Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Perfect Gift!

Those "kind eyes" must have looked especially tender when The One voted against the Infants Born Alive Protection Act, don't you think?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Job Hunting?

h/t The Nose On Your Face.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all have things to be thankful for. OK, we all have things to be ticked off about too, but that's not going to be our focus today. Let's get to work on our annual "I am thankful for" lists. The following is obviously not exhaustive, but it's a start.

DIH is thankful for:

- central heating.
- gas fireplaces
- wood-burning fireplaces
-basically anything that keeps one warm up her in the North Star State

-elephants. Elephants are cool. Smart, light on their feet, grand. Love them elephants.
-dogs. Love dogs, too. Warm, cuddly, loyal, loving. Especially labs. Don't get me started on labs.
- people who shoot squirrels with pellet guns. Hate squirrels.
- diet soda
- all modern diet conveniences

She is also thankful that:

- she is not a TV broadcaster hosting the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This means she does not have to claim to be a "big Smurf fan!" Did you see the look on that woman's face when she said that? Like she wanted to hide under the desk.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Where Is Bruce When You Need Him?

OK, Kid, Hand Over That Paper Hat Or There's Gonna Be Trouble

In today's LA Times:

For decades, Claremont kindergartners have celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans and sharing a feast. But on Tuesday, when the youngsters meet for their turkey and songs, they won't be wearing their hand-made bonnets, headdresses and fringed vests.

Parents in this quiet university town are sharply divided over what these construction-paper symbols represent: A simple child's depiction of the traditional (if not wholly accurate) tale of two factions setting aside their differences to give thanks over a shared meal? Or a cartoonish stereotype that would never be allowed of other racial, ethnic or religious groups?

"It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja, the mother of a kindergartner at Condit Elementary School, wrote to her daughter's teacher. "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history."

Raheja, whose mother is a Seneca, wrote the letter upon hearing of a four-decade district tradition, where kindergartners at Condit and Mountain View elementary schools take annual turns dressing up and visiting the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. This year, the Mountain View children would have dressed as Native Americans and walked to Condit, whose students would have dressed as Pilgrims.

Raheja, an English professor at UC Riverside who specializes in Native American literature, said she met with teachers and administrators in hopes that the district could hold a public forum to discuss alternatives that celebrate thankfulness without "dehumanizing" her daughter's ancestry.

"There is nothing to be served by dressing up as a racist stereotype," she said.

A Good Day For the USMC Is A Good Day For DIH

FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan — In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it.

Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district.

The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.

Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines’ deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.

“The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat,” said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. “Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our ‘humvees’ was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast.”

The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.

“The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they’re given the opportunity to fight,” the sniper said. “A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong.”

During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn’t miss any shots, despite the enemies’ rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.

“I was in my own little world,” the young corporal said. “I wasn’t even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target.”

After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies’ spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.

“I didn’t realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies’ lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us,” the corporal said. “It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured.”

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Hero Plays Ping Pong

OK, not really. But this is great. h/t Ace

How Incorrect Can You Get?

OK, here was my Sunday:

Read Politico, Realclear Politics, caught up with Red State Update online. Failed to so much as consider watching Sunday TV news talking heads.

Set daughter and her overnight guest to making CHRISTMAS decorations for out CHRISTMAS tree.

Attended church. Signed up for prayer vigil across from local abortuary.

Went out with friends and shot rifles. Also handguns. Whistled "I Still Miss You, Baby, But My Aim's Getting Better."

Ate red meat.

Went home. Prayed with daughter before bed.

Incorrectly, my friends, is the only decent way to live.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Is Almost Too Good

Thanks to Sonia


Obama's Girls Will Attend Private School

WASHINGTON (Nov. 21) - President-elect Barack Obama and his wife have chosen Sidwell Friends School for their two daughters, opting for a private institution that another White House child, Chelsea Clinton, attended a decade ago.
"A number of great schools were considered," said Katie McCormick Lelyveld, a spokeswoman for Michelle Obama. "In the end, the Obamas selected the school that was the best fit for what their daughters need right now."

28 grand plus fees for middle school. That's for ONE kid.

I wonder if they'll get a deal on the tuition.

And remember, Democrats: VOUCHERS ARE EVIL. Public school is good enough for your kids.
YOUR kids, that is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

"One, Two, Three...

...four,five.... twenty five. One. two , three...."

Across Minnesota hundreds of volunteers are chanting the mantra. "Piles of twenty-five. Piles of twenty-five." Then they add up the piles and do it all over again.

The Senate Race recount is by all reports going smoothly. It went fine where yours truly was posted yesterday. One challenge from the other side. But otherwise everything added up.

According to the morning paper the Republican incumbent's lead is now something like 136, with 46% of the precints recounted. They figure they'll have it all ironed out by December 1.

There is something weird about a race this close. Every so often one does get the awesome feeling that every vote counts, even yours, and you personally are a defender of democracy every time you step into a voting booth.
But then you get the feeling that there are way too many coin-flippers out there.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I am sitting in the coffee shop across from City Hall. In a few minutes I have to go over there to pull my stint in the Great Statewide Recount. I wish I could liveblog from there, but since the city-wide wi-fi the folks on the St Louis Park City Council voted in two years ago doesn't work (I hear they're getting some of their money back), I probably can't get online over there.

Not that there hasn't been much to learn over here in the coffee shop. Two men were discussing the situation as I stood on line to order my 1% latte. "My basic impulse is a pox on both their houses," one of them was saying. "Both fighting like kids."

This is probably a fairly widespread opinion at this point, but it's, well, it's stupid. Senate seats are not supposed to be a door prize. Given the horrific issues of abortion and infanticide, it's just a fat: lives are at stake here.

Anyway, it should be an interesting morning.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'd Laugh, But....

... this looks Minnesotan, too.

Count With Me

The great Minnesota Senate Race recount starts tomorrow, barring a judge's order or the end of the world. DIH will be putting in her shift Thursday am, and probably a few more times after that. It seems they had a lot of people volunteer for the first day. More TV cameras? Dunno.

I was listening to NPR driving back from school this morning. They had a Dartmouth professor on, explaining how if somebody voted for Barack Obama but left the Senate race blank, he probably really meant to vote for Franken and just forgot. So that should count as a vote for Franken. This is called an "undervote."

Of course, it could also mean "Look, I may be a Democrat but I've got some semblance of a conscience, and there's no way I can help send that clown to Congress." But according to Dartmouth guy this is not the case.

In the meantime I have today to work on my mystery novel. Here's hoping it goes better today than yesterday. When you have to resort to making vats of curried butternut squash soup just to collect your thoughts, that's not a good writing day.

The soup was good, though.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just Doin' My Job, Ma'am.

I was sitting in my office down on Cretin Avenue watching the snow flurries fly when she walked in. She had it going on, you betcha. Legs like a pair of Great Lakes sturgeons, eyes like the deep, dark pools my dad and I used to ice fish in. The kind of dame you'd scarf down a plate of lutefisk for, no questions asked.

"Mr. Desperate? I need your help."

Ja sure ya do, I thought, but all I said was, "Have a seat."

"Thank you." She looked around as she settled herself. "I, um, I never consulted anyone in --your line of work before."

Ha. Never heard that one before. "What can I do for you, Miss...?"

"It's Mrs. Mrs. Sylvia Carlson." She looked puzzled. "Or maybe it's Anderson. I'm not sure. The names all sound alike out here."

'Out here?' I decided to go with her first guess. "I take it you're not from these parts, Mrs. Carlson. Let me guess. East Coast?"

She almost smiled. "You're very shrewd, Mr. Cretin."

"Desperate," I corrected. "Cretin's the address. It's a major St. Paul thorofare," I added loyally.

"Mr. Desperate." She leaned forward. "Something very strange is going on. Last weekend my husband disappeared. He was gone when I woke up. I didn't see him for days. Then on Monday morning he came home, acting like nothing had happened.

"Pardon me for noticing, but you don't look like the kind of woman who would have trouble hanging on to her man."

"I don't. We're happily married." Another great line, I thought. "But then, well, some women were talking in the coffeeshop, and-- they said the same thing happened to them!"

"This was when, exactly?"

"Two weeks ago." She looked at her hands. She had one of those fancy French manicures. "And then," she said quietly, "it happened again."

"He took off again, huh."

"And not just my husband, Mr. Desperate. Everyone! Every man, anyway. In fact every male over the age of twelve just seemed to vanish! I went to the Costco to pick up a carton aof Vitamin Water and I had to lead it into the car all by myself." She looked pretty put out at that. "I almost broke a nail. It was horrible."

"Look, Mrs. Carlson Anderson--"

"And then Monday the same thing! He just shows up at the breakfast table again! "

"Hold it right there," I broke in. "Let me guess: he ate like a pig?"

"Yes! A pig and a horse combined!"

"Stank to high heaven? If you'd had a barn you would've told him to move into it?"

"Exactly." She cocked her pretty head and eyed me with those big deep pools. I swear if I'd looked into them long enough, well, I'm pretty sure I coulda landed me a walleye. A big one. "How did you know?"

I sighed, and pulled a bottle of Leinie's out of the drawer. "It's nothing new, ma'am. It happens every year." I knocked the cap off and took a pull. "Sorry, where are my manners. Drink?"

She eyed the bottle curiously. Like she'd never seen a local brew before. "No, thank you."

"Suit yourself. Look, lady, You don't need a private eye. You need a calendar."

"I always use my Daytimer."

"I mean from the DNR. Check the date, lady. What month is this?"

"It's November--"

"Right. And what happens in November?"

I could tell she thought she smelled a trap. "Thanksgiving?" she said cautiously.

"Well, yeah, that too. But it's the season that's important."

"The season," she repeated. I could tell she was wondering if I mean sleigh bells and elves. I almost had to laugh.

"Lady," I said, "the season! Hunting season! You know, deer, guns, bang-bang? Any of this ringing a bell?"

She stared blankly at me. Now I had to laugh.

"Every year I get a case like yours," I said. "Some clueless dame from the Coast wondering where all the menfolk are. Like you never watched the Deerhunting Channel."

"Oh my God," she whispered. "There's a deer hunting channel?"

I waved that one off. "Welcome to the Midwest, lady. Next time you're walking around the Mall of America take a look around you. See all those men? Forty nine weeks out of the year they 're pretty much like your east Coast guys, except they're taller and they can fix things. But for three weekends in November they're transformed. Thousands of years of evolution might just as well never have happened. They want to kill their own food and nothing's going to stop them. Not a beautiful wife, not a cocktail party, nothing. If you're gonna make it here in the MiniApple you better get used to it."

Ever see an East Coast dame at a loss for words? Stop by my office next November and stick around a while. It's quite a sight.

Friday, November 14, 2008

For Some Reason...

... this just seems apropos this year. It seems to cover everything.
LSJ, the nudist part is for you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

The MSM reported yesterday that Michelle and Barack Obama visited some D.C. public schools as part of their search for new schools for their daughters after they move into the White House. They also planned to visit Sidwell Friends School (tuition $28, 442, plus fees, for the Lower School) and similar private schools before they make their decision.

Gee. I wonder which they'll pick.

I understand their dilemma. I really do. It's tough finding a new school for your beloved child.

My first school search experience took place in Massachusetts. We were living in Berkshire County, one of the East Coast centers for preciousness, and we were looking for a preschool for our newly adopted daughter. The preschool at the Stockbridge elementary school (that's Stockbridge as in Alice's Restaurant, by the way) was highly recommended. I seem to remember it was privately run, but held inthe public school. So we went to check it out.

The preschool was run by a married couple who had been teaching together for more than 20 years. If you go to Hollywood and call Central Casting and say "Send me some aging hippies pronto" these two, or their twins, will show up. But they were very nice and pleasant, and seemed to really enjoy their work and the children they taught. We stuck around to watch a while.

Out on the playground a conflict developed. A little boy wanted to play on the swing; a girl was on it; he shoved her off and took over. The little girl ran to a teaching assistant, crying. "He pushed me off the swing!' she sobbed.

"Tell him how that made you feel," the teacher counselled.

Seconds later you could have heard an enraged child screaming "IT MAKES ME FEEL SAD WHEN YOU DO THAT!" for at least ten miles.

This did not seem like proper training to us. "Wait your turn" seemed more appropriate. Maybe even "Kid, if you push people around, one day one of them is going to push back and you won't like it, so a little enlightened self-interest, okay?" But they really believed in the rule of Feelings, I guess.

After we'd said our goodbyes we left the school by the front door. There was a sign taped to it:

"Stockbridge Elementary School will be closed for Memorial Day. Where have all the flowers gone..."

At this point the spouse snapped. "That's it! We're moving!"

"You're going to see this kind of thing everywhere," I said.

"Not if we move to Prussia!"

We then visited a school in the next town, privately run and not in a public school environment. The teachers did not allow things like pushing or grabbing. We picked that one.

Good luck, Obamas. Hope you find the right place. And remember, vouchers are evil, evil, EVIL.

Let's Hope He Didn't Cut Class

Buzzing Sign

ROCHESTER, MINN. - The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle: a wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha built in the eaves of their temple.

The nest was spotted last week. Elder members of the community say they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes.

Robert Jeanne, an entomology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the Buddha-shaped hive could actually be four different nests formed over a couple of years. He says if someone wants to read miracles into that, that's their privilege.

Moeun Ngop, a 76-year-old monk, has a more mystical take. He says the insects are trying to communicate Buddha's message.

h/t Star Tribune

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Veterans! Songs! Funny Hats!

Yesterday was Veteran's Day. As is their custom, the children at my kid's school threw a breakfast party for any vet who felt like showing up. I could tell it was going to be a good party from the parking lot. I could smell the bacon from there.

Sadly, DIH did not get to sample any of the bacon. Apparently you had to have served in the armed forces to get your strips. I did, however, wolf down a serving of a breakfast casserole made with bread, eggs. sausage and I think cheese. It was the kind of thing I knew I shouldnt' do. The kind of thing I'm sure Barack Obama would have taken one look at and said "Oh, I can't eat that." It was in fact this very inspiration that made me chow down on the stuff. Ohhhhh. It was so gooood....

The program was a lot like last year's. The pre-k kids marched in wearing their paper hats- kind of like red-and-white striped cones- and sang. They were followed by every other class, reciting or singing something. There was a speech by and Air Force colonel. Oh, and I got to sing "From The Halls Of Montezuma" for the first time in years. That brought back memories.

I know from my daughter that the children spend weeks preparing for this event. They learn new poems and new songs and the older girls brush up their waitressing skills. All in honor of a holiday that most of my neighbors ignore.

But not Holy Family Academy kids. Or teachers. Or parents.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

As Long As We Still Have The Rockettes and The Marines...

...we might be ok.

From Blackfive[h/t Ace]:

"Just came from the memorial ceremony here at NORTHCOM. LTC (CH) Robert Leivers led the group in a ceremony here at the headquarters. During the ceremony, he relayed this little-known story from the Pentagon on 9/11:

"During a visit with a fellow chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, I had a chance to hear a first-hand account of an incident that happened right after Flt 77 hit the Pentagon. The Chaplain told me what happened at a daycare center near where the impact occurred.
"This daycare had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do; there were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs. There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers.
"Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed. After hearing what the center director was trying to do, he ran back out into the hallway and disappeared. The director thought, 'well, there we are- on our own.' About 2 minutes later, that Marine returned with 40 others in tow. Each of them grabbed a crib with a child, and the rest started gathering up toddlers. The director and her staff then helped them take all the children out of the center and down toward the park near the Potomac and the Pentagon.
"Once they got about 3/4 of a mile outside the building, the Marines stopped in the park, and then did a fabulous thing- they formed a circle with the cribs, which were quite sturdy and heavy, like the covered wagons in the West. Inside this circle of cribs, they put the toddlers, to keep them from wandering off. Outside this circle were the 40 Marines, forming a perimeter around the children and waiting for instructions. There they remained until the parents could be notified and come get their children."

Happy Veteran's Day.

A South Dakota Moment

Monday, November 10, 2008

Why The Rockettes Rock

Here in Minneapolis we are so far "out of town" that we get to see the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular on November 9. Then they move on to some other smallish city, all building up to their NYC opening., which will be at actual Christmas time. But we provincial folks in Minnesota? Cutting edge, baby.

DIH had not see the Rockettes since she was a Girl Scout. Except once,when she dragged the spouse to see a demo team do the Toy Soldiers number at a shopping mall. As DIH predicted the spouse was instantly smitten.

The Rockettes are always the greatest. All that long-legged precision, all those big smiles, all those fabulous costumes ranging from giant teddy bear suits to skimpy rhinestone tights. I mean, come on, this is America at its best. Show me one Western European country that has cuter reindeer? Lotsa luck, Finland, you'd never come close.

The Christmas Spectacular doesn't change all that much from year to year. That would be tough. You have to use Christmas carols and Santa Claus and elves and toy shops, and there's always the "obnoxious kid who doesn't believe in Santa becomes convinced" skit. The Rockettes do make some variations, but it's basically the same show they've been doing for 75 years now.

There are two things about the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular, though, that have always been in the show and hopefully always will be: the famous Toy Soldier number, and the "Living Nativity."

Toy soldier number, self-explanatory. See YouTube for details.

But the "Living Nativity." Watching this long. lavish telling of the Christmas story- all the lines were from the Gospel, thank you very much- DIH was struck by , well, what a world we live in. All I could think was, How are they getting away with this? How are these people not being shut down? I mean,they're talking about Mary and Joseph and the Three Wise Men? They're telling all these people in the Target Center that Jesus' birth was the most important, amazing, generous, universe-changing thing that ever happened! What do they think this is, 1952? Where are the lawyers, where's the ACLU?

But there it was. big, beautiful and unabashed. Cesar Augustus put forth a decree that all the world should be taxed. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. The Savior was born, the shepherds gathered, the angels sang. The reason for the season.

Get stuffed, secular humanists.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Gutter Standards

If I hadn't gotten my gutters cleared out a few days ago I don't know how I would have gotten through the week. There's something about accomplishing something you've been putting off for, well, a lifetime that lifts the spirits wonderfully.

Obviously it's been a rough week. Obama elected, Dow in the tank, Washington Post finally admits they were biased toward the Dems all along and gosh, we're so sorry about that, but aren't we noble admitting it now that the election's over? Of course we are. Congratulate us.

Well, in an effort to further raise th spirits, DIH did some kamikaze Christmas shopping yesterday. Bought a fake tree at Costco and some lights at Home Depot.

The high point of my day was when I got the Home Depot guys to redeem some coupons they weren't so sure about. They had this deal where if you brought in any old strands of regular Christmas lights they'd give you a coupon for three bucks off any LED lights.

I brought them five strands, they gave me five coupons, I selected one humongous strand of LED lights and four sets of LED fake candles.

Checkout guy: Um, you can't use the coupons for the candles. They're only for strands.

DIH: No, they're for LED lights. These are LED.

Checkout guy: It says "three dollars for each strand."

DIH: It says "three dollars for every strand you recycle." It doesn't specify anything about the purchase except for the LED part. These are LED fake candles.

Checkout guy calls for backup. Backup gives me same story. I point to same words on coupon. Backup backs down. I get my fifteen dollar discount. Leave store in triumph.

Life is on the road to recovery already.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Go Dog Go!

AOL reports that President Bush's dog, Barney, bit a reporter who tried to pet him.

Anyone want to bet the Obama girls will NOT get thier puppy now? Liability, you know...

p.s. Somebody tell this idiot reporter never to go for a dog's head. Especially not a terrier's.

A New Day Dawns

..and it's covered it wet snow. I love Minnesota in the fall. Uh, winter. No wait, that doesn't start 'til December, right? I gotta think about this...

It's been a rough week for the economy. The Dow tanked two days in a row, and DIH is out eight hundred bucks on emergency car repairs. All following the election of BO. Coincidence?

My car was fine when I left the house early Wednesday afternoon. We have a perpetual adoration chapel at our parish, and DIH has the 2-3pm slot on Wednesdays. This has been a bit glitch-ridden. A couple of times I forgot to go, and once I couldn't find my car keys. This does not put the previous adorer, who is supposed to leave at two in an especially good mood. And I can't really blame her.

So the other day I was determined to get there early. All is going well- the lights are in my favor- when all of a sudden I hear that telltale thump-thump-thump-thump sound just as I'm pulling into the church parking lot. I check my tires. Yup. A nail.

So I ask myself, What would Jesus do? Would he go into the chapel for an hour and hope the tire held up until after adoration? Or would He high-tail it down to the mechanics' shop before things get any worse?

Not sure. Try the saints.

St. Therese of Lisieux would have gone in to the chapel. And smiled sweetly at the flat.
Teresa of Avila would have gotten the tire fixed.

I went with Avila. I headed for the shop. Where I found out that in addition to needing four new tires I also needed new front brakes, plus an oil change.

So, I'm out big bucks this week. Which is fine, if I consider it practice for life under BO. Practice, practice, practice. That's the key to success. Or at least endurance.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chris Matthews Explains A Journalist's Job

You only need to watch about half of this to get to the money quote.
So now we know, huh?

Iowahawk Says It Best

For those who only follow read "click HERE to read this"-type links, text below.

Election Analysis: America Can Take Pride In This Historic, Inspirational Disaster

Although I have not always been the most outspoken advocate of President-Elect Barack Obama, today I would like to congratulate him and add my voice to the millions of fellow citizens who are celebrating his historic and frightening election victory. I don't care whether you are a conservative or a liberal -- when you saw this inspiring young African-American rise to our nation's highest office I hope you felt the same sense of patriotic pride that I experienced, no matter how hard you were hyperventilating with deep existential dread.

Yes, I know there are probably other African-Americans much better qualified and prepared for the presidency. Much, much better qualified. Hundreds, easily, if not thousands, and without any troubling ties to radical lunatics and Chicago mobsters. Gary Coleman comes to mind. But let's not let that distract us from the fact that Mr. Obama's election represents a profound, positive milestone in our country's struggle to overcome its long legacy of racial divisions and bigotry. It reminds us of how far we've come, and it's something everyone in our nation should celebrate in whatever little time we now have left.

Less than fifty years ago, African-Americans were barred from public universities, restaurants, and even drinking fountains in many parts of the country. On Tuesday we came together and transcended that shameful legacy, electing an African-American to the country's top job -- which, in fact, appears to be his first actual job. Certainly, it doesn't mean that racism has disappeared in America, but it is an undeniable mark of progress that a majority of voters no longer consider skin color nor a dangerously gullible naivete as a barrier to the presidency.

It's also heartening to realize that as president Mr. Obama will soon be working hand-in-hand with a former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard like Senator Robert Byrd to craft the incoherent and destructive programs that will plunge the American economy into a nightmare of full-blown sustained depression. As Vice President-Elect Joe Biden has repeatedly warned, there will be difficult times ahead and the programs will not always be popular, or even sane. But as we look out over the wreckage of bankrupt coal companies, nationalized banks, and hyperinflation, we can always look back with sustained pride on the great National Reconciliation of 2008. Call me an optimist, but I like to think when America's breadlines erupt into riots it will be because of our shared starvation, not the differences in our color.

It's obvious that this newfound pride is not confined to Americans alone. All across the world, Mr. Obama's election has helped mend America's tattered image as a racist, violent cowboy, willing to retaliate with bombs at the slightest provocation. The huge outpouring of international support following the election shows that America can still win new friendships while rebuilding its old ones, and provides Mr. Obama with unprecedented diplomatic leverage over our remaining enemies. When Russian tanks start pouring into eastern Europe and Iranian missile begin raining down on Jerusalem, their leaders will know they will be facing a man who not only conquered America's racial divide but the hearts of the entire Cannes film community. And those Al Qaeda terrorists plotting a dirty nuke or chemical attack on San Francisco face a stark new reality: while they may no longer need to worry about US Marines, they are looking down the barrel of a strongly worded diplomatic condemnation by a Europe fully united in their deep sympathy for surviving Americans.

So for now, let's put politics aside and celebrate this historic milestone. In his famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial 45 years ago, Dr. King said "I have a dream that one day my children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Let us now take pride that Tuesday we Americans proved that neither thing matters anymore.

After the Fall

As usual Red State Update have the clearest outlook on the political situation.

Here in Minnesota we are in the midst of a recount. DFL senatorial candidate Al Franken lost to Norm Coleman by such a small margin they have to count the ballots all over again. Last night they were saying Coleman was ahead by 725 votes; by this afternoon that lead had shrunk to around 300. Maybe this will teach Coleman to wuss out on things like the bailout.

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, on the other hand, managed to keep her seat, despite being sneered at on air by MSNBC's pudgy blond anchorman and despite having the RNC pull her television ad money. Bachmann, you will recall, voted against the bailout. You go, girl!

And a chorus of yippees to the voters of California, who flipped off the courts who had flipped off them and made damn sure marriage means "between a man and a woman." Rock on, sane people.

My McCain sign disappeared for good today. But this time it was blown away by a powerful gust of wind. Weird, huh?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


So it's here at last. Election Day.

DIH went to her polling place and voted earlier this morning. My polling place is the basement of an Episcopal church. While you stand on line to vote you get to read all sorts of posters about global warming and recycling.

You don't get to do much else. You can't bring a newspaper in to a polling place so the crossword is out. You have to get creative. Play little games like "Count The Men With Earrings" or "Women With Studded Tongues: Who Are Their Dentists?" Or you can count the kids in private school uniforms, add up the tuition the lady with the Versace bag must be paying, and wonder why the hell she would want socialism. Does she think her life will get better? Or is she just trying to teach her children the importance of sharing?

I have to say, for the crowd I was in- my neighborhood is overwhelmingly for Obama-- there was a certain lack of jubilation in the air. A few polite smiles and "hellos," but no "Party tonight!! Yee-hah!!" stuff going on. And these are the guys the polls say are going to win. You have to wonder- what is wrong with these people? Don't they ever have any fun? Or is it immoral to seem happy in the presence of global warming and recycling posters?

As for DIH, she plans to spend some time today resolving her television situation. She does not have one, or not one that works, anyway. And I gotta have the tube on tonight.

I'd invite the neighbors, but ... well, they probably wouldn't be much fun.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Stop Me Before I Rake Again

The little cardboard signs went up a few days ago. "No Parking This Street Monday."

Meaning that today the harbinger of winter, the big leaf suck-up, should take place here in the 'hood. Which is the least the city can do, given tax rates and abundance of mature trees.

So yesterday I raked. And raked, and raked. Got every last little fallen leaf into the gutter.

There was a wind in the night. More leaves. Again I raked, and raked, and raked. Now have two good-sized blisters on my hands.

Now, DIH hates raking leaves. In fact she hates anything connected with yards, gardens, anything growing out there. You think, Oh it's so nice to have something green around one's home! But I say, Feh. Every pretty little bud you swoon over in the spring will end up dead on your lawn in a few months' time, and you'll have to haul it away in plastic bags. Or hire someone else to do it. And given what teenagers are charging these days the odds are DIH will have to do it herself.

A few years ago a couple of boys turned up on my doorstep. "Want us to rake your leaves?" they said.

"Sure," I said. "How much?"

"Seventy-five dollars."

"Goodbye," I said.

I don't know when teenagers got so expensive. My mother has a theory that it all has to do with the price of video games. She could be right. Domo arigato, Nintendo!

So yesterday I raked. I got my daughter to rake, too, as well as her little visiting friend. "I like having a job to do," said the little friend. Stick around, kid, thought I.

I wonder how good that child is with a snow shovel?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weather Weirdness

For some days now we have been having beautiful weather here in the Twin Cities.

Let me repeat that: Beautiful. Weather. Here.

Looking outmy window now I could swear I was back in Northern Virginia. It's going to be 60-some odd degrees today and sunny. And it's All Souls' Day.

If this is climate change, bring it on.