Thursday, October 14, 2010


"He realized too late that “there’s no such thing as shovel-ready projects” when it comes to public works." - "The Education of President Obama", the New York Times Sunday Magazine.

Tactical error to admit that. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Only in Minnesota

recent conversations I've had include:

at a gas station after a duck hunt the attendant says, "are you a hunter?" (I have dogs, a cased shotgun, decoys and ducks in the truck).
my reply "just damn you must be psychic"
answer, "no sir, you have dog snot on your windows and feathers in your hair."

at the same station a girl hears me talk and asks me where I'm from (keep in mind this is Boondoggle, MN). I tell her Georgia. Her answer:
"Oh Yah, say something Southern."
(giggling) "oh, how cute!"


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Beyond Palin: Assessing the Rest of the GOP Presidential Field

Time magazine looks into republican nominees for 2012 Beyond Palin: Assessing the Rest of the GOP Presidential Field . I'm fairly certain that Palin will not be on the ticket in 2012; her 15 minutes of fame were up 3 hours ago and now I wish she had been beheaded instead of that innocent turkey. Also, I think anyone with close religious ties doesn't have a shot in hell to make the ticket as the republican nominee, thereby eliminating my guy Mitt and Huckabee as well as various others. While I would wholeheartedly support a ticket that places Conde as the republican nominee (not mentioned in the article), I still believe that neither the Republican party nor the United States as a whole are ready for a woman president. Any woman that runs in the next 20 years is going to join the ranks with Hillary as another sacrificial lamb. Rice knows this and so does any politically minded woman who is a "serious human being." Jeb Bush is out...his brother took care of that one. Some of the other potential republican candidates may have a shot, but I don't think this article is all that serious. I think Time is throwing out names to test the waters. While most of you are vying for four more years of Obama, it doesn't hurt to think in the abstract. So, does anyone out there have any names they want to throw in the pot??? Perhaps, (even though I don't think Obama is going to run in 2012) you would like to see Obama (or whomever else is the democratic presidential candidate) debate? In other words, who are your ideal candidates for 2012?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Education Watch: even more crow-eating on the part of Jim

Well, one out of three ain't bad:

The largest union’s meeting opened here on Saturday to a drumbeat of heated rhetoric, with several speakers calling for Mr. Duncan’s resignation, hooting delegates voting for a resolution criticizing federal programs for “undermining public education,” and the union’s president summing up 18 months of Obama education policies by saying, “This is not the change I hoped for.”

“Today our members face the most anti-educator, anti-union, anti-student environment I have ever experienced,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the union, the National Education Association, told thousands of members gathered at the convention center here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Current Group Photo

I've uploaded the current group photo...for any and all who want it. Back row (left to right): Erin Daly, Vince Lombardo, Chris Nicholson, Rich Taylor, Joe Arico, Eric Stefan, Jeanette Young, Dan Honigfort, Claire Sokas; Front row (left to right): Matt Wilson, Lionel Nicolas, Grace Park.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Education Watch: what might turn me into an Obama voter

This article about President Obama and Arne Duncan's efforts to reform schools and labor relations has me thinking good thoughts:
More significant, Duncan has said that some of the billions in more traditional annual federal aid that has flowed to states according to population formulas should now be based on Racelike competitions aimed at various pieces of the reform agenda. “This is the chance of a lifetime,” Duncan says. “We have to move the country in a fundamental, dramatic way.”

In a Congress controlled by Democrats, that could be a struggle. When Duncan’s testimony broached the broader idea at a March Congressional hearing, the House Appropriations Committee chairman, David Obey, a Democratic representative from Wisconsin — which finished 26th out of 41 entrants in the first round of the Race — reminded Duncan of the states’ dire need for basic funds and signaled his skepticism about the Race reforms, declaring, “When the sailboat is sinking, my top priority would not be to put a new coat of varnish on the deck.” (Obey recently announced he will retire next year, perhaps making Duncan’s reform path easier.)

“Every Democrat knows the president really cares about this,” Schnur says. Which suggests that the Nixon-to-China dynamic that prevailed in states like Tennessee may work in Washington. Obama could most likely get some, probably many, Democratic votes, while winning support from Republicans on an issue they have championed so strongly in the past that taking a flat-out anti-Obama approach would be especially awkward.

“That President Obama did this is a total game changer,” says Pastorek, the Louisiana schools superintendent, who is a Republican working for a Republican governor, Bobby Jindal. “If he really sticks to this, education will never be the same.”
I was wrong -- on this, the President seems to be pursuing this as hard as he can. If there is one thing that he can change in this country for the better, and if there is one thing that will push me into being an Obama voter, it will be if he succeeds in forcing long-term public school reform in this country.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Bad politics makes worse policy

I've really refrained from any comment on the oil spill situation because I don't really know what to say about it. That said, I listened to this conversation between an NPR host and USEPA administrator Lisa Jackson with some amount of irritation:
"NORRIS: The United States is a nation that gets things done. It's a can-do nation. That can-do attitude is an important part of the national psyche. But this so far is a problem that the government can't fix, at least not anytime soon. Help us understand why this should not shake the faith of people in their government?

Ms. JACKSON: The most important thing here is to realize the president's personal commitment. He said again today that, you know, we are here and we're not going anywhere. That we realize that even if and when the flow of oil is finally stopped, this recovery, this response and recovery is going to be a long-term thing and requires a long-term commitment. He said that over and over.

I do think that, you know, just in terms of the psyche of this region being from here, part of the anger that is so palpable - and I have it myself - is that that frustration of watching something this catastrophic that we cannot - none of us can do anything about."
Let's ignore that Jackson doesn't even begin to answer an interesting (if off topic) question. Rather, I'm really frustrated with Jackson's near-rote repeating of the day's talking points: Barack Obama really, REALLY cares and isn't going to leave you or forsake you.

I don't give a crap if the president can emote. I really don't. I feel rather sorry that Reagan, Clinton and Bush 43 pushed this idea that you have to think that the President gets you and your concerns and really, REALLY cares. I want President Obama to solve problems; right now, the problems/answers are all at the technical level and the funding/politics is a couple months away.In recent language, in other words, the President isn't Aquaman and can't do much for the situation other than keep repeating that BP is going to get the bill.

What can he do? Quit ignoring Asia. This is the second time he's cancelled a trip to Asia to deal with pressure that "he doesn't care enough" or whatever baloney the political media is pushing for the day. It's time for them (and the President) to realize that the long-term problems of the country should take precedence over the P.R. crisis of the moment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A quiet thank you.

Had pressure? Sure you have.

Think about the pressure there must be on the field-level guys at BP, Schlumberger, Transocean (and yes) Halliburton. The guys actually trying to stop this thing? The guys you laughed at when they tried to execute the 'junk shot' and the 'top kill'? The folks working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to drill that relief well?

Yeah, those guys, those folks deserve our absolute thanks. BP senior-level executives? They're the same suits you get at every big company. But the guys (and gals) on the oil rigs, boats and derricks? Those people are heroes, in my book.

So thanks, folks.

(Had pressure? No, that's pressure.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Most Popular Living Politician.

That's right! Hillary Clinton is our nations most popular politician. Personally I feel she is doing a great job as Secretary of State, and plays Obama's "bad cop" quite well. As Tina Fey once said, "Of course she is a bitch. But bitches get shit done!" Also, giving her a prime job in his cabinet, President Obama has set up Hillary as the top presidential candidate in 2016.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I really don't know what to think about this. Perhaps things are really, really bad for Alabama farms. But boy, Dale Peterson means business!

P.S. I don't know when (probably in August), but I'm going to be putting money down in the Iowa Electronic Markets for the Democrats to retain control in both houses. That's selling at 56 cents right now (for a dollar contract in November, if true.) Hopefully, the price doesn't keep going up.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Cut the debt!

Try this little budget game out. It's fun.

(P.S. I got the debt to 60% of GDP by 2020. Most of my cuts were budgetary in nature. Not many tax increases, but there were some. Of course, I was pretty brutal on Medicare and Social Security.)

Friday, May 14, 2010


Reading this article is very frustrating, since it says some things that I have believed for a long time:
"I kept hearing that we had lots of projects that were shovel-ready," says one administration official. "But they weren't. We have think tanks that make a compelling case for Keynesian stimulus. What we need, it turns out, is a think tank that tells us how to actually do a stimulus -- how we can get the dollars out there now" to reduce unemployment. [snip]

The disparity in the speed at which different projects get going is evident in the state's own tally of jobs funded through the stimulus dollars. By the end of 2009, stimulus money had funded 50,138 jobs in education but just 1,656 in transportation. Totaling all infrastructure spending in the stimulus, $10.6 billion was slated to come to California, $5.6 billion had been awarded, and just $1.2 billion spent by the end of last year.

What happened? Big government -- spending, that is -- ran into good government -- regulation, competitive bidding, environmental safeguards, the works. [snip]

"Environmental-impact reviews, historic-preservation safeguards, unionization of government workers -- these are good things, but they've changed the way government can operate. Plus which, the federal government said, 'We'll give you a ton of money, and we want you to spend it faster -- and better.' There are no exemptions from regulations that came with the stimulus funds. They didn't waive the requirement for competitive bidding; they stressed competitive bidding."

She continues, "You can't just build a new bridge. You've got to do environmental-impact reports, you have to open up the decision to community input, you face potential lawsuits. I'm not saying concern for environmental impacts should go away, but it makes it harder to deal with an economic crisis."
Jim here again. Recrimination first: the Obama administration's original sin will be the stimulus package, which was neither fish nor fowl. If they wanted to do Keynesian stimulus, it should have been MUCH bigger (1.2T instead of 800B.) It was also sold with the phrases "shovel ready" and "timely, targeted and temporary." I think they painted themselves into a corner with those words.

Most frustrating: I don't think Obama can get another stimulus package through. That was the only bullet, and they wasted it.

Perhaps Obama can do some good for the country and untangle the Gordian knot of red tape and regulations around construction. I doubt it, though.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I don't really know what to say about the situation, other than his attorney's letter to Roger Goodell is in parts touching, disgusting and risible.

Question: is 4 to 6 games consistent with past Goodell punishments for similar offenses? I am thinking 8 games (punishing by killing the 2010-11 season for him), but I think that's because I don't like ol' #7.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scandal at ND

Looks like Mike Brey will be leaving Notre Dame soon..

Monday, April 5, 2010

The 50 Most Stressful Colleges - The Daily Beast

As admissions letters hit mailboxes—and amid growing concern about mental health on campus, The Daily Beast looks at which schools are the biggest pressure cookers.

Posted using ShareThis

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Timely and appropriate

I present to you the Gus Johnson Soundboard. OH, WHAT A SHOT!!!!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Be a Pro!

Just a reminder...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It is, and it isn't.

This story is just a distraction, but a fun one. Here's my favorite joke about it so far, taken from an unnamed liberal blog:

"The real anger should be at Biden for spoiling the rollout of the new phrase. You thought the New Deal was major? This is the Big F----g Deal!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mississippi High School Cancels Prom

I never went to my senior prom, but members of this Mississippi senior class don't have the option to attend or to abstain. Undeniably, not allowing a lesbian couple to attend a prom is a violation of the couple's civil rights; nonetheless, couldn't the lesbian couple find some way around the school's policy without ruining prom for her whole class? For example, couldn't they both have gone stag(ette) or have friends take each of them as heterosexual dates. High school dances typically aren't about your "date" and more about the people you meet there or with whom you least that's the way my high school dances were. Teens find ways around things all the time by bending the rules in their favor...why not here? Prom connotes the culmination of one's school days: where the awkward moments of adolescence feel like distant memories of the past, as you embark on a mono-mythical journey into adulthood, into your future. Why end your high school career by making a scene with the officials in what you know to be a strictly religious, conservative town? It sort of seems like McMillen was baiting the school board officials and it backfired on her big time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Obama Education Watch: I was wrong (maybe)

Wow -- this is big. I am really impressed by President Obama and SecEd Duncan. It will be interesting to see what happens to the teachers' unions: do they swallow this (where else will they go?) or do they break openly with the President.
Speaking at an event intended to highlight his strategy for turning around struggling schools by offering an increase in federal funding for local districts that shake up their lowest-achieving campuses, Obama called the controversial firings justified.

"If a school continues to fail its students year after year after year, if it doesn't show signs of improvement, then there's got to be a sense of accountability," he said. "And that's what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th-graders passed state math tests -- 7 percent."

The board that oversees Central Falls High School took the startling step last week of firing 93 teachers and other staff members after the teachers union refused to agree to a plan for them to work a longer school day and provide after-school tutoring without much extra pay.


Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said repeatedly that he wants to work with unions rather than impose reforms on them, and the National Education Association, with 3.2 million members, and the AFT, with 1.4 million members, have generally sought to play down policy differences with the administration.
I think it's clear that the Obama Administration is really real about education reform. Good.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sarah Palin Insurance

So Sarah Palin gave a speech last night -- apparently it was quite campaign-oriented. I'm thinking of offering liberals Palin insurance that would pay out in the unlikely event that she would actually win the Presidency.

It should be like ten bucks a year, and pay out like, I dunno, 100 or 200 dollars. Palin's enough of a bogey-woman that I think I could make a pretty penny on this (or lose my shirt.)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ridiculous Item of the Day: $3.72 Trillion (Obama's 2010 Budget)

This critism is not directed solely at Obama as I would expect any sitting Republican President in the current situation to sadly also submit an overly inflated budget (Bush did a good job of this). Now all of this is just a proposal as Congress (Heaven help us!) has control of the purse strings. I guess right now would be a good time to invest in companies that make printing equipment, since Ben may have to build some new mints to keep up.

My point is unless our friends in Washington finally get their heads out of the sand and propose real cuts and not freezing decretionary spending while in the same breath proposing a new $100 billion plan for job growth, we are in for some real pain in the coming years (think early 1980s: high unemployment coupled with double digit interest rates). I guess thanks to the healthcare bill (which will pass at some point) more of the unemployed will have health issurance.

It could be a very interesting mid-term election!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Where is health care reform going?

Folks are probably tired of my "taking one for the team" approach for health care, but I keep finding evidence for it. (...maybe because I keep looking for it!)

From the transcript of Charlie Rose interviewing Washington Post health care wonk blogger Ezra Klein on December 15:
EK: This bill is both quite an achievement, but a recognition of our
limits. And at some point we are not going to be able to content ourselves
with having picked the low-hanging fruit. We are going to have to sit down
and make hard decisions and hard choices on cost, and there won’t be the
spur and the shining goal of covering the uninsured. There will be a lot
less. And we’re still going to have to do it.

So this bill, it’s a good first step, it will make the next one
easier. But the next one is going to be the harder one and I don’t think
anybody looking at this process should be very confident that we will be
able to take it.

CHARLIE ROSE: What’s the next one?

EZRA KLEIN: In a very hard way, cost control. Not just starting the
procedures and the pilot programs, but telling doctors and hospitals and
device manufacturers and Pharma "You are going to make less money next year
than you made this year," or "You are going to make a lot less money in ten
years than you expect to be making now." That’s going to be very hard.
With the change in the numbers in the Senate, the reform train slows down a little. But only a little -- Democrats will continue to push for health care reform and I expect a bill to pass by the end of the month. They'll be back for more.

Just remember that their long-term plan is "You are going to make a lot less money in ten years than you expect to be making now."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Go Obama Go!

So some Senate Democrats are going to panic about the Coakley loss (which I did not predict correctly at all). Evan Bayh may have already.

Here's what I think President Obama should do: go all out. The whole centrist, calm, cool, collected thing isn't working. He should mash all the buttons down, turn the volume to 11 and just give a general "screw you" to the Republican party. Bring it all out: kill the bankers on Wall Street, go for single payer health care, stop all foreclosures for 180 days, all the big hits.

I think it would be politically braver than any of his baby steps and it would convince the strangely apathetic left that there's something worth fighting for. And I, for one, would enjoy the show.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'

If you have a moment or ten, read this article about Marvin Harrison and the crime he is alleged to have committed. Assuming that the facts in the article are true, it's quite likely that he shot at the fellow. The article insinuates strongly that Harrison's associates were involved in ultimately killing the target in the first case.

Should he be in prison? Playing devil's advocate here, it sounds to me like Harrison and his friends may have done Philly a service. That being said, lying to law enforcement is something that society cannot tolerate and I hope that justice before the law is served.

AIDS is funny!!

We are ND!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thanks, Mr. President

I'm not quite sure how much blame to assign for the Underwear Bomber incident to the President and his staff. Nevertheless, his "The Buck Stops with Me" statement was a point in his favor. I don't think President Bush ever made such a statement, although my memory could be failing me.

That being said, the mostly ridiculous increase in security is 100% in his purview. I was really hoping that he would scale back the more ridiculous stuff, like the taking-off-of-the-shoes, etc. A citizen can hope.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And then, there were 4

Arizona at New Orleans
Dallas at Minnesota

Baltimore at Indianapolis
NY Jets at San Diego


Monday, January 4, 2010

Choose your metaphor...

What does this machine bring to mind?