome. I do not see this phenomenon elsewhere in the Twin Cities metro.

I find this one, and the many just like it in the neighborhood, particularly disturbing. This bedraggled sentinel has been occupying the same spot since late summer 2002. This homeowner did not even go the extra mile and get one of the new signs that say "Remember Wellstone - Stand up and fight!" that I have seen (but alas, have no pictures of).
Here's one that at least touts a candidate from the last election, nearly TWO MONTHS AGO! The small sign to the left of it is hard to make out, but it says "Happy to pay more for a better Minnesota." It is interesting to note that these signs actually were not associated with a political campaign, but rather, appeared after Tim Pawlenty won the governor's seat in 2002. The signs were hastily manufactured when it become clear that Pawlenty was a tax reducer. These people are "happy" to pay more and more in taxes, and they want the world to know it. I think I'll go ring the bell and ask them if they can pay my tax bill this April.
Sorry for the lousy photograph. This one actually shows the trifecta of defeat: Wellstone, Kerry, and "Happy to Pay" signs all in one yard. This is the yard that I anticipate will soon be sporting a "Hillary!" (yes, they will make the exclamation point part of the logo, just like "Wellstone!") sign, and I bet that one won't come down ever again either. This is just a start. There are lots more yards with lots more signs. I'll keep you "posted."

Stuff Nick Doesn't Understand

For a guy who knows stuff, Nick Coleman is pretty clueless as to what is happening to him. The substance of Nicky's column has already been dissected, refuted, rebutted, sliced, diced, chopped and ground into a fine powder. There's not really much more I can add to this discussion, so far as it concerns the substance of today's Coleman-meltdown. If you are unfamiliar with the history of this current flame war, Captain Fishsticks has compiled a compendium of links on his blog through which you can get to just about every post on almost every blog that has had something to say about this.

So I'll just step back a pace or two and offer some observations about things that Nick has trouble comprehending that have become apparent through his work over the past two months:

1. Coleman has a gigantic ego. He takes seriously every slight from us gnats in the blogosphere. Ever been told by your parents "ignore the bullies, and they'll go away"? That advice will not be taken by anyone who is constantly trying to save face.

2. Coleman is insecure. See # 1, and add to that the fact that he is carrying on a pissing match with writers who do not bear the imprimatur of "mainstream," and whose exposure to the public is a fraction of his. Perhaps his insecurity lies in his realization that Time magazine has bestowed said imprimatur on this "new media" by issuing the "blog of the year" award.

3. The MSM has traditionally bestowed upon itself the title of watchdog for the public. Now there's a new dog in the 'hood keeping an eye on the watchdog. And the new dog has found that the watchdog does often misbehave. No more free passes for Nick and his ilk. And he hates that.

4. Nick is bald.

5. The truth is the truth, whether it is proclaimed by a MSM reporter or by some guy sitting on the toilet with a laptop.

6. If you have to resort to calling names and ad hominem attacks, Nick, you have already lost the argument. 'Nuff said.

7. Nick is being sucked into the intake like so many seagulls on the runway. Instead of doing his job (reporting human interest stories), he using precious column inches in a MAJOR BIG CITY DAILY arguing with a bunch of people who are doing nothing more than engaging in a hobby (I believe that Rocketman once wrote "the business of blogging is blogging"). If he's not careful, he may find his career shredded.

And that would be a shame. He is such a rich source of material.

UPDATE: The Nick Fisk-Fest has inflated to national status: the Kerry Spot (yes, the Kerry Spot!) weighs in with a lengthy post.


Nick Coleman is at it AGAIN. Powerline has already responded here and here. Maybe that'll save me some work. I'll have to read the column first.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

All I Want for Christmas is a Hood-Mounted Death Ray

In his Christmas Eve post, Bill opined that the Christmas season was a time for setting aside our feuds and offering Yuletide Goodwill to our antagonists.

I do not subscibe to Bill's warm fuzzies. Rest assured that my silence this past weekend was not a grant of quarter to Nick Coleman and his ilk. It had more to do with my chasing the Little Feet around "Bobo's" and Pop-pop's" house in an effort to keep them from destroying the place.

Nor do I grant quarter to a segment of the population that I hold in almost as low esteem as the denizens of the Democratic Underground Homepage (DUH): people who drive slowly in the left lane.

I hate them.

Oh God, how I hate them.

Driving home from Milwaukee (motto: Beer: not just a good idea - a way of life) yesterday, the following situation and exchange between Mrs. Foot and me occured no less than 5 times:

The Footmobile, traveling in the left lane at a speed above the posted limit but below a speed which would necessitate an amendment to the laws of physics, approcaches two cars. One is in left lane going 65 mph; the other, right next to the first, is in the right lane going 64.9 mph.

LearnedFoot: Let's go buddy. Move it.
Mrs. Foot: Who are you talking to?
LF: This jerk-off in front of us.
Mrs.F: Watch your mouth. The kids can hear you.
LF: They're asleep. C'mon buddy, move!

The car in front of the Footmobile slows slightly, allowing the car in the right lane to nose out ahead. Then he speeds up ever so slightly, nosing ahead of the right-lane car. They alternate this way for about 3 miles.

LF: Oh my God. I am going to kill somebody. Moveyerasspal!
Mrs.F: Watch your language!

Finally, Mr. Left-Lane starts to pull decisively ahead of Mr. Right-Lane. He is now clear to pull over into the right lane. The Footmobile is unable to pass on the right because it is now right next to Mr. Right-Lane. A line of cars stretching back to Chicago has fomed in the left lane.

LF: Do you believe this prick?! MOVE OVER!
Mrs.F: Honey! Watch your language!
LF: The kids are asleep, and this guy is a SHITHEEL!
LittleFoot #1: Shitheel! Teeheehee. Shitheel!

We need an enterprising individual (or multinational conglomerate for that matter) to invent a Traffic Loosening Vaporization Ray Gun so that we can avoid these instances of Unfortunate Juvenile Vocabulary-Enhancement.

Just imagine. That whole ordeal described above could have been reduced to:

LF: Oh look honey: a person who desn't know how to use the left lane. (Pushes a dashboard button)
Mr. Left-Lane: Fizzzzzizzzzle. Fshshshst. (OR whatever sound a car might make when being heated to the temperature of the sun).
Mrs.F: Want to rent a movie tonight?
LF: How about "Elf"?

Ahhhhh. Let me bask in that fantasy for a moment.

Now, to you Mr. Left-Lanes out there: If you don't feel the need to use your rear-view mirror, I would be more than happy to rip it off of the windshield for you and shove it up your butt. That is, if there is enough room in your butt, what with your head already occupying the space.

And, Season's Greetings!

They must handpick them!

Another day, another batch of letters in the Star/Tribune "Letters from Readers" section that seem to parrot the paper's own position on the war in Iraq. In my day to day activities, I am not running into these folks who are so vehemently anti-Bush, and pre-disposed to disagree with him on nearly everything he does. They must exist in large numbers though, because the Minneapolis paper can round up a whole page worth of them every day. Here's one I thought merited comment:

"Betraying a legacy"

"As a World War II combat veteran looking back at year's end, I think it is sadly ironic that the so-called "greatest generation," which is getting ready to leave this world, finds it in such terrible shape.

"The war in Iraq is a deadly mistake, a costly disaster in blood and money. President Bush has failed the "greatest generation" in many ways. He has betrayed what we fought and died for."

Fred W. Booth, Minneapolis.

First of all Mr. Booth, I want to thank you for your service. And do not use the prefix "so-called" to modify the "greatest generation," because many people, myself included, know that it truly is great. The sacrifices of your generation paved the way for the post-war supremacy of this country. But I must take issue with your knee-jerk need to accuse President Bush of "betrayal." I am not sure someone who would use the word in this context even understands its meaning. The president saw a threat in Saddam Hussein and Iraq. He acted on the best intelligence he had at the time, and embarked upon the course of action he thought was necessary to protect and defend this country. He did this with a post-9/11 mindset. To have not acted in the face of the information he had at the time would have been a betrayal to his oath of office, and to the people he is sworn to protect.
Fred's is just one of many letters today that carry the same theme. I get to the point where I think the editorial staff is either making them up or soliciting them from a handful of selected 'op/ed writers' they have on retainer. Then I see the signs of Prospect Park, and I start to think that maybe they are out there, in numbers larger than I realize. More on the signs tomorrow, as promised in an earlier post.


Please note: The DKAS has lowered the threat level to GRAPE in response to a disconcerting lack of communication by Nick Coleman of late. Please stay alert even though the threat level has been down-graded.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Minions With Opinions

I love tearing open Christmas presents! I also love tearing apart the letters that the Minneapolis Star Tribune decides to print in its Sunday OP EX section. As long as they see fit validating the opinions of some of these half twits, we here at KAR reserve the right to lambaste them in our public forum. The second offering in today's section proved to be too much red meat for me to resist:

"A new draft plan"

"Surprise! Recruiting efforts are failing (Star Tribune, Dec. 17), and the military can't find enough young people willing to risk their lives for their country. [I am going to stop right here to offer a translation of the first paragraph from 'Liberal-speak' into plain English: "Yes!!! Recruiting efforts are failing!!! (Red Star/Pravda, Dec. 17), and the military industrial complex that I hate so much can't find enough idiots stupid enough to join the armed services and wage war in the name of Haliburton and George Bush's ego. Yes!!! I love it!"]
"I have a simple solution to this problem. [TRANSLATION: "This is really not a problem; it is the circumstance I long for. I can't stand the military or this country."] Before any draft is put into place, all children ages 18 to 35 of elected federal officials should be immediately conscripted, sent through boot camp and put on the front lines. [TRANSLATION: "I am slipping in the word draft even though the president has repeatedly said there will be no draft. He is a liar! I also wish to point out that the only people fighting this ill-conceived war are the sons and daughters of this nation's poorest citizens. Of course, most of them are black."]
"If that doesn't end the war, [QUICK TRANSLATION: "Because it damn well needs to end NOW!!!!"] the next draftees should be the children of Fortune 50 executives - then those of all elected state officials." [TRANSLATION: "If I haven't done enough in the first two paragraphs to incite class envy and warfare, then maybe this last sentence will do so, because we all know that the wealthy in this country got that way by exploiting the poor and disadvantaged, most of whom are black or hispanic. Fight your own 'war-for-oil' you fat-cats! I've always wanted to say 'fat-cats' in a Tribune OP EX diatribe!"]

Kathy Gillen, Ostego, MN.

Way to go, Kathy! It is very difficult to get a letter like this into the Star/Trib. Generally, they stay away from letters which directly support a position they take on any subject, particularly when they have just run an article about the same only days before. I'm guessing you were either one of the 60's 'Flower Children', or you just wish you were, so now you want to turn this war into your own Vietnam. Say it with me Kathy: "One, two, three, four, we don't want your lousy war!" Go help some college kids burn their draft cards. Oh, that's right. There is no draft.

Friday, December 24, 2004

A Day to Set Aside Differences

I've been thinking about this post for some time now, and it will serve as a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day entry (I think we can take one day off here at KAR, right LF?). Anyway, I've been thinking about Christmas and the spirit of the season. At KAR, we take pride in making sport of many on the left side of the political spectrum. There are a select few who are regularly in our cross-hairs, and it is to them that I would like to offer this once-a-year olive branch of a post. I spend so much time disagreeing with those on the left that I sometimes forget they probably just want what's best for this country the same way I do - we just chart different courses to the objective. So in the spirit of the season, I offer these holiday wishes. I mean them sincerely, and just want to remind them that KAR will be after them again once Christmas is over.
To Molly Ivins, whose screeds against the president and Republicans in general can often times peel paint off walls, Merry Christmas. I am sure, in your own weird way, you feel that what you do makes a difference, and that a "world according to Molly" would be a better place to live. Who am I to say? Maybe you're right. I do not think so, but then, I don't have all the answers. Here's hoping that 2005 gives you a few less things to get worked up about, so that I don't have to read your column and get upset.
To Nick Coleman: I know your heart's in the right place guy. I just disagree with the way you recommend going about the social changes you envision, because they usually involve my paycheck. We cannot solve every one of society's problems, no matter how much money we throw at them. I know you just want a better world for everyone. Who doesn't? Here's hoping that the new year will produce a few programs that we can both say is money well spent. Merry Christmas Nick!
To Paul Krugman, who has invited the ire of my colleague LF on more than one occassion, Merry Christmas. You are about one month into a two month sabatical, and I hope you are feeling relaxed and refreshed. We will probably never agree on the best economic policy for this nation, but maybe for this one day, we can remember that life is too short to get so upset that we cannot consider the other side of an argument. Merry Christmas Paul!
And to all KAR readers (that may be 14 regular as of now, I don't know), our fellow bloggers, and anyone else who happens to stumble upon this place in the metropolis that is the internet, Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Visions of Division Titles Danced in Their Heads

'Twas the night before the Big Game, when all through the Midwest
Football fans were bickering over whose team was the best;
They crafted their insults with the utmost care,
In hopes that of the other team's suckiness t'would come aware;

The Purple and the Green fans dressed in their team's threads
While visions of division titles danced in their heads;
And LearnedFoot in his cheesehead and Bill in his Viking-braids,
Set out to battle with their rhetorical blades;

LearnedFoot spoke first: "Your linebackers stink - they're not too quick,"
Bill replied, "At least our D-Coordinator is not named 'Slowik!'"
Undeterred Foot declared, "Brett Farve's a stud, a real trooper,"
Uninvited, Saint Paul exclaimed: "But your runningback's a serial pooper!"

LearnedFoot, insensed, into the Saint he did lay:
"The Vikings' secondary is sieve-like (plus I heard they're all gay);"
Saint and Bill spoke together each sporting an evil grin:
"At least none of them are hooked on Vicodin!"

LearnedFoot's rejoinder was lively and quick:
"Daunte only scored a fourteen on his Wunderlich!"
Then more rapid than eagles the curses they came,
And we whistled, and shouted, and called each other names;

The Foot continued, increasing the friction:
"The Vikes have almost as many wins as drunk-driving convictions"
Then the Saint displayed just how low he could stoop:
"Let's not forget about Najeh - he sure likes to poop."

When out of nowhere, a priest did appear,
He looked quite angry- his face bore no cheer,
"Like your conversation, the NFL has no class,
People will be watching football instead of attending Christmas-eve Mass;"

Foot, Bill and Saint just stood in stunn'd silence,
Somewhat ashamed of our rhetorical violence.
Then we heard the priest exclaim, 'ere out of sight he did lurch,

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Now is the Time for All Good Readers to Come to the Aid of Their Blog

Elder from Fraters Libertas is now taking nominations for the 2004 Blogs of Distinction Awards. You can e-mail him with your nomination at May I suggest nominating this blog in the category: Most Gratuitous Use of Phallic Imagery to Describe a Local Columnist.

I'm looking in your direction, Denbo.

A Thought About the Governator's Advice to the Republican Party

The other day, Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested that the Republican Party should "move a little to the left" in order to pick up more voters.

Of course this is a truly idiotic strategy. The evidence of its meritlessness lies in the fact that there is not currently a mad rush to repeal the 22nd Amendment so John McCain could run for a third term.

Nick Coleman's Mindless Rhetoric: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

I fear that I may be in danger of becoming a one-trick pony.

But when you have the opportunity to shove someone's own uninformed arrogance back up his butt, you must seize it.

One of my first posts was a post-election harangue of Nick Coleman's post-election harangue. In his November 7th column (which, oddly enough is no longer in his column archive, despite the fact that much older ones remain), St. Nick offered this mind-bogglingly snide observation:

You sent me a ton of angry mail, Red; letters giving me "a one-fingered salute," telling me the '60s are over, that I should shut my cake-hole, and sending me a map of the country that seems overwhelmingly red. Until you study it closely while thinking about where you'd like to go on vacation someday. Do that and you discover that all the places you want to visit are blue.

I had quite a lot of fun with that quote. You know, picturing Ole' Baldy eschewing Hilton Head and Vail for vacation hot spots like Jersey City or Delaware.

So I couldn't help but laugh aloud when I read this today:

The 10 fastest-growing states - from No. 1 Nevada to No. 10 New Mexico - are all in the West and South. President Bush won nine of them in November's election. The exception was Delaware, ranked eighth. The Census Bureau classifies Delaware as a Southern state.

People may not want to vacation in Red America, but they sure as hell do want to live there.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Stick it, Nick.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

It's All Bush's Fault

I take umbrage at Learned-Foot's (here-to-fore known as LF) insinuation that I am a skilled gift wrapper. I take great pains to make sure everyone knows a 'guy' wrapped the presents by messing up the corner folds or not getting the wrap tight enough. But I digress. Undoubtedly, everyone else has noticed the same thing I have lately if they are paying close attention to the editorial and opinion pages of their local papers. If something is screwed up, it's Bush's fault. It does not matter what it is: If it's broken, Bush broke it. I offer as evidence the current brew-ha-ha over fixing Social Security. Anyone with an ounce of brains knows that the system has been under-funded for future recipients for many years now. From its inception, the program has been a grandiose ponzi scheme. It has just lasted a little longer than most because - with apologies to P.T. Barnum - there's one born every minute, and participation is mandatory. Anyway, the only person in the room who won't ignore the elephant is Bush, and for that, he is castigated. I read something the other day from a Star/Trib reader who opined that, and I paraphrase, "Bush has probably ruined the retirement plans of millions by messing with their safety net." As LF is fond of saying; where do I begin? I guess the first place to go would be to explain to this person that Bush has not even done anything yet. He has rightly proposed major changes to the system, but he has not done anything yet. How has he "messed with their safety net?" To point out to someone of this attitude that Bush is very likely the person who could save many people's hopes for retirement would be a waste of words. He or she is likely just now paying attention to the social security issue, ironically because Bush is proposing fixing it. And paying closer attention of late has caused them to learn, through osmosis or divine intervention, that social security is going broke. "Well, that must be Bush's fault! He's in office. He's an idiot. And I hate him. He must be at the bottom of this mess!" After all, if Bush is responsible for global warming, the worst economy since the Great Depression, war across the planet, famine and AIDS in Africa, illegal immigration, the disappearance of the rain forest, and athlete's foot, he must have wrecked social security as well. Does anyone else get the same cartoon bubble I do when reading opinion pieces from people like this? I see someone cowering in fear in the corner, peeking out every once in a while to ask if Bush is out of office yet. The sky is always falling in their world - and it's all Bush's fault!


Former Strib sports columnist Dan Barreiro would write the occasional "mailbag piece" during slow sports news cycles. I believe he called them "Ask Dr. Dan". They were usually interesting and always entertaining. Unfortunately for us, Dan abandoned his excellent sports column to pursue radio broadcasting mediocrity. The former sports writer now hosts an afternoon talk show on "Minnesota's Sports Leader" which concerns itself with...current events. I think Barreiro felt that he didn't hold enough gravitas as a sports guy.

As a tribute to our lost Dr. Dan, I think it's time to answer some questions from our 12 readers:

Q: So, Mr. Foot, tell us about yourself. -A. Stawker, Farmington.
LearnedFoot: I was born in the same hospital in which Dr. Jack Kavorkian used to do his rounds (true), and my high school was located ten blocks from Jeffrey Dahmer's apartment (also true). At least this Cloud o' Death didn't follow me when I moved to the Twin Cities in the early nineties.

Q: Why hasn't V-Toed-Bill been posting much lately? -L. Foote, Apple Valley.
LF: VTB has been very busy lately. During the week before last, VTB was in charge of his company's national sales meeting. For this, VTB had to organize the nightly tours of the local strip joints. During the day, he had to facilitate workshops that involved conversations featuring phrases such as "we must leverage our synergies by upsourcing our core competencies, while simultaneously cantilevering our supply chain with a view toward expanding our buttressed proceeds."
VTB spent last week wrapping Christmas gifts. He has tons of gifts piled in his living room right now. He is quite a skilled gift wrapper - maybe too skilled, if you know what I mean...

Q: What do you think of the topsy-turvey NFC North this season? -B. Ward, St. Paul.
LF: The bad news is that it appears that the Packers suck. The good news is that the Vikings (keeping with tradition) also suck.

Q: I have an estate planning question: In my will, I bequeath my home to my son Alan for his life, then to his widow, and then to his children who survive her. Does the gift to Alan's surviving children violate the common law Rule Against Perpetuities? -D. Warbucks, Minnetonka.
LF: Yes.

Q: Wasn't that preceding question and answer about the Rule Against Perpetuities a little gratuitous? -A. Scalia, Washington D.C.
LF: Not if you consider that the study of the Rule Against Perpetuities accounted for about $1,500 of my law school tuition and two bar exam questions without a correlating likelihood that I will actually use it for the rest of my life.

Q: Do you have any embarrassing pictures of Al Gore? -T. McAuliffe, Morontown.
LF: Why yes. Yes I do:

Q: How about a funny picture of monkeys? -D. Fossey, Congo.
LF: You got it:

If you want to see something really funny, check out what Mitch found. (HT: Shot in the Dark)

Q. What the Hell is the matter with you anyway? -N. Coleman, St. Paul.
LF: Nothing - I'm just leveraging my synergies. Mrs. Foot loves it when I do that.

Monday, December 20, 2004

M.S.M. R.I.P.

I know I am not the first to weigh in with this verdict, but I want to comment anyway. The way that Americans, and much of the world gets news is changing. I came to a startling realization the other day: I have not read a news magazine in nearly two years! That's saying a lot, because I consider myself somewhat of a news junkie, and I used to avail myself to Newsweek, Time, USN&WR, etal on a regular basis. It was not even a conscious decision to quit reading them. Rather, it seems that the need to read them disappeared. So much of the news cycle has rotated on a story by the time Time hits the shelves that anything the magazine's writers and reporters have to say about it is, well, old news. And it obviously is not just print media. Many people lately are commenting on the demise of the major network evening news format, and attributing the decline to an 'elitism' and biased reporting. Both are contributors, I'm sure. But think about it! In my mind, these guys have simply been beaten to the punch. Say a major story breaks at 10:15 AM on a Tuesday, and say further that one of the MSM networks gets the scoop (we'll pretend it's CBS, just for Dan's sake.) Here's what happens: Dan or an available anchor breaks into programming to tell viewers about the big news. He takes about two minutes to brief everyone on what's up. Then he signs off with the admonition to watch The CBS Evening News for full coverage. Immediately, everyone that wants to continue following the story flips over to their favorite 24/7 news channel and CBS's scoop is worth squat. Others are following the story online at offices, the blogosphere is in high gear, and talk radio picks up the ball and runs with it. By the time 6:00 Eastern roles around the story has been sliced and diced, and Dan, Peter and Tom (Brian) have old news. Evening 'news' shows have become recaps of stories people have already heard about. I heard James Lileks' on Hewitt this evening while driving home, and he compared the blogosphere to a beehive, with the contributing blogs busily working to make the honey - coherent analysis of news - for people to consume and regard as they see fit. I hope I did not do too much damage to his analogy, but I think that is the gist of it. He also compared the networks' delivery of news to an elephant giving birth. I would say that in the not too distant future, he could change the elephant to a wooly mammoth.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Avast Me Hardies! Quaff Some Rum With Me!

Oh baby!

Looks like Nick Coleman Week is going to become Nick Coleman Month.

Like a semi-retarded child who keeps sticking his finger in the electrical outlet, our favorite Strib penis-head has done it again (if you look at the picture of him that accompanies his column, you notice that he kinda looks like a penis). Penis-head made good on this threat to Craig Westover to "address this in more detail". You can read Penis-Head's latest excuse for "journalism" here. I will also provide the links for Fraters Libertas and more importantly our newly dubbed leader Captain Fishsticks as, even though they have not yet done so, they will be loosing the Scuds later today.

Here, in part, is what Penis-Head wrote for today's edition (comments in [brackets] are mine):

The good news in my Nov. 14 column (I wrote a second column about Maxfield on Dec. 5) was that neighborhood supporters of the school had begun a drive to obtain reading books for the kids -- chapter books of the right levels and subject matters to fill classroom shelves and the library.

The results were heartwarming. Books and cash are still coming in. As of last week, the school had received $15,000 and an astonishing 20,000 books. This is an exciting story of an inner-city school overcoming obstacles to raise its prospects.
[Unfortunately for you Penis-Head, you are either too arrogant or too stupid to realize that this totally undermines your thesis. That is - our schools don't have books because they are underfunded; they are underfunded because evil conservatives refuse to consent to (yet another) tax hike; Public schools cannot subsist at their current level of funding and the only legitimate way for the schools to subsist is through public funding, not private largesse - a uniquely conservative value. Hey, Penis-Head: YOUR ARGUMENT IS BURNING.]

But instead of being cheered, the Maxfield story was jumped on gleefully by the enemies of the public schools. [Nope, we (well, actually Captain Fishsticks was) were again pointing out the need for school choice. But lefties like you, Penis-Head, would prefer to keep those poor kids on the plantation. All the better to use them as a baseball bat to pummel those whom you truly hate.]

Please reread the previous paragraphs and see if you can find the word "textbooks." You can't. [Penis-Head doing what he does best - semantic dissembling. In that original column, Penis-Head wrote: "How did we get to the point in Minnesota that we have a school in a minority neighborhood of our capital city where there aren't enough books." "Textbooks" is a reasonable interpretation of "books in the classroom." So Penis-Head is either a liar or a crappy writer.]

Unless, of course, you happen to be an ideological enemy of public education, [or a proponent of policies that actually help children, like school choice] like the full-time blogger and semi-pro newspaper columnist from the mean avenues of Afton [And where do you live Penis-Head? Oh that's right - the ghetto of Highland Park] who took the Maxfield story and twisted it into a rant against public schools. He blasted the St. Paul School District for not providing Maxfield with "textbooks" and not giving control of the school to the community. He has never, however, set foot inside Maxfield and he was wrong on every count, [on the other hand, Penis-Head has never paid my property taxes, so let's call it a draw] including his generic criticism of the St. Paul system, which is a model of accountability. [Which is why they had no books. Who was held accountable for the school not having enough books, anyway? I mean other than the evil conservatives who pay the lion's share of the property taxes that are supposed to fund that school.]

If I were Zell Miller, I'd challenge him to pistols at 30 paces, but I am bound by journalistic courtesy not to call him out. [That and you obviously realize that a duel is too manly a pursuit for you to engage in, Penis-Head. Also, Captain Fishsticks would kill you.] I will say, however, that his blog on the Internet shows a picture of an ancient mariner in yellow slickers, standing at the helm of a storm-tossed yacht. He looks like the guy on a box of frozen fish sticks.

After distorting the Maxfield story, Captain Fishsticks was reproved in print by Maxfield Principal Zelma Wiley. Since then, Fishsticks has gone back to his boat and confined his tirades to the first refuge of scoundrels, his personal Internet blog, where he is toasted by other rum-swigging hearties daily. [Hey! Penis-Head's talking about us! Thanks for the shout-out, yo! In any event, I believe that the rum-swigging hearties referred to are the Fraters guys. Although, JB prefers Bookers.]

I should thank him for helping me understand the extent of the campaign against public school funding, [as opposed to your campaign to keep the kids on the plantation] as well as the strategy of the pirates [Yar, matey] who want to plunder education funds [and buy me rum with it yeargh] and use the money for schools that will teach young men how to tie a proper bow tie. [in 12 years of private education, I never even learned how to tie a regular tie. I did however, learn to read. And the private schools I attended had half the funds to buy "chapter books" - whatever the hell those are - as your precious public schools do, Penis Head.]

Deep breath. Calm, blue ocean. Calm blue ocean.

Maybe it's the bloody mary talking (OK - the 4th bloody mary), but I think Penis-Head needs to be put back in touch with reality. He doesn't seem to recognize that by acknowledging our arguments, he validates them. Do you ever feel threatened by those whose arguments are completely meritless?

You can e-mail Penis-Head at Please be sure to point out to him, that instead of insulting us, it would be nice if he thanked us for our current and ongoing contributions to the public schools through our property taxes, before demanding that we pay even more.

If your children are in a private school (i.e. you are sharing the financial burden while refusing to enlarge the burden), be sure to point that out too.

And call him really vile names.

Editorial Note: I apologize if you were offended by my (intentionally) excessive use on the word "Penis-Head". It was not my intention to offend, but rather to ensure that there would be at least one hit if you were to Google the phrase: "Nick Coleman" & penis-head.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

A Guide to being Homeless in Minneapolis

I came across a very informative web page this morning. I was 'googling' the web for a story about the recent homeless 'parade' in Minneapolis, and before I could get to any stories about that event, I came upon the afore-mentioned page. The page resides on one of those sites that tells people about the various cultural and entertainment options in a given city - sort of a traveler's guide. Along with its recommendations for dining and the usual area statistics is a guide for the homeless, or as the writer calls them, "individuals who don't fit into neat societal categories." The writer, N.S. Gill, does her best to portray these individuals as pleasant and sprite characters that will help to brighten your day as you encounter them at various places in Minneapolis.

"There is a pink-circle-cheeked character recognizable from old Guindon cartoons. At lunch hour, amid the business-suited nine-to-fivers are buskers and pan handlers. A few of the buskers are only incidentally making a bit of money while they practice their instruments."

Oh, that's what's going on. These people are only trying to make money so that they may one day join the New York Philharmonic or the Minnesota Orchestra. Funny, the guy who accosted me the other day as I was going into an office supply store did not have the look about him of a second violinist. He seemed to me to be "only incidentally making a bit of money" to obtain a bit of MD 20-20. Gill goes on to describe some of the 'accommodations' available to the homeless as they visit the area:

"For those in the know, there are heated underground tunnels and skyway nooks for warmth. Hennepin County puts up a number of individuals and families at tax payer's expense."

I am sure the Minneapolis police appreciate Gill letting people know that they can sleep in skyways. And heated tunnels? I am picturing a Dickensian scene where the darkly clad street urchins come up from the sewers each night (Oliver?). What a way to spend a week in Minnesota! This piece at once seems to be both a guide for the homeless as they come to Minnesota, as well as a guide for those of us who will encounter them while going about our neatly categorized lives. It is once again an example of someone (Gill) trying to get us to deny our own experience; that homeless vagrants are most often in the circumstance they are due to very bad choices made on their journey through life. They can be hostile and menacing while pan handling, and may also resort to physical assault if they think you might have some more cash they can liberate from your person. I have yet to meet the "pink-circle-cheeked character recognizable from old Guindon cartoons" that Gill describes. Maybe he is one of the "hidden homeless" I hear so much about.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Always Low Prices on Kool Aid

A new, minor strain of Kool Aid emerged in the Strib today. These two letters appear right next to each other:

Downside of Wal-Mart
I read with dismay that Wal-Mart is planning a superstore in the Twin Cities (Star Tribune, Dec. 13). I'm sure all the other retailers share my dismay.

My concern is Wal-Mart's "Always low prices" mentality.

Face it, Wal-Mart can offer low prices because of the wages it pays its employees -- in China and here. Its other slogan should be "Always low wages."
James Hoch, Minneapolis.

They need the change
Anyone who is really upset about Target refusing to allow Salvation Army bell-ringers outside its stores this Christmas should just shop at Wal-Mart.

With its low prices, you should have plenty left over to throw in the pail.

And with the low wages Wal-Mart pays its employees, there will be plenty of needy people who need the help right there.
Anthony Nemcek, St. Paul.

The identical punch lines ("low wages"). The Haiku like similarity in style and cadence. The absurdity of their thesis (part-time high school aged and seasonal employees should be making $30,000 per year). The fact they appear on the same day in the same paper (Sorry, but the old saw "great minds think alike" doesn't apply here. Reread the letters: these are far from "great minds.")

Yep, it's Kool Aid.

Our Pal Nick Offers Blogosphere More Red Meat

Nick Coleman, once again demonstrating that he does not know how to use the delete button on his e-mail, writes another truly condescending and point-missing column. Even by his standards. The fur will fly, and I will weigh in on this later if I have the time.

UPDATE: Powerline has beaten everybody to the punch. Do those guys ever sleep?

UPDATE: Elder has discovered a new Coleman-triggered ennui.

UPDATE: Powerline has yet another post which demonstrates that Ole' Baldy is as petulant in his private correspondence as he is in his columns.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


In a previous post, I wrote that the current Nick-Coleman-bashing-darling-of-the-blogosphere Craig Westover was an employee of the MSM - specifically the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Craig pointed out in a comment to that post that he is merely a contract writer, and not an "employee" of the PiPress.

There are many who would say that this is a distinction without a difference.

They would be right.

But as an expert in agency law, I could argue it either way. Therefore I choose to give Craig the benefit of the doubt. The reference in question should have read: "real live person in bed with the MSM."

The Kool Aid Report regrets the error.

Searching for Jonestown: The Kool Aid That Will Not Die

I hate to rattle everybody on the same day we moved the Kool Aid Threat Level to Orange. Unfortunately, we have an already-existing, highly resilient strain of Kool Aid still running around out there.

Yep. Another letter regarding the Misguided Norm Coleman appears in today's Strib:

Find a better investigator

In his editorial counterpoint, Steven J. Boxmeyer took the liberty of painting the left with a pretty broad brush ("Dreamy leftists and the U.N.," Dec. 13).

No organized body is above being investigated. And I am not quite as euphoric about the United Nations as he suggests.

The problem for some of us is the level of integrity shown by the person doing the investigation. Our esteemed Sen. Norm Coleman had done plenty to suggest that he's just a yes-man for the Bush administration, and therefore his motives are questionable.

If only the right could have picked someone more credible. Too bad Rep. Tom DeLay isn't available.
Andrew L. Berg, Vadnais Heights.

Senator Norm is not a "yes-man" (the sycophant slight is a substrain of Kool Aid that's been around since Normie was elected). Of course it might appear that way to simple-minded folks like Mr. Berg. So, I'll write slowly for those who just don't get it: Norm Coleman is a R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N. And George Bush is a R-E-P-U-B-L-I-C-A-N. Could it be that they merely A-G-R-E-E on most things?

If we abide by the logic of those losers that call Senator Normie a "yes-man", couldn't we call said losers "Teddy Kennedy ass kissers"?

Maybe we ought to start.

Introducing the Department of Kool Aid Security

The purpose of the First Amendment is to facilitate a vigorous exchange of ideas. When this is working as intended, the results are beneficial to all. Wherever there exists large population of independent thinkers communicating their thoughts to others freely, there are bound to be some outstanding kernels of wisdom that are picked up by society at large, making life better for all. A robust "marketplace of ideas" inevitably leads to innovations in science and civic life.

If you regularly read the editorial pages, you will frequently find editorials, commentary and letters to the editor that all parrot each other. The latest (but far from only) example of this phenomenon I have chronicled here and here and here and here. One other example that I can remember off the top of my head: the use of the word "chickenhawk" to describe the President, Vice President and Donald Rumsfield last spring (I believe Tom Harkin started that one; that word then appeared in the Strib's letters to the editor every day for a week after Harkin's utterance of it.)

The fact of the matter is: liberals in general and Democrats in particular, view themselves as the "grass roots " end of the political spectrum. Conservatives generally have more important things to think about (like their jobs, family, etc.) to take the time to write to the local newspaper. We also see it as a futile effort, as anyone who is actually persuaded by a letter to the editor probably has the I.Q of potato salad anyway. But it is the liberals' M.O. to flood the marketplace of ideas with their inane messages. The strategy is to overwhelm the editorial boards with nearly identical correspondence. Some of these letters are dutifully published as representative of the readership's sentiment. They skew the true picture of the "marketplace of ideas" by sheer volume, pushing out other voices. Think antitrust law (of which all of our readers should now be conversant). In essence their strategy is to convince the reader to drink their Kool Aid because everyone else is. If you disagree, you are out of the mainstream. Of course this tactic implodes when there is an actual objective measure of the public's sentiment - like an election.

Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Or so they think.

Last night Powerline intercepted a Democrat communique to its fellow travelers outlining the talking points du jour. I'm sure we'll be seeing these turning up repeatedly on editoral pages everywhere in the coming days and weeks.

Therefore in the interest of National Sanity, and as a service to the readers, we here at the Kool Aid Report have devised a color-coded early warning system to keep you apprised of the latest, brain-numbing threats from the left:

Pervasive mass stupidity;
avoid all mainstream media outlets.
Imminent Kool Aid Dispersal;
Duct-tape your head to keep your brain from
falling out when the B.S. starts flowing.
(Hat tip to Glenn Beck for discovering the 1,002nd use for duct tape)
LearnedFoot has read something that liberals might think bears repeating.
And repeating. And repeating.
It's been quiet. Too quiet...
The last liberal has arrived in Nova Scotia.
Nick Coleman safely in retirement, or dead.
Given the credible evidence obtained by Powerline, we are at ORANGE Alert until further notice. Stay alert, stay aware, and stay with the Kool Aid Report.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Drive Through the Twilight Zone - Update

As reported in a previous post, there are an abundance of campaign signs in Minneapolis' Prospect Park area that will not come down. I took note today as I was passing through that the number of signs has now actually started to decrease, but only because one homeowner took down a Kerry/Edwards sign that had been standing next to a Wellstone sign since last September or so. The Kerry/Edwards sign came down but the Wellstone sign remains right where it has been since the summer of 2002. I wonder if the homeowner just forgot that one when he went to get the Kerry/Edwards sign? I doubt it. I am going to start taking some pictures of the hand-made signs that decorate the neighborhood and posting them here as a public service - and as comedic relief. Look for those right here at KAR over the next few weeks.

Too Much Gravitas!

This has been a singular week in the brief annals of the Kool Aid Report. First, I was compelled to post a rather sober defense of antitrust law. Then yesterday, Bill's Nick Coleman smack-down post elicited a positive comment from an actual, live employee of the MSM (yes Mr. Westover, the Pioneer Press counts as MSM. But we still love you!). Are people beginning to take us seriously?

Are we achieving gravitas?

Even though we are probably not in danger of being mistaken for Powerline, I do think it's time to run toward the puerile once again just so everyone understands where we are on the food chain.

Yes, that's right. It's time once again for:

Separated At Birth?
Nick Coleman
A Cue Ball

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Syl Jones Doing What He Does Best: Being a Jerk

If you are familiar with occasional Strib editorial page space-taker-upper and racist Syl Jones (he routinely refers to white Minnesotans as "Ice People"), then you know that he is one of the biggest, smelliest turds around. In today's Strib, he joins the growing assault against Christmas. Read it here if you dare. He closes his diatribe thusly:

At what point does a healthy desire to celebrate contradict core values and cherished principles? When does freedom morph into mental and emotional enslavement? Does buying into Christmas become a seasonal entrapment from which we can never escape? Or can we find the courage, in light of all the above, to finally say that enough is enough?

Christmas as enslavement? Uh, Syl: maybe people celebrate Chrismas because they actually enjoy it.
When will the Strib find the courage, in light of all the above, to finally say enough is enough to printing the screeds of this racist, Christianophobic douchebag?

Colonel Nicholas Coleman Takes the Stand

Saint Paul over at Fraters Libertas has invited other bloggers to predict Nick Coleman's response regarding the Maxfield Elementary column flap. I thought I'd take a different tack and imagine a courtroom scene. I see Coleman as the Col. Nathan Jessup character in A Few Good Men, originally played so magnificently by Jack Nicholson. I see Craig Westover of the Pioneer Press as Lt. Daniel Caffey, the character played by Tom Cruise who tears into the Colonel and gets him to admit his crime by questioning his character and ultimate authority. The scene I imagine opens thusly:

Bailiff: The court calls Star Tribune columnist Nicholas Coleman!
A set of large doors in the rear of the room open, and a giant among journalists walks to the witness stand.
Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Coleman: You ever served in an infantry unit son? Ever put your life in another man's hands...
Judge: Uh, Mr. Coleman, that is not an answer to this question, or to any question that might be asked in this courtroom.
Coleman: Sorry, your honor. I do.
Defense Counsel: Please state your name for the record.
Coleman: Nicholas Coleman.
Westover: Good morning Mr. Coleman. May I call you Nick?
Coleman: You smarmy little bastard!
Westover: I'll take that as a no. Nick, can you please state for the court your occupation?
Coleman: I am the defender of the down-trodden, the champion of the little guy, the Alpha and...
Westover: Mr. Coleman!
Coleman: I write a column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.
Westover: And in this column, you talk about a variety of things, is that true?
Coleman: sneers Yes, I write about many things, blogger!
Gasps heard from the courtroom
Judge: Order!
Coleman: Objection!
Judge: You're a witness. You can't object to anything, most certainly my admonishment for order!
Coleman: Sorry.
Westover: Do you recognize this column as one you wrote recently?
Coleman: How many times is the phrase "tax cuts for the rich" used in it?
Westover: I count six.
Coleman: It's mine or Molly Ivins'
Westover: Given that it carries your byline, will you take credit for it?
Coleman: I guess if it has my name on it...
Westover: Mr. Coleman, did you or did you not say in this column that textbooks were in short supply at Maxfield Elementary?
Coleman: 'Yes.'
Westover: Which is it? You did or you didn't?
Coleman: Whatever the truth is as I see it, is what I wrote. You can't challenge me on that. I know stuff.
Westover: So what is the truth?
Coleman: You want the truth?
Westover: I want an answer!
Coleman: YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! I sit at a desk 90 feet away from a coffee machine that does not dispense latte! When the tough issues arise in public life, like the peril strip joints face when college football prospects stop patronizing them, I'm there! When the mayor declares that everyone should read "The Great Gatsby," I'm there to spread the message! And when I think that the citizens of this state are not paying enough taxes, who manufactures a crisis in the public schools out of wholecloth and a few made-up quotes? You? I don't think so. I DO! And what do I get in return for this public service? You call me "liar" and spit on my good intentions. I'd just as soon you just say "thank you" and be on your way. Either that or grab a computer and publish your own - no wait don't do that.
Coleman: YOU'RE DAMN RIGHT I AM!!! oh shit.

Fade to black

Monday, December 13, 2004

V-Toed-Bill: PhotoShop God

In furthering our efforts toward our continuing assault on the intellectual property rights of others, I must hoist my Kool Aid tankard in tribute to V-Toed-Bill's newest contribution to the asthetics of this site. Note the little Kool Aid man next to the site header, who in the future will be sporting the KAR "insane talking point o' the week". Feel free to congratulate Bill for a job well done either in the comments section tto this post or via the e-mail link on the top of the page.

The Search for Jonestown Enters Third Week

This Norm-should investigate-Bush-instead-of-Kofi Kool Aid is some of the most persistent Kool Aid I've ever seen. Think: "We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia."

These two letters appeared in today's Strib:

Focus on Minnesotans
Sen. Norm Coleman is doing nothing positive for his constituents in Minnesota by grandstanding with his absurd investigation of the U.N. and Kofi Annan.
He could serve us all better by holding his party and his president accountable before turning to place the blame on third parties.
Thomas A. Moore, Minneapolis.

Ashamed of Coleman
Thanks for the Dec. 4 editorial "Going after Annan / A sordid move by Coleman." I can't stand to think about Norm Coleman sitting in Paul Wellstone's Senate seat.
Even people who disagreed with Wellstone on everything had to admit he was a man of principle. There is no evidence that Coleman has any principles at all.
John Clifford, New Brighton.

Please, someone tell me where this is coming from. This is obviously a coordinated effort.

Some more critical-thinking-type questions: How does it serve the public discourse for the Strib to continually publish a series of independently written pinhead commentary that all says the exact same thing? What exactly is the thinking of the editorial page editors that compels them to publish what amounts to the exact same letter nearly every day?

Constant repetition: Isn't that a method of brainwashing?

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Kerik's Path Set Long Ago..Others Will Follow

Bernard Kerik's withdrawal from consideration for the Homeland Security top spot is symptomatic of a culture that is beginning to reap what it sows when it comes to top-tier government appointments and the subsequent confirmation gauntlet. On the surface, it appears Kerik withdrew before some information about a nanny he employed came to light, possibly that the nanny was an illegal immigrant. Now while this situation may or may not have warranted Kerik's early departure from the confirmation process, I have little doubt that this good man decided the Homeland Security post was not worth being dragged through the mud. He saw Miguel Estrada. He watched Robert get 'Borked'. The sad thing is there will be more appointments of men and women just as qualified as Kerik to Homeland Security and other crucial posts, and they will kindly decline the offer, knowing full well that the skeleton in their closet will be found and paraded before an insatiable media. Did they get caught for shoplifting when they were twelve years old? Did they make deraugatory comments about a coworker or colleague and were overheard? Perhaps they had a drinking problem for which they received successful treatment. Maybe the next high-level appointee will decline to go through the process simply out of fear that something he does not even remember will surface to torpedo his chances and reputation. We are getting to the point where we are filtering out all of the qualified and capable candidates before the process even starts, simply because they do not want their good names besmirched.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Search for Jonestown: End of the Week

The Strib wraps up its week long homage to all letters anti - Norm Coleman with a couple of beauts today. One in particular seemed to distinguish itself in my mind:

Now that U.N. Ambassador John Danforth and the Bush administration have publicly taken Sen. Norm Coleman to the woodshed over making accusations about Secretary-General Kofi Annan without firm evidence, perhaps Sen. Blow-Dry can turn in his Joe Friday badge and get back to actually doing his job.
Tamara Baker, St. Paul.

Uh, Tamara, since when is it not a senator's job to make sure that the best interests of this country are represented and upheld by a body to which we (begrudgingly) belong? And don't sound so smarmy about the senator having been "taken to the woodshed." I would bet you will hear more about Kofi Cup Anonymous and the O.F.F. scandal in the coming weeks. The Bush admin's 'heeling' of the senator is likely only a diversionary tactic.

Kool Aid Can Come From the Right Too; or Why We Need Antitrust laws - No, Wait - Don't Close Your Browser! I'll Make This Interesting. I Promise!

If a burglar were to rip your car stereo out of your dashboard and sell it to someone else for half-price, would you condemn the theft statutes for interfering in the free market?

Of course not, you silly goose!

However, many on the libertarian right dispense this type of kool aid induced thought when it comes to antitrust law. To wit: a post this week on the Econoclast blog, which found its way to me through the SCSUScholars blog offers an amusing, but inacurate view of antitrust law:

Anti-trust in 2 Easy Lessons
1. You must compete.
2. You must not win.

Ha ha. Funny, but wrong. In order to understand why Antitrust law is necessary, you need to observe three basic facts:

1. Free markets. A capitalistic economy depends on vigorous competition in the market place. A free market produces participants who can manufature products or provide services cheaply and gets them to market efficiently. Competition takes place on 2 fronts: price and quality. The cheaper something is the more the consumer can buy; if the consumer buys more stuff then firms need to produce more; if firms produce more, they need to hire more people to make the stuff; the workers take those wages and buy more stuff. And so the circle of life continues. Those firms that are not efficient, not cheap or produce substandard stuff fall away from the marketplace and existing or new firms pick up the gap left in product output.

The free market's validity depends on the notion that the dollars floating around out there represent something of value to the marketplace itself - labor, a product, a service. This is the creation of wealth. Capitalism (and true conservatives, for that matter) abhor the redistribution of weath; that is, dollars that are not representative of wealth (stuff) created.

The last thing to think about regarding a capitalistic market economy is Adam Smith's "invisible hand". (I will not explain it here. If you are unfamiliar with this theory, follow the link). A true free market is an organic thing. The private sector can screw with the freemarket - handcuff the invisible hand, if you will - just as detrementally as the government can.

2. Forget what you know about monopolies. Monopolies are not defined as those holding 100% market share. A monopoly is the ability to exercise market power, not having both Boardwalk and Park Place. What is market power? It's the ability for a given firm to decrease output and raise prices profitably. In reality, a market share as low as 70% is enough to qualify as a monopoly in some industries. An illustration:

In a recent, highly publicized antitrust case involving a certain operating system manufacturer the following (paraphrased from memory) testimony was given by an executive of a computer manufacturer whose machines used said operating system:

Attorney: What did you understand the consequenses to be if you didn't play ball with MicroSoft? (Ed. Oops - I let the cat out of the bag)

Exec: They would raise the price.

Attorney: Would you have paid the higher price?

Exec: Yes.

That's market power.

Monopolies are far from illegal - they're encouraged. But if you wish to conduct business as a monopoly, the antitrust laws prohibit you from artificially restricting new entrants into your market. Otherwise, you are free to gouge the public.

3. The Antitrust Statutes (the Sherman and Clayton Acts) are horribly written.

Is current antitrust law perfect? No. Is it fair? Oh, hell no.

The Sherman and Clayton Acts are over 100 years old, and the courts still don't know what they mean. For example, Section 1 of the Sherman Act provides in part: "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal."

It took the court over 30 years, in an opinion by the girthy J. Howard Taft (no left-wing judicial activist he), to discover that all "contracts" restrain trade. Therefore, if the Sherman Act were
interpreted strictly - or even semi-strictly, commerce would literally grind to a halt. Therefore the courts have fashioned their own methods (they had no choice) of determining what is and what is not an anticompetitive practice. Being lawyers and not economists the judges and justices fail at this endeavor approximately 50% of the time.

So we should change the law right?

Two things - first, anyone who tries to mess with the antitrust scheme now, might actually be killed by the left-wing mob that will immediately form upon the news.

Second, look at the title of this post again (if you haven't yet fallen asleep). Most folks on the right don't have a problem with the way the antitrust law is written; they have a problem with its existence. The Kool-Aid they offer is that the invisible hand can only work if government butts out. Anything that the private sector does is inherently organic, and the invisible hand will rectify all misfeaseance. They point to how there will be inevitable cheating within any price-fixing cartels which will cause its eventual disintigration back into a competitive market.

But note, while libertarians tend to be well meaning, they often miss the point.

Here's an illustrative example: say all 5 of the major widgit manufacturers decided to cartelize and fix artificially high prices - or, if you've been paying attention, collectively exercise market power. Together they are enjoying the benefits of a monopoly without earning those benefits via the competitive market (i.e. being better, faster and cheaper).

So the widgit companies who, in a competitive market were selling their products for $1 now sell them for $2 by collectively reducing output and divying up the market amongst themselves. This goes on for,say, 3 months, until the companies start cheating each other by serruptitiously undercutting the cartel price. The cartel eventually falls apart. In a libertarian's world this all would be perfectly legal.

OK. Class participation time. Draw a graph: a vertical axis, representing price and a horizontal axis representing the passage of time. Draw a horizontal line starting at the vertical axis, half way up. After about an inch, have that line spike upward and plateau to the right for a while and then gradually have the line decline back to its original level and plane off. You should have a graph that looks like a bell curve.

See that big ugly bulge? That is a redistribution of wealth - dollars with no value. We conservatives hate that (see point 1 above). There's another way to look at it: stealing, fraud (i.e conning consumers as to a truly competitive price) theft etc.

That's why we need antitrust law. Just like we need burglary laws.

So here are the real rules dictated by antitrust law:

1. You must compete
2. You may win
3. But you shall not cheat
4. If you do win you may charge monopoly prices, but you shall not erect barriers to new competitors' entry
5. If new competitors are successful, return to rule 1
6. Paul Krugman is a big bearded butt-head

A Drive Through the Twilight Zone

My week long business related hiatus from posting has ended and I have some things I need to get off my mind before I go crazy. In my travels between the different plant locations of the company I work for, I pass through a neighborhood in Minneapolis known as Prospect Park. I am sure many local readers of the KAR know of the area. If you don't, let me give you a little bit of the local flavor by showing you one of the many, MANY campaign signs and bumper stickers that STILL adorn the lawns and microscopic cars in that region of the Twin Cities:

Can someone out there help me understand this? I mean, on a human level, I get the gist of the message. The spirit of the late senator lives on, his voice still echoes in the halls of the U.S. Senate and all that stuff. I get it! But aren't these ethereal assignations of immortality usually reserved for people who had a more profound impact than a two-term senator without much substantial legislation to his credit? Like maybe Jesus Christ for instance? What I am getting at is the idea behind the sticker, and the thought process of anyone who would paste it on his Geo Metro: That the tragic loss of Senator Wellstone has left these people so rudderless and devastated that they need to immortalize him in order to go about their daily lives. It speaks volumes about what these people think government is for; that the death of one public servant means, in their mind, the loss of hope. It is the same mentality that keeps these people from taking down their Kerry/Edwards signs, and the Wellstone campaign signs from TWO YEARS AGO!!!! I have to fight the urge to walk up to the doors of some of these people and explain to them that there was a terrible plane crash, Senator Wellstone died, Norm Coleman is now our senator, and you have been living in some sort of time-warp since 2002. The Wellstone signs started it, and now the Kerry/Edwards signs stay put as well. I fear that in 2012, we will have the Wellstone signs, the Kerry/Edwards signs, the Clinton/Obama signs, and President Giuliani will just be getting ready to be sworn in for a second term. Are there not neighborhood covenants that restrict the posting of campaign signs? I guess not in Prospect Park.
Eeerie Twilight Zone background music starts.....Rod Serling intones "There is a place where the time-space continuum has a fork in the road; a place where political campaigns never end, where politicians never die, and Liberals always win. It is a place we affectionately call, the Twilight Zone."

Friday, December 10, 2004

Moyers Inhabits Same Planet as Nick Coleman

In a stunning display of unawareness of the world around him, the psycopathically left-wing NOW host Bill Moyers had this to say on the eve of his retirement:

"I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee," says Moyers. "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

Et tu, Bill?

Liberalism: Mental Illness? ReRedux

David Horowitz's crusade against Al Franken's race-baiting on his blog has elicited the expected response from the KADs. Horowitz has posted some lefty responses here. See if you can find a coherent thought in the batch.

My personal favorite is this one:

RoeHo666@aol.comSubject: You racist bigot, civil rights violating evil sons of bitches.

Go to hell you piece of crap conservative republikkkan you bigot human rights hating low life jerkoff, how does it feel working for Propaganda minister goebbles...

Note the style similarities between this screed and my mini-parody of Democratic Underground posters here.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Liberalism: Death Cult? Redux

I'm not kidding. If you have trouble understanding, reread my November post: Liberalism: Mental Illness or Death Cult?

Moron Mail

Apparently Paul Krugman has published another column. Why was I not informed?! Recall that Krugman promised that he would not be writing again until January. It's not surprising - just typical of Paulie's overall view of the truth (i.e. low unemployment means the economy is tanking; January means December etc.)

Anyway, a Strib letter writer has sipped from the Krugman Kool Aid. This letter illustrates well the divorce between liberal "thought" and logic:

As Paul Krugman points out in his Dec. 8 column ("Privatizers have invented a Social Security crisis"), no one wants to acknowledge that the real crisis is on Wall Street.

When baby boomers begin withdrawing from their 401(k)s, the pressure on the stock market is going to be tremendous. By creating a phony crisis in Social Security and diverting some of those funds into the stock market, Congress can save their friends and the "fat cats" on Wall Street.

It's just another bailout disguised as "rescuing Social Security."
Elizabeth T. Cantrell, Burnsville.

Of course Lizzy fails to recognize that for every Boomer entering retirement, there will be at least 1 new entry into the job market pumping his/her money into the market via a 401(k).

With reasoning this tight, it's surprising that Lizzie has yet to be nominated to the federal bench. She'd fit in perfectly on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Search for Jonestown: Fighting Back

Apparently the Norm-Coleman-should-investigate-Bush-instead-of-Annan Kool Aid fest on the op-ed pages of the Strib has raised someone else's hackles. This letter appears in today's Strib:

Just like the blogs
According to the Dec. 4 Star Tribune editorial ("Going after Annan / A sordid move by Coleman"), "his GOP masters," right-wing bloggers, a need for "juicy publicity," the administration's unilateralist approach, right-wing hatred, etc., were behind Sen. Norm Coleman's call for Kofi Annan's resignation.

It dismisses Coleman's actual logic by saying "no one has the slightest whiff of proof that Annan knew about, condoned or profited from [the oil-for-food] scandal."
But then, in a logic leap that a right-wing blogger would admire, the editorial says he should investigate administration misconduct involving Halliburton, Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Besides being irrelevant, one could dismiss these issues under your own "whiff of proof" logic.
Just once I would like to see the Star Tribune take a few deep breaths, relax and then argue actual positions. You can't win the argument by attacking Coleman for hidden motives that you dream up in your own little moment of "venomous fury." Leave that to the bloggers.
Terry Elliott, Lakeville.

Terry, buddy, c'mon. I've been fighting your fight. "Leap of logic that a right-wing blogger would admire"? "Venomous fury" of right-wing bloggers?

Apparently Terry hasn't been reading the KAR. We're all sweetness and light here. Someone should send him our URL.

Testimony in Marine Deserter Case Probable Origin for Future Kool Aid

The BS meter is going off the charts here. The only phrase missing from former staff sergeant Jimmy Massey's testimony was "in a manner reminiscent of Ghengis Khan." See if you can pick out the talking points that will appear in the editorials, columns and letters to the editor tomorrow.

Nick Coleman Still Sucks / SOA Update

Nick Coleman has accepted the Kool Aid from the master's pitcher, using the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor to bash the war effort in Iraq. I'll refrain from pounding on the arrogant little twerp's bleatings in today's Strib. The KAR got in some pretty good licks on him last week, so we'll leave it to others in the blogosphere. My bet is the first in line will be St. Paul at Fraters.

A great way to frustrate bottom-dwellers like Coleman is to do your part to make the mission in Iraq a success and donate to the Spirit of America. There is only one week left in the blogger's challenge.

Lefties donate to crappy charities like Emily's List and the DNC. You can help to preserve life to offset those who wish to take it.

UPDATE: Regarding my prediction that Fraters' St. Paul would be the first to slap Our Pal Nick - I was 75% correct. I was only wrong on the subject matter. Not bad for a blogger as green as I.

Shot in the Dark comes in as a close second, but is the first blog to slap Nicky on point.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Search for Jonestown: Day 3

This week's KAR Talking Point o' the Week has made yet another appearance in the Strib. By my count this is the fifth day in a row this particular color of Kool Aid has been offered to the Star Tribune audience. Remember: a special prize to whomever finds the origin of this pap. Previous posts here and here.

And now for the most excitingly original letter to the editor to appear since, uh, yesterday:

Investigate Bush instead
Sen. Norm Coleman's attacks on Kofi Annan are ludicrously ironic considering that the administration he so staunchly supports has had a secretive and lackluster response to the human travesty at Abu Ghraib, which the Bush administration is certainly responsible for -- even more so than Annan's personal responsibility for the oil-for-food program.

Coleman is chair of the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations, but has yet failed to investigate no-bid contracts for Halliburton in Iraq, U.S corporations that may have also improperly benefited from the oil-for-food program or the United States' improper administration of oil reserves in Iraq.
Sharon Sudman, St. Paul.

Chief DNC Kool Aid Mixer Ladles Out a Particularly Toxic Batch

Oh, Democrats: please please please please PLEASE keep this guy in his position for another four years. Today, outgoing DNC chair Jim Jones - er, Terry McAuliffe stuck his foot in his considerable mouth during remarks on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day:

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, in a special Pearl Harbor Day statement, said national unity 63 years ago enabled Americans to go forward and defeat the country's enemies, but the same kind of unity needed now was being undermined by Republican disagreements over provisions of the yet-to-be-voted on intelligence reform bill.

"While we as a nation are united in this fight, there are clearly deep divisions within the Republican Party, divisions that are impeding our fight against terrorism," he said.

"Moving forward, it is my sincere hope that the Republicans running Washington will stop playing their political games and start fighting for the American people, just as our honored veterans did 63 years ago."

Full Washington Times story here.

Uh Terry, the President is leading the war. People of your ilk are not following. Now, who's being "divisive"?

An Obligatory Shot at Those Democratic Underground F***ers

The Democratic Underground Homepage (DUH) is a rich source of material. The site features several discussion boards where KADs can post their inanities. Here is an illustration:

WiryArtFag: Is it okay to own a gun if you only use it to shoot f***ing repukes? [this is their clever jargon for "Republicans"] Im so f***ing sick of that nazi Bushwaztika I just wanna buy a f***ing gun and f***ing blow all those f***ing a******s to hell. They so f***ing stupid. Those f***ing jesusfreak a******s!!!!! Yeearrrrgh

TomHayden'sThong: Amerkkka's King George hegmeony globalization selected not elected Noam Chomsky capitalism sucks Halliburton. F***!

Ok, I made those up. The real posts on these discussion boards are much worse, and not censored. This is why it is official Kool Aid Report policy to never link to this site.

Anyhoo, here's a real post that appeared yesterday, edited for brevity:

Edited on Mon Dec-06-04 12:44 PM by Career Prole

***This coming Friday...December 10, 2004...I am beseeching you all to do absolutely nothing. I know it sounds like a lot of work on short notice with incredible logistical hurdles to overcome but it's absolutely imperative we have a large turnout for this. The biggest problem with activism in my experience is simply getting there. Many of us have beloved kids, beloved pets, or beloved whatevers we are reluctant to leave behind. Transportation is often a problem. You may have no vehicle or you're driving a nickel rocket you pray every day will make it through until tomorrow. Lodging at the protest site for many of us is out of the question. We can't really afford the rent at home. In essence, "in person" activism is priced out of our range. That's why I'm asking for your help not doing a damned thing this coming Friday. We can...every single one of us...accomplish nothing at all without a terrible strain on our pocketbooks.***

Here are some suggestions for some "damned things you shouldn't do" this Friday: The biggest sacrifice you should make is treat yourself to a three-day weekend. Don't work. Many DUers have been out of work for a heck of a lot longer than a day through no choice of their own and are surviving, so I want you to really look inside yourself and honestly assess your situation before saying you can't sit out a day. If you've had attendance problems and have been warned that you're skating on thin ice, skip this step. If, however, you're just trying to pick up that Perfect Attendance plaque keep your butt home. ***

Another thing I highly encourage not doing on "Don't Do A Damned Thing Day" is getting out and about if it's going to mean buying gas...because quite frankly you shouldn'y buy a damned thing Friday either. Don't buy gas. Don't buy groceries. Don't buy a Big Mac. Don't Christmas shop. You can do all this stuff Thursday or Saturday if necessary...but don't spend, don't consume...this Friday. Don't go to a movie, or even rent a movie. Go to the park or the beach or any other activity which doesn't require financial participation. You might find out you like it if you haven't done it in a while due to your unstintinting participation in the rat-race.The neocon machine runs on your money, and they are so confident that you will cheerfully hand them your money they already have this Friday's money spent. If you want them to see the power of 57,000,000 angry voters don't give them Friday's money! If each of us withheld just twenty bucks on Friday from whatever we'd planned to spend it on that's a billion dollar message in one day! ***

Time is of the essence. Tell every person you know to tell every person they know.Nothing would make me happier than to see this message show up in my e-mail inbox a couple of hundred times by makes too much sense not to not do a damned thing.It's only one can do it.

Wow! That'll really show us! There were several replies to this post saying things like "Finally, something I can do!" and, "That'll be no problem for me! I'm in!". (I'm not kidding I'll break protocol and provide a link to the thread here. But you've been warned!)

So a bunch of losers with minimum-wage jobs are going to bring their collective economic heft to bear on us. This must not go unanswered. I propose that all 10 KAR readers spend $20 more than usual this Friday. That ought to offset the DUH embargo by about double.

Oh, and one more thing: