Friday, March 31, 2006

Sticks to Katie to Wersal

Spotty wishes he had posted his prediction to his inner dog that this would happen. CP at minvolved called it to Spot's attention this afternoon. Spot will have more on this in coming days.

The feces-flinging monkey

Katie’s Thursday column, titled We need to know who is telling the whole truth, is breathtaking. Rarely in the field of human polemics have so many been libeled in so many ways by so few ill-crafted words. Spot predicts that We need to know who is telling the whole truth will stand as a monument to the art of the smear for a generation. Just when you think that Katie couldn’t possibly get any more bilious, she goes out and draws a new mark on the tree for the hacks and hackettes at MOB and Pajamas Media to shoot at.

The subject of Katie’s harangue, of course, is l’affaire de johnson. Spot has written about this before. Here, too. He has also posted about Craig Westover’s lament that the drama is drawing to a close. Spotty has told you, boys and girls, that with Katie, subtext is everything. Why is she trying to reanimate this corpse? It is pretty simple, really. Katie wants to damage Majority Leader Dean Johnson as much as possible, hoping to help bring pressure on Johnson to bring the gay marriage ban amendment to the Senate floor for a vote. The Republicans want the amendment on the ballot this fall really, really bad, because they face a massacre this November if they don’t get their entire base out to vote.

Now, boys and girls, let’s spend some time at the examining table with the rancid remains.

The flingees in Katie’s blast include Senator Majority Leader Dean Johnson, Minority Leader Dick Day, the ethics subcommittee that examined the complaint against Senator Johnson, Chief Justice Russell Anderson, and the Senate DFL Caucus. Did Spot leave somebody out? Oh, yeah, the governor, too.

Katie starts out by telling us that either Dean Johnson or Russell Anderson is a liar (actually, she slyly puts the words in the mouths of our protagonists). Spot wants to start with a question: What do Russell Anderson and Katie have in common?

They both went to law school?

Yes, but that’s not what Spot had in mind.

They both have kinda geeky hair?

Spotty will not be the judge of that.

Okay, we give up.

The answer is that neither Katie nor Russell Anderson has any first-hand knowledge of the conversations that make up l’affair de johnson. If the definition of a liar includes actually knowing the falsity of the utterance, Russell Anderson cannot be a liar. An officious fool, perhaps. Spotty, that was uncalled for. Apologize! Ok, Spot is sorry.

On the other hand, Senator Johnson, through his lawyer, said he was willing to name names and call witnesses. Putting his money where his mouth is, so to speak. Suddenly, the Chief Justice clams up, a couple of members of the ethics subcommittee admit that Johnson’s version is “plausible,” and Dick Day and the Republicans back away slowly. Spot says connect the spots.

Katie also shrieks about the breach of judicial (and legislative) ethics that must have occurred here. She wants us to accept as fact that a breach occurred, but it isn’t so. First, let’s remember that Dean Johnson (for better or worse, probably better) is neither lawyer nor judge. The Code of Judicial Conduct does not apply to him.

Moreover, you will search the Code of Judicial Conduct that Spot just linked to in vain for the prohibition of a judge talking to a member of another branch of government. CANON 1 states that a Judge Shall Uphold the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary. CANON 2 states that a Judge Shall Avoid Impropriety and the Appearance of Impropriety in All of the Judge's Activities. That’s as close as it gets.

Do these canons mean that a lawyer and a judge can’t have lunch and even talk “shop” about issues other than ones before the judge at the time? No, of course not. Nor does it mean that being a judge is such a priesthood that he or she cannot talk to a member of another branch of government. Do you suppose that Abe Fortas never spoke to Lyndon Johnson? Okay, bad example. How about Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia? They shared a duck blind and a private jet when cases that included the name “Cheney” were before the Supreme Court. As friends in politics for a long time, don’t you suppose that they talk “shop” maybe even a little, from time to time? Of course. History is full of examples of governors or legislators who became judges. The oath of office doesn’t include an oath of conversational celibacy.

It must be remembered that no DOMA case is before the Minnesota Supreme Court. Senator Johnson did not receive an advisory opinion, which is a complicated doctrine that has built up a couple of centuries of jurisprudence on things like case and controversy, ripeness and standing, by the way. One might forgive Captain Fishsticks for confusion here, but not Katie – nor the Chief Justice, for that matter.

As Spot has said a couple of times, it was indiscreet of Senator Johnson to refer to conversations that whoever he talked to thought were private and off-the-cuff discussions. And Johnson has apologized for that.

Speaking of forgiveness, Katie says that she is not prepared to forgive Senator Johnson just yet. There isn’t a drop of forgiveness in Katie; we wouldn’t expect you to forgive, Katie. You’re incapable of it. Katie and the rest of the DOMA hyenas will stick the gay marriage issue up the public’s arse every chance and every way they can.


Thursday, March 30, 2006

Mea culpa

Probably none of you remembers this post, but Spot does. Check back Spot's original for an update discussion of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, a celebrated 1964 Supreme Court opinion.


Katie comes out like a feces-flinging monkey this morning. Because the column is an unusually large specimen of maliciousness and pettiness, and because Spot is rather busy today, it may be a day or so before he can do the autopsy.

But he will.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Once more into the Sticksian ooze

Captain Fishsticks sucks his teeth, stares into his monitor with moist eyes, and then releases a long wistful sigh. You see, Sticks has been blowing hot air into the corpse of l’affaire de johnson for as long as Sticks can remember, and longer than most people care to remember. And that’s Sticks’ problem. People just don’t care. Of course, most people don’t live in the tight-assed world of epistemology that Sticks inhabits. Sometimes, Sticks, the pursuit of something turns into obsession; just ask a guy named Ahab.

Sticks’ valediction (Spotty fervently hopes) on l’affaire de johnson came in a Pioneer Press column today, thoughtfully reprinted by Sticks on his blog. Sticks is unhappy that the Senate ethics panel did not do a full Torquemada on Senator Johnson.

It sounds, in fact, like the Senator was well-represented at the ethics panel hearing. The Star Tribune reports today that two of the four panel members have said that Johnson’s version of events was “plausible.” They probably applied the Rule of Probability that Spotty told you about earlier, boys and girls. That and the fact that Johnson was apparently prepared to call witnesses to support him if the panel wanted to go the full-meal deal route. Spotty wonders if Johnson’s lawyer mentioned that Chief Justice Russell Anderson couldn’t be a witness at a hearing, since he had no first hand knowledge of what happened! According to the Star Tribune article, the Chief Justice has no further comment.

L’affaire de johnson is a cautionary tale for legislators, judges, and Spotty says, the voting public. As Spot discussed earlier, the barriers to party endorsement and discussion of issue positions by judicial candidates have fallen. These developments portend far more serious dangers to the impartiality and integrity of the judiciary than Dean Johnson’s little informal chats.


What in a name?

A lot. Especially when it comes to the name of a stadium on the University of Minnesota campus. Here are the opening grafs of an article in the Pioneer Press online edition today:
The University of Minnesota's new football stadium strategy passed its first test Tuesday at the state Capitol, but a panel of lawmakers punted several thorny financial issues to another committee.

Two stadium bills moved through the Senate Higher Education Committee on unanimous voice votes, indicating bipartisan support for a basic plan unveiled Friday with the support of Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

One of the bills, backed by the university, says funding should include student fees and a corporate name on the door. The other bill scraps the fee and the naming deal, with a key senator indicating those ideas are fundamentally tacky.

Tacky? Yup, according to Larry Pogemiller:
Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis, whose district includes the university, said charging students $50 annually to help pay for the stadium is inappropriate in light of large tuition increases in recent years. He also wants the stadium name to honor veterans or a former university athletic hero or administrator.

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, on the other hand, thinks the deal which names the stadium after a saving and loan is
hunky-dory. The Prez was accompanied at the hearing yesterday by Spotty’s own senator, Geoff Michel. These are strange bedfellows indeed!

Spot’s readers know that Robert Bruininks is the Prez, but fewer probably know that his academic background is education. He spent most of his career training new teachers in education and child development and running a university department to do that. At a land grant university. A big time supporter of public education, you’d think.

Geoff Michel, on the other hand, is a member of the Minnesota Republican Taliban, a supporter of religious school vouchers, the $185,000,000 budget cut to K-12 education last biennium, and the governor’s hare-brained 65% solution last year, not to mention his partisan support for Cheri Pierson Yecke, the cashiered Commissioner of Education. Spotty says just peruse the archives of for more.

Oh, and by the way, Michel’s wife is the niece of former U Athletic Director Tom Moe. No link here, but trust Spot; it’s true.

TCF, the putative sponsor of the stadium that will get the naming rights, is the creature of William Cooper, until recently the Chairman of TCF. Cooper is also one of the big-deal Republicans in Minnesota, a supporter of the Minnesota Taxpayers League. It is ironic, to put it mildly, that a leading member of the bunch so allergic to the public interest, and both K-12 and higher education budgets, would get his company’s name on a stadium at the state’s land grant and leading university. Think the Carrie Nation School of Viticulture.

Senator Pogemiller says that the naming deal is not a “deal-breaker” for him. It ought to be.


Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Well, he's not afraid of needles!

Zacarias Moussaoui, that is. It is amazing to contemplate that the prosecution’s best friend in this case is the defendant himself:
Until Mr. Moussaoui took the stand, the momentum seemed to be with the defense, which had contended that he was a fringe figure in Al Qaeda whose leaders held him in low regard.

Moreover, the government's case had been plagued by problems. After the disclosure that a government transportation lawyer had improperly coached some aviation security witnesses, the testimony of two other witnesses about how the F.B.I. handled investigative leads before Sept. 11 raised as many questions over the government's performance as it did about Mr. Moussaoui's culpability.

From the same NYT article from today however, it seems as though ol’ Zacarias may be suffering delusions of grandeur:

Before the day was over, the jury also had the extraordinary experience of hearing a reading of testimony taken in a deposition from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is said to have organized the Sept. 11 attacks and is being held somewhere in the secret overseas detention system of the Central Intelligence Agency.

That deposition, in which Mr. Mohammed answered questions agreed to by prosecutors and defense lawyers, seemed to contradict Mr. Moussaoui's assertion that he was meant to be a pilot on Sept. 11.

Mr. Mohammed portrayed Mr. Moussaoui as a fringe figure who might have been used in a second wave of attacks if needed.

For more than an hour, Michael Nachmanoff, a public defender, recited Mr. Mohammed's answers in what resembled an oddly disembodied literary reading. Mr. Nachmanoff read out testimony that any planning for a second wave of attacks "was only in the most preliminary stages" and that targets had not even been selected.

But no matter. What’s really important is that Moussaoui can now be executed and give us all the catharsis we so desperately desire! There is a God.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Readin' and 'rithmic and nothing else

This is interesting, and more than a little troubling. The NYT reports today on a trend in US education away from social studies, science, and art. Why? The requirements of No Child Left Behind, of course. For some low scoring kids, this means essentially a full day of reading and math:
About 125 of the school's lowest-performing students [at Martin Luther King Jr. junior high in Sacramento] are barred from taking anything except math, reading and gym, a measure that Samuel Harris, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army who is the school's principal, said was draconian but necessary. "When you look at a kid and you know he can't read, that's a tough call you've got to make," Mr. Harris said.

In the article, some commenters say this might make school a little, well, booooooring. Ya think?

If Katie thinks we're ahistorical now, just give it a generation or two.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Be careful, people!

On the roads tonight, that is. You see, the pseudo-morality play called l'affaire de johnson has been resolved. That means that a lot of right wing bloggers like MDE and Captain Fishsticks will be at loose ends; they will probably be out late drinking tonight.

Who's your Daddy, Sticks?

Spotty told you, Sticks, that the Legislature would have no appetite for further consideration of school vouchers. Apparently, Sticks got a chance to see that first hand:
But the number one thing that has pissed me off today is the House Education Policy Committee that today voted down the Educational Access Grant Bill. I am too mad to write about it. [but he undoubtedly will, ed.] The arrogance of those voting against the bill that would have allowed a small percentage of low-income families in city schools to use limited vouchers to attend private schools is incomprehensible to me. I doubt this makes the front page tomorrow. Maybe if they held the committee meeting naked and spent some time stomping bunnies instead of trampling the future of young children the story might get some ink. Like I said. (sic) I’m pissed.

Horse pucky. Vouchers are merely the transition phase to an entirely private school system in the eyes of the social Darwinist hunter gatherers like Sticks. As though he cared about inner-city school children.

What is interesting to Spot is that vouchers couldn’t even make it out of a Republican House committee!

Tags: become extinct before they are born

Thursday, March 23, 2006

First hand knowledge

Chief Justice Russell Anderson doesn’t know what he is talking about. Literally. Whoa Spotty, that’s pretty strong! No it’s not; it’s by is own admission. Justice Anderson has no first-hand knowledge of anything related to any conversations between members of the Court and Dean Johnson regarding DOMA. Zero, zip, zilch, nada. He says he polled the members of the Court and nobody issued an advisory opinion.
We don’t give advisory opinions,” he said. “We decide these cases in the context of real cases with real people and real controversies. We do not prejudge them.”

CP at minvolved has the quote and a discussion. Spot has also written about the flap.

If the Chief Justice is saying that no member of the Court ever had a discussion with a legislator in the abstract about a legal issue, if that’s what he is saying, he is being, well, disingenuous.

Regarding the Chief Justice’s investigation, you let Spot ask the questions, and he’ll get you any answer you want.

It was indiscreet of Dean Johnson to talk about any casual conversation he may have had with a Supreme Court Justice. But it is also untrue, as people like Captain Fishsticks (you’ll have to look it up yourself) suggest, that the integrity of the judiciary has somehow been fatally wounded.

Let’s talk about the issues that really relate to governance.

Gratuitous violence

Today, Katie commits a curious drive-by smearing of outgoing Minneapolis Police Chief Bill McManus. Keep moving people, there isn't anything to see here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A callow fellow

Alternate titles: It's a dirty job, part 3, or Wendy wanks again

This is the third in a series of posts in a blog-wide effort to unearth some of the best wing-nuttery from the time of the Iraq invasion in 2003. Spot has been concentrating on his homies over at Never Never Land.

Here’s another bit of wisdom from Wendy, excreted about the time of the US invasion of Iraq:
In the Middle East, no good deed goes unpunished

Last night, in a series of blogs, I tried to explain the folly of basing, even in part, our policy decisions in the war on terrorism on their effects on the "hearts and minds" of Arabs. I argued that the populations in question view the world through a prism so distorted by hatred and irrationality that efforts to win them over are, in the short term, futile. Some might object that I am painting a cartoonish picture of Arabs. There are, of course, many sophisticated, well-educated, and even relatively moderate citizens of Arab countries. Isn't it possible to make these people kindly disposed to us through policy choices that are consistent with our national interests?

Perhaps the best way for me to answer this question is by describing my experiences with Iranians. My wife spent many years living in Iran, and I have met many Iranians, nearly all of whom are well-educated. Incredibly, I found a consensus among Iranians of a certain age that the British were behind everything of consequence that happened in Iran through the 1979 revolution and even into the 1990s. This belief stems from the massive influence that the British exercised in the region up through World War II. By the 1950s, the Americans were pulling the strings in Iran, and continued to do so until the revolution, after which, of course, no western country had any real influence. Nonetheless, smart, well-educated, and pro-western Iranians remained convinced that the British were controlling events. This was true, I found out, even of the most influential figures of the Shah's regime. My old law firm represented the Shah's son during the 1990s. The lead attorney in the representation, who had gotten to know most of the inner circle, told me that, almost to a person, they were obsessed with the British.

To several generation (sic) of Arabs, we are "the British." If we withdrew from the region completely, we would still be blamed for everything adverse that occurs in the Middle East for the next 30, or perhaps even 50, years. It is tempting, and very American, to believe that by doing good deeds in the Middle East, we can improve perceptions of us there. Liberals and conservatives share this view. For liberals, the good deed is resolving the Israeli-Arab view. For conservatives, it is liberating Iraq and making it a successful, prosperous democracy. These happy scenarios are not beyond the realm of possibility (sic). In my view, however, we should not count on them. [italics are Spot’s]

Posted by Paul at 09:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0) 3/31/03

Well Wendy, if you hung around Iranians, you sure didn’t learn a helluva lot.

Yo Wendy! Although both Arabs and Persians tend to be brown, Iranians are not Arabs. You could look it up. In fact, you probably should. Putz.

As to the silly notion that the British and the US had interfered with affairs in Iran up through the revolution in 1979, of course it’s true. The Brits were much better at the imperial interference business than the US, of course, up until recently. In fact, Iran is a touching case of the torch being passed from one hegemon to another. Spot speaks, of course, of the joint British – US assistance (to put it charitably) in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Iran under Prime Minister Mossadegh and the return of the exiled Shah to the Peacock Throne.

You see, Mossadegh had the temerity to question how the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was keeping its books. In other words, we engineered the coup for oil. And the Shah was our boy until the Islamic revolution in 1979. So, the Iranians (and probably the Arabs, too!) have plenty of justification for suspicion of US motives in the region, even up to today.

Finally, Spot has to ask, Wendy, do you really think that engineering the 1953 coup in Iran was a “good deed”?

Tags: more musings about the

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Dean Johnson, CP, and a Spotty

Two posts at minvolved win a Spotty with an oak leaf collar. The first one was yesterday, and the second one this morning. Both deal with the political storm over remarks made by Majority Leader Dean Johnson. A Spotty, for those new to this blog, is award given to the writer of a letter to the editor, an op-ed piece, a commentary, and now a blog post who writes something that Spot wishes that he had written. [cash value 1/20th of a cent]

In the first post, CP examines some of the compromises and attempted compromises that have been put on the judiciary. Spot was not amazed to find that Republicans, and their shrieks of “judicial activism” feature prominently in the list. It is not minor irony that Republicans are now howling over casual conversations about DOMA that Dean Johnson says he had with a member or members of the Minnesota Supreme Court, who, after all, inhabit the same building and walk the same halls. Maybe they buy hot dogs at the same stand, although that doesn’t seem very judicial.

The post today follows on some things that Spot was going to write, but CP is a morning sponge, and Spot is neither morning nor sponge.

The papers this morning are full of Chief Justice Russell Anderson’s public comments about the question, and CP discusses them very well. Here’s a quote from the Chief Justice, a recent Pawlenty appointee by the way, from CP’s post; the link is there:
“We don’t give advisory opinions,” he said. “We decide these cases in the context of real cases with real people and real controversies. We do not prejudge them.”

Jeebus that sounds so noble. And of course, the Court does not render advisory opinions. But if Justice Russell is telling us that a Supreme Court Justice has never discussed a legal issue, not before the Court at the time, with a legislator or constituent, Spotty suggests that you take the statement with a grain of salt, a big grain of salt.

Now, boys and girls, Spot is going to tell you about Louis Nizer’s “Rule of Probability.” Nizer was a famous 20th century trial lawyer, more famous that Johnny Cochrane, even. Nizer’s rule helped him sort out conflicting evidence to figure out what really happened in a given situation. The rule is simple: “It probably happened in the most ordinary way.” One of Spot’s lawyer friends has a corollary to the rule: “Even if it didn’t, you’ll have trouble convincing a jury otherwise.”

You may say Spotty, that is just a statement of the obvious, but often it’s not. Let’s take a look at the present situation. Is it likely that Dean Johnson would run into a Supreme Court Justice from time to time? Yep. Is it likely that that the Majority Leader might talk shop about an issue that is occupying the Legislature and the Majority Leader’s mind, but not the Court? Again, yep. Is it likely that a Justice would thereupon draw himself up to his full height, stare at the Majority Leader, and say, in a voice soaked with contempt, “We don’t issue advisory opinions”? Of course not.

Dean Johnson’s mistake is – in all probability – taking some remarks made over that non-judicial hot dog and repeating them.

It is also interesting to note that Johnson's comments would probably be admitted in court - as proof that things were said - res gestae - but the Chief Justice's statements that comments were never made would be inadmissable hearsay, since he doesn't claim to be a party to the conversations and therefore has no first-hand knowledge.

It also bears repeating another point that CP made. Republican Greg Wersal has been successful in invalidating restraints against judges talking about political and legal issues in judicial elections and restrictions against judicial candidates seeking political party endorsement. CP links to an MPR article about this, but here’s the link, just for good order’s sake.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet, boys and girls. When Greg Wersel – or Russell Anderson – runs for the Supreme Court with a Republican endorsement, just watch all those shiny-faced College Republicans, presently demonstrating outside the Majority Leader’s door, out campaigning and talking about Wersel’s position on gay rights, abortion, school vouchers, etc. and etc.

Can you say hypocrisy? Spotty thought you could.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Clap louder for Tink

Clap louder, Tink can hear you.

Communist stooges?

Ol' Spotty was going to wade into the fetid swamp of the archives over at Powerline, but before he could do that, he saw this gem from Wendy today:
Say it ain't so, Joe

My conservative cousin from New York, who used to take me to baseball games at the Polo Grounds and Griffith Stadium (where we'd watch Cuban pitchers Camilo Pascual and Pedro Ramos), finds that Jon Miller and Joe Morgan "served as conduits for Castro's propaganda" in their broadcast of the World Baseball Classic game between Cuba and The Dominican Republic. He writes:

[Spot gave you the link; follow it if you want.]

Joe Morgan and Jon Miller are communist stooges? Hysterical laughter. Sorry. You know, Spot used to think that Tink, and maybe even Peter, were better than Wendy in the histrionics department, but he's no longer sure. The two posts that Spot referred to recently from the Powerline archives are both from Wendy, and there is another great one from Wendy coming soon.

Joe and John are the best baseball announcing team in radio or television. John's baritone voice and pacing and language in the play-by-play are lyrical. Joe Morgan is the best baseball technician in broadcasting. The clowns who are usually tapped to do the World Series aren't fit to shine the shoes of Joe and John.

The call the wind Katie

Isn’t there a song that goes like that? Anyway.

Katie is usually a little better at screed rotation. Today, we get Katie’s second column in a row on gay marriage. The headline of the column, which Katie probably did not write, is If gay marriage is OK'd, definition of bigotry will expand. That’s a pretty good head, actually. Spot thinks that Katie is getting pretty worried about this.

As MNObserver, er, observes, the shorter version of the column is We must move quickly to embrace bigotry lest we be redefined as bigots. Most people don’t like to think of themselves as bigots; the cognitive dissonance keeps them awake at night.

The editorial pages of the Star Tribune this past couple of days have been full of letters calling Katie, well, a bigot for her column last Thursday. And Katie doesn’t like it one bit, nosiree bob. She’s a fine Christian woman, righteous and probably very, very chaste; how could she be called a bigot? Here’s a snippet of Katie’s vice-like logic from today:
Supporters of same-sex marriage often insist that "extending marriage rights" to gay people is no big deal. It won't change life for the rest of us, they say. But if same-sex marriage becomes a civil right, the belief that one-man, one-woman marriage is best for kids becomes discriminatory, and those who hold it become bigots.

Yeah, Katie, it’s just like those darn Northerners who kept meddling in that “peculiar institution,” slavery. It really annoyed a lot of Southerners, so much so that they tried to pick up their marbles and leave.

In the end, Katie, you need to accept the fact this isn’t about you. In fact, most things aren’t about you. No one is telling you that you have to change your own mating behavior, or even your attitudes. You just have to be prepared to accept the obloquy for having those attitudes. Seems fair to Spot.

Tags: is afraid of

Sunday, March 19, 2006

It's a dirty job, part 2

Another brilliant post from Wendy, one of the military analysts at Never Never Land:
Whose miscalculation?

One criticism we're hearing of the war effort is that we didn't send enough troops to Iraq initially. The fact that we're sending more now is presented by some as indisputable evidence of miscalcualtion (sic) by the Admnistration (sic). It is certainly possible that the Adminstration (sic) miscalculated. However, to me it seems more likely that it calculated wisely. There was always a good chance that Iraqi resistance would be limited to the point that the initial force we sent in (a substantial one) would defeat the regime. In that event, it would have been a mistake to have sent a larger force because it would have resulted in unnecessary cost. It turned out that a larger force is necessary, or at least desirable. That force is on the way. Since the initial force was large enough to get to Baghdad without suffering defeat or real damage, little has been lost by not sending in a larger force at the outset. [italics are Spot’s]
Posted by Paul at 12:07 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0) 3/30/03

Remember, this was some eleven days after the invasion began. We’d had a few dustups with Saddam’s fedayeen, and these were being dismissed by people like General Richard Myers and Donald Rumsfeld, as David Brooks, of all people, tells us today in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Some weeks nothing happens; some weeks change history. The week of March 24, 2003, was one of those pivotal weeks. U.S. troops had just begun the ground invasion of Iraq. They were charging north, but hadn't reached Baghdad. The Fedayeen had begun to launch suicide attacks and were putting up serious resistance in Nasiriya.

Everybody denigrates pundits and armchair generals, but immediately the smartest of them recognized that something unexpected was happening: The U.S. was not in the midst of a conventional war, but was in the first days of a guerrilla war.

The smartest among them certainly does not include our friend Wendy!

Tags: misreads the again

Saturday, March 18, 2006

It's a dirty job, but . . .

From the malodorous archives at Powerline:
March 26, 2003
Sleep well, Rocket Man

You may have to sleep for a while, Rocket Man. According to this Washington Post article by its chief military reporter Thomas Ricks, some senior military officials are now convinced that the war will last for "months." It seems to me, however, that it is simply too early to predict whether the war will be over in weeks or months. All we know is that the regime didn't capitulate right away (never likely) and that the Iraqi military is willing to fight, at least up to a point (a matter, perhaps, of legitimate doubt prior to the start of the war). Thus, the war didn't end in days. Whether it now lasts for weeks or months depends on military developments in and around Baghdad. Ricks' piece in the Post suggests that there are too many imponderables to predict at this point how these developments will play out. [italics are Spot’s]

Posted by Paul at 10:15 PM
There is a movement afoot to exhume some of the bassoonery (yep, Spot just made up that word; it is the clown-like sound of right wingers exercising their vocal cords) in the lead up to, and in the early days of the war in Iraq. Boys and girls, there is a mother lode in the archives at Powerline. Spot invites you to dig in yourself and bring your favorites to Spotty attention! Please.

Tags: shot a little wide on the

Friday, March 17, 2006

Splish, Splash . . .

I was taking a bath. Posting photos is kind of fun. It's a departure from the all politics, all the time motif, but it seems to bring out the commenters. This photograph is also from Minnehaha Creek, but further west.

Catechism anyone?

Remember a week or so ago, Katie had a cow about the state of Americans’ historical knowledge? And how Spotty said Kersten wasn’t really interested in a critical examination of history, but rather a conservative catechism? Spot just ran across an article from historian Howard Zinn in the April issue of the Progressive, where he says the following:
If we don’t know history, then we are ready meat for carnivorous politicians and the intellectuals and journalists who supply the carving knives. I am not speaking of the history we learned in school, a history subservient to our political leaders, from the much-admired Founding Fathers to the Presidents of recent years. I mean a history which is honest about the past. If we don’t know that history, then any President can stand up to the battery of microphones, declare that we must go to war, and we will have no basis for challenging him. He will say that the nation is in danger, that democracy and liberty are at stake, and that we must therefore send ships and planes to destroy our new enemy, and we will have no reason to disbelieve him. [italics are Spot's]

Damn, Spot just loves it when people a lot smarter than Spot agree with him! The whole article is worth a read, and it reinforces Spot’s belief that humankind’s biggest problems are not technological, but rather political.

Howard Zinn, by the way, wrote A People’s History of the United States.

Tags: probably doesn't like

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Anybody know?

Where this is? Hint: it's not Easter Island.

Katie's gay panic

Oh dear. Spotty thinks that Katie’s hubby wants a second wife, maybe one that’s a little more, er, cuddly. With Katie, subtext is everything, and that’s the best explanation of her column today Once same-sex marriage is OK, polygamy’s next. Katie’s columns are often a cry for help, but today’s is especially plaintive.

Katie’s premise? Permitting same sex unions will turn us into such sex-crazed droolers that we’ll all become Mormons! The evidence? Well, a gay couple created Big Love, an HBO series about a Utah man with three wives. Hmmm, Utah man, three wives? It sounds like a case of art imitating life to Spot.

No, Katie, Spot did not “catch” the show, as you apparently did; the doghouse does not have cable. But you have to wonder how popular the gay marriage concept is in Utah.

Katie also tells us that professors at elite (read Eastern) law schools like Yale and Columbia are studying the groundwork for multiple partner unions. That’s a shame, when they could be studying the further destruction of the Bill of Rights, especially that darned Establishment Clause, or the progressive income tax, or well, you get the idea.

The only way we can halt the slide to perdition, according to Katie, is to answer with resolve, making it clear that “one man – one woman” is at the heart of marriage in Minnesota. Yes it is, Katie, always has been, and always will be. But it doesn’t need frothing the hatred against an unpopular minority to make it so.

While we’re on the subject, Spot wants to say one more thing. The anti-homophones often talk about marriage as though it was a religious institution. At its base though, the relationship created is a civil institution. Ordained clergy can marry people only because the State deputizes them to do it. The legal rights and responsibilities of spouses are defined in the law, not the Bible. These rights and responsibilities go far beyond what Ward, June, Wally, and the Beaver used to show us.

Gays make up a contributing segment of our society; they deserve the benefits that go with marriage. Call it civil union if you want, keep it out of the fundie churches if you must, but recognize the essential fairness of it.

Tags: is justifiably more afraid of than

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

It's good work . . .

If you can get it. Being a cyber-prof, that is. According to its 2004 exempt organization return, the CAE spent more than $156,000 on the Professor and his crib, Intellectual Takeout. Remember, this is the professor who didn’t even start work until the fall of 2005, and he only lasted, maybe a semester. So, the apartment is empty; no word on a new tenant yet. Wonder what the Professor got in 2005?

By the way, for the same period, Katherine Kersten was paid $59,875. Make up your own joke.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Poor Sticks . . .

It seems like just yesterday that Sticks got his gig passing gas at the Pioneer Press. Now, Knight Ridder, which owns the PP, sold out to the McClatchy Co., the owner of that awful, liberal Minneapolis Star Tribune! Not only that, but McClatchy Co. apparently doesn’t even want the PP, stating that it will be re-sold. (Actually, anti-trust concerns have something to do with it, but never mind.)

What will become of poor Sticks?

The delicious irony here is that the smart money is betting that a private equity firm, social Darwinist hunter gatherers just like Sticks, will buy the PP and loot it. Let’s see if Sticks survives the machete.

Of course, Sticks can always catch on at the Center of the American Experiment. Or maybe not.

new Spotty winner!

Here's a comment on Eric Alterman's blog Altercation. It wins a Spotty.

Name: Nicholas Pisano
Hometown: Destin, FL
Hello Eric,

Old Navy guy here. I just returned from interviewing and meeting returnees and refugees from the devastated part of the United States on no one's mind formerly known as the City of New Orleans (and environs) but more on that at another time. I write in response to John from Vermont, Major Bob and the good Master Chief. As a retired senior Navy officer I have some direct experience with military topics. My continued involvement comes in many ways. Most significantly my son recently left the Marine Corps and was in both the Afghanistan invasion and the drive into Baghdad. My son-in-law served in Iraq as a "ground pounder" in the Army, having been called up from the Guard. He's an inactive reserve member and is being called up again to the end of his obligation to be sent back to Iraq.

Military members are like everyone else, especially a professional military in times like this one, in which national survival is not at stake. I can hear the howls now-but I challenge anyone to tell me how a well-financed terrorist organization of a couple of thousand members can threaten the nation to such an extent that an extraordinary and unprecedented consolidation of power in the executive and the violation of political rights and civil liberties (apart from the lies, corruption and abuse of power that seem to go hand-in-hand with these other actions) are necessary compared to, say, the Cold War where we faced the old Soviet Union with its sophisticated intelligence infrastructure, modern military and nuclear weapons that could (and we did come to the brink) wipe us off the map in a matter of minutes? Or how it compares to World War II where both Japan and Germany-two of the largest economies and military powers in the world at the time-were dedicated to our destruction and waged total war against us?

This is a fake war manufactured by cowards to hide their insecurities and to make money. Nor do military members have the inside track on virtue or truth (which should be self-evident). Only in fascist countries is the military held to a higher level of respect or position than a citizen. When I served I was doing a job. It was one that I felt required the highest ethical and moral conduct since the authority given me as a senior officer was quite weighty: one that flowed from the laws of the land. It is a necessary discipline because we all are only people-other citizens---and possess the same weaknesses, which-apart from all of the other stupidities to which one can become susceptible-includes the ability to be corrupted by power. There are military people who try to do the right thing, who obey the laws of the land, are professional and compassionate-like Major Bob and the Master Chief. But there are also those who commit crimes, abuse their authority and lead reprehensible lives. This is aside from the run-of-the-mill idealists, bootlickers, politicians, opportunists and careerists. Like the society that creates it, the military is generally representative of that society in terms of human frailties and virtues.

These common sense observations should go without saying, but a mystique seems to have grown around our military placing its members beyond criticism, especially convenient to those who would use it for questionable ends. The members of certain political and economic classes have aligned themselves with the military and, as a result, have through that alignment attempted to appropriate this mystique for their own gain. Some military members have been all too happy to oblige, further compromising their own legitimacy. Thus I think it is time to talk about the military tradition concerning the concept of accountability that seems to have been forgotten.

To the general public (and to the non-Sea Services) this is often and sadly a hard concept to grasp, but it is a necessary one for those who are given responsibility for decisions that can make the difference between life and death. After all, the sea is unforgiving. One who is given unique authority over others who falls short of what it takes needs to be removed from doing any more harm than he or she may have already caused. You can delegate responsibility to someone to achieve a particular goal but you, as a Commissioned Officer (or a President), cannot escape the judgment of accountability. For example, when you are given the "con" on a U.S. Navy ship, you are accountable for everything that happens during your watch. No special pleading about conditions that may have existed before your assumption of that position will save you from harsh judgment should you run the ship aground, hazard your vessel unnecessarily or collide with another vessel. You voluntarily took the con and are expected to understand all important conditions prior to assuming command. Without accountability power lacks legitimacy and we are left with official lawlessness and despotism. The Master Chief, of all the writers, should know better and is being disingenuous when he shifts blame for 9/11 and other lapses of judgment and offenses committed by this Administration to previous ones. I fault the 9/11 Commission for the same dishonesty. The 9/11 attack, the cooked evidence for the Iraq invasion, the Katrina debacle, the abuse of power in domestic spying involving hundreds of thousands of Americans with no connection to al-Qaeda, the widespread corruption involving billions of dollars in misappropriated funds all occurred on the watch of this President. Some of these involved unforgivable acts of omission and others were acts of commission involving the abuse of power.

No one forced George W. Bush to be President. He pursued that office and insisted on taking it even when all indications were that such a claim lacked democratic legitimacy. He sought it a second time through artifice and ruthlessness, cynically knowing that the perspective of time and discovery would be too late to stop him from continuing to pursue these acts. The judgment of the President's acts will play out in the political sphere, but there is another concern that I believe it is imperative that we understand. That is, it is time for this standing and institutionalized volunteer military-which increasingly is being manipulated and used as a pawn by economic and political elites through a presumptuous executive branch-be brought back into the fold of democratic government through reform before it is too late and we suddenly realize that we have reason to fear it.

A certain logic

This letter was in the Star Tribune on Sunday.
No abortion exceptions

Several of your readers have objected to South Dakota's recently passed abortion law on the basis there is no exception for rape or incest. I have two questions for those readers:

• If a man were convicted of murder, would you approve of executing his child?

• If a man robbed a bank, would you approve of putting his child in prison?

The answer to both questions should be no -- and we should not kill unborn children because their fathers are guilty of rape or incest.


Spotty will give you a moment to stop hyperventilating. Okay? Ready to go on? Spotty says this is a perfectly logical abortion position. Now you’re really hyperventilating!

Ol’ Hap has hit on the fatal weakness in the usual abortion opponent’s position – including that of TWedge (that’s Tim Pawlenty for the new reader). That is, if you really think you’re protecting sacred human life by prohibiting abortion, you can’t really visit the sins of the father on the child.

If you permit exceptions for rape and incest, it is an admission that the real goal here is to punish the woman for engaging in consensual sex. The punishment is forced childbearing. It differs in degree, but not in essential kind, from the Old Testament edict that non-virgin brides should be stoned.

Tags: does not allow exceptions

Friday, March 10, 2006

He'll tell you great stories . . .

CP at minvolved has mentioned Kevin M, the author of The Insomnia Report a couple times. Kevin M is a very good writer who will always give you something to think about, or to laugh at - often it's Kevin M that he wants you to laugh at. Spot likes that in a person. The Insomnia Report is not always, or maybe even usually, a political blog.

Anyway, there is one post of Kevin M's in particular that Spotty wants to mention. For anybody who has spent a scary night in a tent as a kid, you must read Kevin M's encounter with the raccoon.

And by the way, based on the times of his posts, Kevin M really does have insomnia.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More on the 70% solution

Remember when Spotty said that Governor Gimmick’s 70% plan for schools was just a wedge issue intended to be just another way to beat up on public schools? Well, even if you don’t remember it, he did. And here’s some more proof. The bill as reported out of the House Education and Policy Reform Committee can be found here. Go read it; it’s very short. It’s also complete horse pucky.

Here’s the definition of direct classroom expenditures and operating expenditures:
Section 1, Subdivision 1

(a)"Direct classroom expenditures" means instructional expenditures as defined in the uniform financial accounting and reporting standards excluding [emphasis is Spot’s] tuition payments to other Minnesota school districts, capital expenditures, and expenditures for athletics, other cocurricular activities, and extracurricular activities.

(b) "Total K-12 general operating expenditures" means the total expenditures in the general fund for kindergarten through grade 12, as defined in the uniform financial accounting and reporting standards, excluding [emphasis is Spot’s] tuition payments to other Minnesota school districts, pupil transportation expenditures, and capital expenditures.

A school district must spend under this bill, 70% of (b) on (a), meaning the bigger the (b) number, the bigger the (a) number must be. These definitions are a joke, albeit a bad one.

First off, the “uniform financial accounting and reporting standards” referred to are not defined in any way. Is there a body that promulgates them? How can they be changed? Do they exist? Does everyone agree on what they are? If, for purposes of the definition in (a), instructional expenditures must be reduced by expenditures for tuition payments to other Minnesota school districts, capital expenditures, and expenditures for athletics, other cocurricular activities, and extracurricular activities, it sounds like these latter items are included in somebody’s understanding of genuinely educational expenditures.

Would somebody tell Spotty what a cocurricular expenditure is with sufficient precision to make the statute enforceable? Extracurricular activities? What about a drama class that puts on a play, or bands or choruses that put on concerts? The ambiguity is colossal.

The bill also provides that a superintendent must “certify” that the district met the 70% requirement for the year. Kafka would love it.

But now, boys and girls, we come to the part where the bill goes from merely incomprehensible to farce.

The bill says that a school district that cannot meet the test can apply for a waiver, which the Commissioner of Education must grant or deny within 60 days. The waiver request must include a plan to get the district in compliance. What if the Commissioner is just having a bad day? There is no way to figure out when a Commissioner’s denial would be an abuse of discretion. Typos? Ugly stationery?

After you get this far, though, you will see that the whole thing is Kabuki theater. Why? If a superintendent submits a false certification, if a waiver request has no plan for remediation of the deficiency, if the Commissioner denies the waiver request, if the school district does zero to change its ways, what are the consequences? Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

This is just a lamentable bit of political theater. Nobody expects this piece of legislative garbage to actually become law. Shame on you Governor Gimmick.

Tags: panders a

See Jimbo run . . .

Minnesota Congressman Jimbo Ramstad is on the Ed Shultz show right now (about 3:30 Thursday afternoon). He ran hard against the Dubai Ports World deal, whipping up the xenophobia that Juan Cole addresses today. Hardly a surprise.

He also gave a taste of the Republican congressional backing and filling response to the deal: the underlings screwed up; it really wasn't the fault of Administration leadership.

Tags: disses

Spotty paraphrases Proverbs . . .

Spot has written before about the fact that the Bushies are inheriting the wind on the Dubai ports deal for their stirring up the current degree of xenophobia against Arabs and Muslims in the United States. In a long, thoughtful, angry, and bitter post, Juan Cole of Informed Comment addresses the issue. Spot recommends it highly. Here's a quote:
The subtext of bigotry and racism is what has blindsided the Bush administration with regard to the port deal for a company based in Dubai. Dubai is like the Fifth Avenue of the Middle East-- the place with the pricey shopping and the tall skyscrapers and the extravagant fashions. Dubai businessmen are no more likely to take over US ports and allow them to come to harm than US businessmen are. They want the deal in order to make money. Bush knows this very well. But since he has spent so much time fulminating against shadowy and sinister forces over there somewhere, he has spooked the American public and members of his own party.

Conservative tank tanks!

Now we know why the Professor left the Center of the American Experiment's college student site Intellectual Takeout. He wasn't getting paid! And we know conservatives won't do anything if it is not for money! Spot had a post yesterday about the Strib's article on CAE's shutdown of it sheltered workshop for unemployed Republicans.

Well, the cyber prof's salary probably wasn't that big (he did exactly nothing, after all), but the CAE gives new meaning to a red organization! Minvolved has the first in what promises to be a series of stories. Go read.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A quiz . . .

What do King Lear, the crazy incestuous old farmer in Jane Smiley’s 1000 Acres and Mitch Pearlstein have in common? [clock] tick tick tick tick [/clock]. Give up?

They each turned over the keys to the enterprise to the next generation, came to regret the move, and tried to get back inside. In Pearlstein’s case, it may actually work. Here is an article in the Strib today:

The Minneapolis-based conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment announced major restructuring of its top management on Tuesday.

The departures include some well known names in conservative political circles and with long-time connections to the state's Republican Party.

Mitch Pearlstein, the founder of the center, will return as president after a 20-month period as its president emeritus. Pearlstein said the center will restructure to return to addressing public policy issues such as poverty, race, values, economics and taxes.

"We used to focus more on cultural and social issues and want to return to that," he said, refusing to comment further on the departures.

Those leaving include Annette Meeks as the center's president and CEO; Corey Miltimore as its director of media research and study; Randy Wanke as communications director; Chris Tiedeman as director of government affairs and; Ryan Griffin as development director; and Jonathan Blake as research fellow.

Under the recent leadership, the center retooled itself and had begun to play an aggressive role in influencing public policy in Minnesota. As an example, last year it rolled out an ambitious project to help conservative students battle what the center saw as liberal orthodoxy in academia.

Most recently, before the 2006 Minnesota legislative session, the center released recommendations on legislative reform from a task force co-chaired by former Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe and former Minnesota Republican Party Chair Chris Georgacas.

With a $1.4 million annual budget, the center, founded in 1990, was one of the first state-based conservative think tanks and has been a model for others.

Spot italicized a couple of interesting paragraphs. Pearlstein says that 1) the Center will “return” to more “public policy” issues, but 2) the Center used to focus more on cultural and social issues and will “return” to that. Let’s see a show of hands of people who think these two statements are like, inconsistent? Quite a few of you. Spot wonders what is really going on. Counterrevolution, probably.

Anyway, Annette Meeks is going the way of the old Professor at Intellectual Takeout, that Cliff’s Notes for Conservatives that was rolled out with such fanfare last year. Spotty says the whole site is a clunker; he wonders how much money the CAE has poured into that hole in the ground.

Jeebus, Spot almost forgot the best part! In the best Freudian headline of the year, the Strib’s head for this article is: Conservative think tank retools management. Why yes, that is exactly what’s happening.

Tags: sheds

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Be it Resolved . . .

On Spot's blog Retire Geoff Michel, there is a new post of some resolution suggestions for the caucuses by a couple of reader - fellow bloggers. Some good ideas here. Have a look.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Katie and Kate, again

A two-fer today, boys and girls, involving Katie and Kate Parry, two of the Strib’s painted ladies. Well, that’s not entirely fair to one of them. Funny, but not entirely fair. Those names are similar, so your full attention to this post will be required!

First up is Katie’s column today titled Ignorance of our founding principles can endanger us all. Here are the opening grafs:
Here we go again. A new survey reveals that only about one in four Americans can name at least two of the First Amendment's five freedoms: freedom of the press, religion, speech and assembly, as well as the right to petition government for redress of grievances. But 52 percent can name two or more members of TV's "Simpsons." More than 20 percent of Americans actually think the First Amendment gives us the right to own and raise pets!

We shouldn't be shocked. Americans' -- especially young Americans' -- woeful ignorance of history and civics has been documented repeatedly.

This is, of course, one of her standard columns, the one with the theme “the country is going to hell in a hand basket because [fill in the blank].” Today, she fills in the blank with ignorant Americans, especially young Americans. You know, Katie might be on to something here. The thing is, though, Katie is not really interested in history or civics, but rather the conservative catechism, including an exaltation of the Free Exercise Clause while ignoring the Freedom From Religion Clause (it’s really called the Establishment Clause) of the First Amendment. She isn’t interested in Americans’ thinking, but rather their pledges of fealty.

If we really had citizens educated in history, we wouldn’t hire and give free reign to ahistorical boobs like George W. Bush. Boobs who would have a lot of trouble with questions like: what are the two main branches of Islam, or are Pakistanis (or Pakis as the president would call them) Arabs; or how about the Turks who fought against the “Grecians” in Cyprus, or what group participated with the Turks in the Armenian (Christians no less) genocide (the Kurds), or what does UN Declaration 242 say about Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem, or who was a big supporter of Saddam Hussein at the time “he gassed his own people,” etc. and etc?

Spotty says that more than math and science, we need to teach kids to have a critical understanding of history, but Spot’s history is grounded in reality, not Classic Comics. The world’s problems continue to be mostly human, not technological. Katie, In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue won’t cut it.

Turning now to Kate, in discussing the three Metro columnists for the Strib (Doug Grow, Nick Coleman, and Katherine Kersten a/k/a Katie), repeats the following remarkable comments, with her apparent approval, from Strib editor Anders Gyllenhaal:
Why does the paper put these columns on pages that otherwise contain news stories? Is there a difference between columnists whose work appears in a news section and columnists who appear on the editorial pages? Gyllenhaal thinks there are many similarities, but the emphases differ: Op-ed columnists tend to write directly about issues; metro columnists often get at issues by telling a story. They have license to push storytelling further than a reporter would and to add their two cents.

. . .

"Our columnists are very capable, dedicated reporters. They occasionally make errors, but they're minor, not at the core of the column. Considering the battleground they're working in, their work stands up to tremendous scrutiny," Gyllenhaal said.

First, boys and girls, name a column when Katie told a story to illustrate one of her hot button issues. How about the one where a heterosexual couple got divorced because a gay couple moved next door? Or the one where US soldiers lost faith in the cause in Iraq and simply stood up so they could be shot? Didn’t see ‘em? Neither did Spot.

Second, Gyllenhaal calls his columnists “capable, dedicated reporters.” Jeebus, Anders, you gotta be kidding us. Katie has never reported on so much as a bake sale, unless you include her contributions to the society column in the weekly in Fort Dodge.

Spotty says that Kate Parry and Anders Gyllenhaal ought to re-read the first paragraph of Gyllenhaal’s comments above, and ask themselves honestly if they bear any resemblance to a typical Katie column, including the one discussed in this post.


Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cornholing the future . . .

And Spotty doesn’t mean the game that was invented in Ohio and that NASCAR fans seem to enjoy.

It seems that everyone in Minnesota these days has a plan to tie up or bind the future in a way that takes a pet political issue off the table. It is sort of like writing in a will that Johnny is disinherited if he marries Jill (or Jack!) or fails to go to medical school, or whatever. Boys and girls, let’s look at some examples.

The gay marriage amendment ban is the pre-eminent examplar. Moral clucks like Katie who have an out-sized view of their own moral understanding and authority want to decide the issue of gay marriage rights not only for themselves, but for others and for the future. On behalf of the future, Spotty is offended. But Katie is not the only one.

The governor’s proposal to borrow a few billion dollars and try to bond our way (the governor calls it “investment”) out of the transportation mess in Minnesota is another. By refusing to raise more gas tax revenue (Spot has posted too many times about the governor’s veto of the transportation bill with a dime a gallon increase last year to link to), the governor is proposing tie the hands of future generations who will be saddled with the debt service on things we should have paid for out of current revenues.

And how will we pay that debt service? Well, the governor says, the dedication of the motor vehicle sales tax to transportation, on the ballot for a constitutional amendment this fall, will cover it.

Presently, the motor vehicle sales tax goes into the general fund. The state is barely in the black, as you know, boys and girls. Dedication of funds currently unallocated will result in shortages elsewhere, as City Pages writes in the article The Road to Perdition. More binding the hands of the future.

One final example: Ron Schara writes today about an effort to pass a constitutional amendment to dedicate a portion of the general sales tax to natural resource protection. The environment is an issue pretty close to Spotty’s heart, but again, we’re trying to tell the future how to spend its money. Maybe the future will decide, if a depression comes around, that it would rather spend the money to keep people from starving. Shouldn’t the future be able to make that choice?

Each of these cases springs from a belief that the proponent knows best for all of us for all time, coupled often with a desire to avoid present responsibility for what we want.

Spotty says consider these issues with humility before you decide you know what is best for future generations.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Second request . . .

Spotty asked Peter, Wendy, and Tinkerbelle to discuss the recent admissions of defeat in Iraq by Francis Fukuyama, William Kristol, and William F. Buckley. Not a word from the boys in Never Never Land.

Now we can add a white flag by George Will.

Better start backing and filling soon boys; you'll look extra foolish if you wait 'til the end!