consultants are sandburs

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Morning snapshots - the neighborhood.

As always, click on an image to enlarge it. It is a first-generation Sony digital camera, so the resolution is not what an 8-megapixil Nikon delivers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The full image of Dr. Martin Luther King, presented earlier, edited.

The man said all that, talking of injustices beyond racism, J. Edgar Hoover spied on him and his private life, and he was shot. Shot dead in his prime. With his message delivered in part, not in its entirety. Not universally. He persevered until then.

Now that he's dead, he has his day set aside. Hypocrisy and mendacity go hand in hand, and it is more important to realize that injustices of all kinds were part of his agenda and still exist as strong as ever, than to welcome the day off, where given.

When you are presented with a two-party choice for Congress between Michele Bachmann and Elwyn Tinklenberg then both parties are depreciating your vote to practical nothingness, and that giant triad, "racism, materialism and militarism," really are present and likely to remain so with little likelihood or lessening on all three legs when one's vote is so cheapened. It is not a matter of pure absolutes, or ideology, but of probabilities - it being more probable you will have a voice heard if you own a chain of newspapers and a network, as Rupert Murdoch does. And that's so, here in America, and regardless of whether he has a vote or is a citizen of another nation, voting there.

You got a vote. Be happy. You're told that frequently.

You have as much a voting right as Nasser Kazeminy. Smile, warm and fuzzy over that truth of politics and power in the twenty-first century. You are so very empowered.

We have been promised change. We will see what unfolds.

Know your options, decide what's best for you. But don't be dishonest - dishonorable to yourself for a few bucks more.

Strib's headline, "500 agree to buyouts at Best Buy," about the drop in retail sales accompanying the loss in confidence in the Bush-Cheney-Coleman-Kazeminy economy, putting it in specific local terms, online Jan. 8, 2009, Best Buy being the context for this excerpt:

One out of eight headquarters employees took the buyout; it's unclear whether that's enough to avoid layoffs. -- By JACKIE CROSBY, Star Tribune

Whether that figure will be enough to prevent forced layoffs remains to be seen, as the company continues to analyze its revenue and expenses, spokeswoman Susan Busch said.

An exact number of buyouts won't be known until Jan. 16, the deadline to back out of the plan, but the losses represent a 12.5 percent reduction in the workforce at the corporate offices.

The buyouts come in the midst of the worst retail climate in decades, as beaten-down stock markets, unemployment fears and a lingering housing slump have dried up consumer spending.

The nation's largest U.S. chains on Thursday confirmed dire predictions of a dismal holiday shopping season, reporting that sales dropped 1.7 percent in December compared with a year ago, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. And as part of a wave of store closings that could reach an estimated 73,000 locations in the next six months, Macy's decided to close its store in Brookdale Mall, one of 11 that it will shutter nationwide because of slumping sales.

"There's just no incentive to spend out there," said retail analyst Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics. "People are strictly buying what they need, and they're forgoing virtually all other purchases."

That's the start, you can read the entire online article for full reporting; this is the end of the itme:

Workers from across the company signed up for the buyouts, including hourly workers and managers, Busch said. Most will leave the company Feb. 12.

Among those taking the buyout was Julie Gilbert, a senior vice president who launched an initiative to make Best Buy stores more female-friendly and to recruit, retain and promote women within the company.

Gilbert said Thursday that she will form a consulting business to take the WOLF program (Women's Leadership Forum) to companies worldwide. She said she already has interest from businesses in London and in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

"It's time to live out my destiny," she said.

In 2004, Best Buy outsourced about 650 workers in its IT department and 115 others in human resources to Accenture. As part of the move, it eliminated about 160 positions, Busch said.

Severance packages are offered so that workers taking them are inelegible for Unemployment Insurance benefits, thereby keeping a firm's UI rates fixed instead of escalating.

Usually, (although I have no knowledge of details in this instance), but usually the severance package amount is less than a full term of benefits that would be drawn by a worker becoming laid off and unable to find new employment quickly. If you are aged, very young and inexperienced, or in some way you see yourself in an unemployment situation where the probability of a quick landing on your feet is low, then weigh all that, find out what your benefit rate would be, and compare that with the severance terms, and make your gamble.

Where the severance is helpful is as in the case of Julie Gilbert in the reporting, wanting to form a business and even in trying times wanting to take that gamble. There a fixed severance is the best option as with retiring from the labor force to want to have more leisure - in either instance you would have to run a fraud on the UI bureaucracy [something fairly easy to do, given quality of personnel there] or you would not remain eligible to keep receiving benefits if not actively seeking suitable employment. Some get away with such frauds, many business owners see it as a reality that fighting an adverse UI determination is like pushing a big heavy rock up a big, big steep hill, costing money at each appeal stage, with remands for the bureaucrats to figure a new way to screw up things against one they've once disadvantaged, for continuity of policy or just to be jerks, and if you win one thing in an appeal without winning the whole enchilada, good luck, it's fighting city hall, at the state bureau level, and success rates are low.

So, the severance payment end run of escalating tax rates is there, and firms use it.

For some it's right. For others it is wrong.

But defrauding the UI process to get benefits you really are not entitled to is hurting the person or firm that fed your family in whole or in part and causing its cost of doing business to improperly rise. As such, it is scum to do that, and you are scum if you do it.

If you are truly unemployed through no fault of your own, and actively seeking suitable employment, then you are exactly the kind of person the system was set up to protect, and you are entitled to any benefits you receive between jobs.

But if you're some kind of "princess" living in a half-million dollar plus home in a golfing-club development with no intention of honestly looking to be employed after some cushy employment system with flextime and almost no commute ends and you posture youself as if honestly seeking new work but without any such honest intent, then you have, in effect retired from the work force, and are a cheat -- you are cheating the system and dishonoring all the honestly unemployed people forced to the hard task of looking for work when out of work and when wanting to work.

This fact set is given as a hypothetical example, not that I know of any actual or pending situation with that fact pattern.

But there are such scurvy people out there, do not doubt that.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"This isn't about me or my position," [ex-Sen. ] Coleman said. "We're in the customer service business, and the customers are getting hurt."

We are talking about services, not goods, yet UCC Article 1, general definitions prove interesting guidance regarding Norm Coleman and his whining about the Dems summarily shutting his office down.

The above Crabgrass headline is Strib reporting on the situation, online Jan. 9; this context:

The former (for now) senator and Democratic leaders traded accusations on a plan to allow his staff to aid about 400 Minnesotans. -- By KEVIN DIAZ, Star Tribune

WASHINGTON - Norm Coleman said Friday that Senate Democratic leaders reneged on a deal to let his staff finish up constituent cases, leaving hundreds of Minnesotans "in the dark."

Jim Manley, spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said there was no such deal and that Democrats hands are tied because Coleman's Senate term ended last Saturday.

Coleman has sought to let his staff work on some 400 remaining constituent cases while he challenges the U.S. Senate recount in Minnesota, in which Democrat Al Franken had a 225-vote advantage. The legal contest is expected to last several months.

Senate Democrats forced Coleman to shut down his office on Monday, the same day the state Canvassing Board certified Franken the top vote-getter in the election. Coleman's Senate website has been frozen, and the nameplate on his office has been removed.

Lyndon Johnson would have been proud of Harry Reid in this instance. It is what LBJ would have done back when he was boss of the Senate. Strib adds:

With the election contest still pending, Coleman said that Democrats had agreed to give his staff more time for casework, which involves requests for help with veterans' benefits, Social Security, Medicare, immigration, adoption and passport problems.

"This isn't about me or my position," Coleman said. "We're in the customer service business, and the customers are getting hurt."

He said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has been trying to win Senate passage of a resolution that would keep Coleman's office open for non-legislative business. According to Coleman and a spokesman for McConnell, an agreement had been reached in recent weeks with Reid.

"There was a clear understanding," Coleman said. But as of Friday, the fourth day of the 111th Congress, no resolution had been brought up for a vote.

Republicans charged that the Democrats' turnaround is part of an effort to pressure Coleman to drop his electoral challenge, something that Reid has been urging him to do.

Strib continues onto a second web page, read it all there. I quote only this from the second page:

Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, currently the state's sole U.S. senator, has offered to take over some of Coleman's caseload.

But Coleman said his cases cannot readily be transferred to another senator because they typically involve confidentiality agreements. Coleman's staffers -- who have lost access to their offices -- would need to obtain permission from each constituent seeking help.

Fungible or nonfungible services, the concept is parallel as with goods, the UCC Sec. 1-201 generally defining:

(18) "Fungible goods" means: (A) goods of which any unit, by nature or usage of trade, is the equivalent of any other like unit; or (B) goods that by agreement are treated as equivalent.


Readers, please tell me, of "requests for help with veterans' benefits, Social Security, Medicare, immigration, adoption and passport problems;" what is nonfungible about those things? What is unique to Norm, and why?

We all understand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar is gifted, and supposedly would hire gifted staff capable of handling any such routine things as "requests for help with veterans' benefits, Social Security, Medicare, immigration, adoption and passport problems." That is indisputable - the Klobuchar staff could handle routine, nonpartisan things for constituents - and has offered to do precisely that.

Conversely, Sen. Amy Klobuchar might not be as well-positioned as ex-Sen. Norm Coleman to handle needs and expectations of Nasser Kazeminy, (based on lesser mutual information, rapport, and understandings), but that kind of situation raises a whole host of questions that is far greater than the answers (and suggestions, if any) offered by Coleman in return.

What is unique about Norm, these involved 400 constitutents, or any subset of them, and the "customer services" ways-and-means expectations they hold in common with Norm Coleman?

To me, it seems some 'splaining is needed - the more public, and thorough, the better.

There already are many unanswered [aka ducked] public questions of the "customer service" arrangement between Nasser Kazeminy and Norm Coleman, (especially including circumsatances and allegations about how, or whether, the services were priced and paid for in an improper fashion).

I will bet Norm Coleman ducks all further 'splaining.

It's his nature to leave things half explained; offering either his way, or no way.

"Trust me," does not cut it, when I don't trust him. Nasser can trust him. I don't.

Am I wrong? Any reader thoughts, via a comment?

It appears to me that if Coleman is truly concerned about having the most prompt service to his "customers" he could step aside so that Franken could take his seat and get up to speed, ASAP. Alternatively, if it is a batch of partisan "customers" it seems McConnell, instead of bloviating, could take over that part of the portfolio and be done with Norm's lame, incessant, and inessential whining.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

With a transfer of power due in DC - - - Things a pair of dead black men are reported to have said.

Frederick Douglass: (1857)
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them. And these wrongs will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Now for something wholly unrelated, here is a picture of Susan Gaertner, who has the will and ambition to want to be Minnesota's next Governor.

Full, honest candor and disclosure is the gold standard showing who you are.

Click to enlarge the left image. Read it. You too can take the "RNC 8 Geartner Truth-in-Advertising site search test." But hurry, while things last. The site's sight may be updated. Simply start here, then enter your search term.

RNC 8 - - - A failure of communication.

Captain: You gonna get used to wearin' them chains afer a while, Luke. Don't you never stop listenin' to them clinking. 'Cause they gonna remind you of what I been saying. For your own good.
Luke: Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, cap'n.
Captain: [lashing out with his stick] Don't you ever talk that way to me., dated Sept. 4, 2008 (italics added):

AMY GOODMAN: Here in St. Paul, Ramsey County prosecutors have formally charged eight members of a prominent activist group with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. The eight members of the RNC Welcoming Committee are believed to be the first persons ever charged under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal PATRIOT Act. The activists face up to seven-and-a-half years in prison.

Ramsey County Attorney Susan Gaertner announced the charges at a news conference Wednesday.

SUSAN GAERTNER: Through this week, I’ve seen much about my great city to celebrate, but it also, in some ways, has been a sad and painful time for my community. We have watched as a few lawless people tried to overshadow the peaceful protests and the exercise of free speech rights by thousands of law-abiding citizens. Some of the people who allegedly planned illegal acts to disrupt the convention and our community were thwarted last week when law enforcement agencies executed warrants and made arrests at several locations. Today, my office has charged eight persons with the felony crime of conspiracy to commit riot in the second degree for their alleged criminal activities as members of the RNC Welcoming Committee. All but one of those persons are currently in custody.

AMY GOODMAN: According to the National Lawyers Guild, the criminal complaints filed by the Ramsey County Attorney do not allege that any of the defendants personally engaged in any act of violence or damage to property. Instead, authorities are seeking to hold the eight defendants responsible for acts committed by other individuals during the opening days of the Republican National Convention.

Most of the activists were arrested over the weekend in preemptive house raids. None of the defendants have any prior criminal history involving acts of violence. Authorities are basing their case on paid informants who infiltrated the group. The eight activists charged are Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Gullen-Givens, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Specktor.

Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher explained the terrorism charges.

SHERIFF BOB FLETCHER: It allowed us to execute search warrants last Saturday, as you know, on the leadership of the Welcoming Committee. And frankly, that—severing that leadership from the organization skills from that entire process was huge, because a lot of these anarchist groups that came here were supposed to be dedicated to different intersections, different sectors of the city. And by taking those maps away really made it harder for them to coordinate their assault on our city. And we only removed ten percent of the problem, but the ten percent we removed was the coordinating aspect of it.

AMY GOODMAN: Two guests join me here in St. Paul, Minnesota: Bruce Nestor is president of the Minnesota chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, and David Bicking is the father of Monica Bicking, one of the eight activists charged with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. David Bicking lives in Minneapolis.

Welcome, both, here to our studios at Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, SPNN, public access. Well, why don’t we start with you, Bruce Nestor? Explain the significance of these charges.

BRUCE NESTOR: These charges are very significant for any political activist or anybody that cares about the right to organize politically or for freedom of speech. By equating plans or stated plans to blockade traffic and to try to disrupt the convention with acts of terrorism, the conspiracy nature of the charge, where you punish people for what they say or advocate, but not for what they do, really creates a possibility that anybody organizing a large-scale demonstration, at which civil disobedience may be a part of it or where other individuals may then engage in some type of property damage, creates the potential that all those organizers can be charged with these conspiracy charges and face significant penalties.

AMY GOODMAN: What does it mean, “in furtherance of terrorism”?

BRUCE NESTOR: In Minnesota, that was a law passed after the attacks in New York on September 11th. It kind of tracks the definition in the federal PATRIOT Act, which is any criminal act, in this case at least a felony, that’s designed to influence or coerce public opinion or to disrupt a public assembly. And so, my guess is that the charge is based upon the idea that there was an attempt to disrupt the RNC, which would be treated as a public assembly, even though they didn’t apply for a permit under St. Paul public assembly laws to do so.

AMY GOODMAN: David Bicking, your daughter Monica is one of the eight. First, can you talk about her, talk about her activities?

DAVID BICKING: Yeah. My daughter Monica is a wonderful person, very concerned—

AMY GOODMAN: How old is she?

DAVID BICKING: —very committed. She’s twenty-three. And she and all the people—I mean, the people they have charged here are not criminals. They’re some of the best people in our society. She’s really dedicated to her activism. She’s experienced activist already. She’s come about this through her own experience in her life over a long time. She is always concerned about the feelings of others.

She has done some travel abroad. And when she was eight, we were in Ecuador for four weeks, and she saw the poverty and the children begging, but also humanized it by playing with the children, the maids in the, you know, inexpensive hotels there. She has—went to Honduras for eight weeks after her junior year to work in a very remote village, humanitarian work.

After high school, she took off a year before college and worked as an intern with the American Friends Service Committee, which is a Quaker peace group. She was based in Chicago and helped in their organizing and their peace work and liaison with other groups.

So she has a lot of experience, and she’s really seen what it means when—you know, the United States’ actions through war, through injustice at home, through poverty and how that’s affected people’s lives. And it’s affected her very deeply. And so, she’s strong. She’ll get through this one way or the other.

AMY GOODMAN: Is she still in jail?

DAVID BICKING: She is still in jail right now.

AMY GOODMAN: When was she picked up? How was she picked up?

DAVID BICKING: She was picked up on Saturday morning at 8:00 in the morning. She was staying in her house, which she had just bought a month before. And there were several roommates there and a whole bunch of people who had come in for the week. And at 8:00 in the morning, they were woken out of a sound sleep. The police came banging through the back door, held everyone at gunpoint. They had automatic weapons, assault rifles, forced everybody—ordered them to the floor, face down, handcuffed them behind their backs and then proceeded to search the entire house, just ransack everything.

When I got there forty-five minutes later, she and her boyfriend Eryn and a housemate, Garrett, were already in one of these big black SUVs they have, you know, and were taken off to jail just after that. And then, for the next hour or so, they released the other people in the house one by one, after photographing them, checking ID and searching them.

Then the search of the house went on for another like six hours probably, as they carted all sort of stuff out of the house. I watched, you know, as they took things out of the garage. There were old tires. I suppose those could be burned someplace. You know, there were just the sort of things homeowners would have, especially people fixing up a house. Many cans of paint, each which was patiently labeled and loaded onto the truck. It was just an absurd, absurd overreaction.

AMY GOODMAN: What is the RNC Welcoming Committee?

DAVID BICKING: The RNC Welcoming Committee is a group that defines itself as anarchist or anti-authoritarian. And she was working with them very closely, as were these other people. They saw their role as facilitating the protests and the actions around the Republican National Convention this week. Their major function was to help other people from out of town come and express what they wanted to express and do what they wanted to do to protest or to resist the convention.

So they spent a lot of time setting up housing, medics, legal support, child care, but, of course, also—and of more interest to the authorities—helped coordinate some strategies, helped people brainstorm about what sorts of things could be done or what would be effective. And so, members of the Welcoming Committee traveled around the country meeting with similar groups around the country to talk to them so that people could, as a whole, come to some agreement of how—not necessarily all use the strategy, all the same tactic, but how their actions could be coordinated, instead of at odds with each other. So, they were not planning the activities of this week, but rather helping others to plan and forming some sort of consensus so that this could all work and people could come here and do what they planned to do.

AMY GOODMAN: How much time do they face?

DAVID BICKING: Up to seven-and-a-half years under these charges.


We cannot all be perfect. Few are. Yet, there is a difference between being innocent and being guilty of heinous crime meriting seven years of prison.

There is disproportionate meanness of the state toward people basically only saying that injustice exists, and at times convenes.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Huckabee. His book, "Do the Right Thing." Current reading.

I just got it from the Anoka County Library Rum River Branch. They have a good library system, whatever else you might not like. It's on a 10-day circulation, being a popular item, non-renewable. Huckabee and Ron Paul are the interesting part of the GOP. Palin is schlock, others saying they will cut your taxes are walking cliches. They have a strong candidate positioned to run for the Obama Senate seat when it is next up. Ex-navy spook, Naval Intelligence Service being their spook-shop designation.

But the GOP has too many Michele Bachmann sorts, still, even with past elections.

John Boehner is Newt, without the hair. Equally sincere.

Newt and Jack Kemp shared - I think it could be a toupee, since I have never seen pics of the two of them together. I think it's one toupee that Newt and Kemp share; each getting it on alternate days. Perhaps not.

If the GOP becomes competitive, Huckabee might be one voice and Ron Paul the other that say quite different things from one another, but also different from plain vanilla GOP anti-choice divisiveness and theocratic agenda, for the wealthy to enjoy, the deluded to vote for. I may write a book report. I may not.

Initial results on a Google Alert set for "RNC 8."

Just the raw links, make of them what you will. Here, here, here (well written), here, here, here and here. I think I got the seven links arranged in order, without misdoing things - one omitted, another posted twice.

It seems these troublesome RNC 8 kids set up a website [aka free speech] and talked a lot and were seized by law enforcement before any of the eight took one real physical act in violation of traditional criminal law. I don't believe there was even any jaywalking. I could be in error.

Conspiracy to damage property in furtherance of terroristic aims and intent to terrorize now arguably is the sort of thing that is real cause to pull people off the streets and into jail. Isn't it? The Nazis had their rule of law - judges in robes, governmental prosecutors to screen and filter charges leveled by policing authorities, all the trappings of justice that we have - and they had so many laws that everybody was guilty of violating something - and they had explicit and clearly written and duly passed statutory law against Jews and Aryans intermarrying with terms of "hard labor" as a penalty. It was a state policy to regulate such behavior, and they never stopped running their courts even in wartime.

The basic question is what do you criminalize and when do you say, "Wait for a real action that is out of line with traditional criminal law and a threat to civil protection, to orderly traffic, to something real and actual and not potential or hypothetical, and then arrest the actual perpetrators, and do that before jugging kids who had the misfortune to be talking around a police infiltrator."

What concrete wrongful acts are alleged against these eight defendants?

How free is speech, really, if you can be pulled off the streets before a "Norm brought hockey back to Minnesota" love-in event has even started, because you were talking about it?

Talking in ways a suit with a badge did not like.

A hypothetical question since we know the Gaertner-Fletcher answer, eight kids were treated as they were for talking, and that is how "free" speech without a traditional criminal act is in Gaertner-Fletcher land.

It fits a bit uncomfortably, for me.

The RNC 8 basically, stripped of a lot of rhetoric, were saying the people running things don't really know what they are doing and probably are not making good decisions and things should be more decentralized. Not those words, those thoughts. And not a window broken by any one of them in the record I have seen publicized, not the hurling of a single hard object at a window or a cop. No playing with matches.

Prior restraint. And only that. Over speech.

Let's be fair. Look at it from the other side. Make the opposing argument. Clearly people suggesting such things, talking that way, should be put away -- and throw away the key.

It is how you keep order on the eve of a civic event. Yet we are about to entirely change our national executive, in days, and how are some talking now? It's a fair question.

See, here, here, and (because we should be particularly hard on those criticizing things that impact directly on national security) here. I say we arguably might be too soft in not criminalizing and putting complainers away for a long time, long enough so that they come out of the privatized prisons of the criminal justice system with a respect for the right we have, to maintain a status quo without a lot of whining and discord. It is maintaining order. Law and order. It is a goal in any complex nation, in any cohesive society.

And these brash offenders do it, their criticism, by setting up a website, then using it to deliberately question how things get done. How official acts are done, or how they should be done.

It is interference and we should tolerate none of it. Some in Congress might even question fundamental loyalties, and absent an oath, how can we really ever be sure, of basic loyalties?

Buckley v. Veleo, stripped of its rhetoric said "Money talks." It is protected speech to mix money into politics. But these kids, they were talking words, not tendering cash.

Money talks, fine; people talk, not okay?

Humpty Dumpty's fallen, Ms. Gearther; so try putting him back, at least, instead of blithely following your statutory cookbook about cooking an omelette.

The term is "prosecutorial discretion" and it does not only mean how heavy can you stand on little folks. It means be discerning of subtleties, where lack of good manners really is not a crime.

I suppose the hammer and nail old sayings are still valid - if the only tool you have is a hammer every situation looks like a nail; and the zaibatsu Japanese addition, the nail that stands up gets hammered down.

Opinions differ.

I realized I had done an entire post without saying "Nasser Kazeminy," and thought to myself, "Why do that?". So, just a string of disjointed and unconnected words thrown together haphazardly: Buckley v. Valeo, Nasser Kazeminy, Jeff Larson, lavish dress, lavish manners. Nothing to bind the words together nor to relate them in any relevant way to a post on criminality (actual per some statute or merely in the eye of the beholder).

_______FURTHER UPDATE_________
Screenshot, from the WaybackMachine (click to enlarge and read):

Any reader in favor of police brutality is asked to leave a comment.

An intent to "use this opportunity to make the changes we thirst for manifest and take root before us, making the Republicans/Democrats (whatever you want to call them) obsolete," that's there on the screenshot. I live in Minnesota's Sixth District. The DFL offered revolving-door lobbyist Elwyn Tinklenberg as if fit for Congress. The GOP offered opportunist divisionary theocrat Michele Bachmann for the same purpose.

They don't need anarchists. They are, each party, hard at work doing their best to make themselves obsolete. Successfully so, approaching now irrelevance, with obsolete merely down the road absent some kind of change in the DFL, (with the GOP lost in its unyielding sin of subservience to balance sheets and income statements of almost any kind, true or false, Madoff until crashing being just fine). How can these self-proclaimed young anarchists do more harm to the two parties in my district, than they have done to themselves - with Elwyn Tinklenberg and Michele Bachmann? That's not a rhetorical question. Give me a cogent answer, please. The district is a national laughingstock. Bless Bob Anderson and his courage.

I like the one theory in the first link the Google Alert yielded, see opening paragraph; the suggestion that local minions of government are pressed to show some kind of return on investment. Bang for the buck in return for all the tax money spent on police presence - personnel and equipment.

Gallons and gallons of pepper spray do cost money. Nobody manufactures and distributes tear gas for nothing. It's just not done. There's the balance sheet, now Fletcher-Gaertner give us an income statement, with public impact having arguable but real cash value.

Planning costs, state homeland security bureaucrats given salaries from the fisc, all that adds up especially in multi-million state deficit times.

Without show trials, how can we justify?

Joe Stalin knew how to hold show trials.

Susan Gaertner is an amateur.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Manufacturing in a malaise, but at least Boeing is still Boeing, helping balance of payments - - always prime and on time?

Malaise, Detroit, and Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound." But Boeing is Boeing; or is Boeing not?

Boeing was Boeing. That we know.

But is the luster waning, is tarnish present, is sloth one of seven deadly sins?

It's a question that's been blogged, and not by novices. And not by professional nit-picking nay-saying nabobs of negativism. Worse, far worse. By analytical mechanical engineers. An apparent chorus. They can be hard. Blunt. Direct.

Merciless and unyielding.

Probably intended as an insider thing, my hope is that linking to it will not cause the author to pull the post - post here, comments, here.

Too much Dream in the Dreamliner? Not enought schedule discipline to getting the ---liner part of it onto the line? You decide.

Gaza - Minnesota Independent blurbs, naming names.

Kieth Ellison. Betty McCollum. Dennis Kucinich. Kucinich seems to take the strongest position. McCollum, well, she sure hung Al Franken out to dry. No problems with lobbyist El Tinklenberg. Other than that, why care what she says especially pablum press releases.

Credit Polinaut for the links.


The disproportionate dimension of things appears to be the Kucinich focus.

The children of Palestinians and the children of Israel both deserve life. But the lives of the children of Gaza are cynically discounted as "human shields". Massacres are being rationalized. Israel's "moral high ground" in Gaza, a growing pile of small bones in a graveyard.

The Administration knows Israel is using US weapons, paid for by US taxpayers, with disproportionate force creating a collective punishment of Gazans, assuring an escalation of conflict, clear violations of the Arms Export Control Act.

Israel was given U.S. weapons on condition they would not be used for aggression or escalation. The outgoing Administration must finally stand for the rule of law, not the rule of force.

Italics added. Same "disproportionate" concerns, Lionel Beehner – Wed Dec 31, 2008, identical text published two places, here and here. That is after the Israeli air campaign began, before the ground campaign.

_______FURTHER UPDATE_________
The contrary view, here. This google. It seems a timely question; 136,000 google hits.

Call of the Wild.

The primordial Fairbanks Newsminer has the photo-report: A kerosene heater? What would Jack London say?

There is this:

The dominant primordial beast was strong in Buck, and under the fierce conditions of trail life it grew and grew. Yet it was a secret growth. His newborn cunning gave him poise and control. He was too busy adjusting himself to the new life to feel at ease, and not only did he not pick fights, but he avoided them whenever possible. A certain deliberateness characterized his attitude. He was not prone to rashness and precipitate action; and in the bitter hatred between him and Spitz he betrayed no impatience, shunned all offensive acts.

On the other hand, possibly because he divined in Buck a dangerous rival, Spitz never lost an opportunity of showing his teeth. He even went out of his way to bully Buck, striving constantly to start the fight which could end only in the death of one or the other.

Early in the trip this might have taken place had it not been for an unwonted accident. At the end of this day they made a bleak and miserable camp on the shore of Lake Le Barge. Driving snow, a wind that cut like a white-hot knife, and darkness, had forced them to grope for a camping place. They could hardly have fared worse. At their backs rose a perpendicular wall of rock, and Perrault and Francois were compelled to make their fire and spread their sleeping robes on the ice of the lake itself. The tent they had discarded at Yea in order to travel light. A few sticks of driftwood furnished them with a fire that thawed down through the ice and left them to eat supper in the dark.

Close in under the sheltering rock Buck made his nest. So snug and warm was it, that he was loath to leave it when Francois distributed the fish which he had first thawed over the fire. But when Buck finished his ration and returned, he found his nest occupied. A warning snarl told him that the trespasser was Spitz. Till now Buck had avoided trouble with his enemy, but this was too much. The beast in him roared. He sprang upon Spitz with a fury which surprised them both, and Spitz particularly, for his whole experience with Buck had gone to teach him that his rival was an unusually timid dog, who managed to hold his own only because of his great weight and size.

Spitz is the one in front of him, in line. Buck always knew to protect his back. All before Brokeback Mountain.

21st Century, we see civilization triumphant, and smile at the dark ages when lords and barons kept retainers to enforce their rule.

After the newer post below on the institutionalized humiliation and shaming effort aimed against the RNC 8, and such, earlier items on point but not linked there: here, here (and who is that mystery man), here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and to prove it was coldly intentional, here. Here? Here? Does web image match reality? Why would there be a gap?

Mom, Mom, Daddy's home. For some readers who might not have been born before 1955.

James Dobson's formative years. Thanks, Political Muse:

And a good dog doesn't pee indoors.

It will go to the door and whine prettily to be let out. Pleading noises. Not barking.

And it will fetch the paper and bring it in, on the way back. Just to be good. To be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RNC 8.

This image.

These links, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. The site has subpages you can explore as you like.

This petition.

Another image. This google. This google.

The bulk of online opinion seems to favor the defendants. Post links via comments, if you know of a pro-law enforcement or pro-prosecution viewpoint online. Post comments if you have an opinion, either way.

NOTE: I did a google = minnesota patriot act. I got links to things like the socialists' report, etc., but could not find a legislative link to the text/history/passage of the legislation. A bit of searching gave detail, key statutory text leading to the bill as passed, and brief legislative history, here and here. See "long title," and "House Research Bill Summary." Passed in 2002, early Bushco-hysteria days, great passion and little thought. With those links you can track down sponsorship, committees, passage majorities, voting in both chambers, etc., all things that could be interesting - a know your legislator kind of thing. If you read any of that stuff, reflect, does it make you feel any more secure in your person and property? Do you feel more exposed to some cop, some time, saying "Gotcha." I feel the latter. The entire damned thing should be repealed. Having all that stuff at the national level is bad enough. Imitated overreaching stupidity is how I view it, yet these eight people could be put in the slammer for years. Check their online biographies. Are they criminals, in your view? Should they be at such a risk as they are, as a moral question, answer it as you will. This image, from the "bio page."


Reader exercise: Rate these kids. This link. Also note, I did a cut/paste of their source for the below "DONATE" button, intending that you use it and that it cut over to their donate page. Defending against the weight of the heel of the state costs. Help them, that way.

________FURTHER UPDATE________
Today's "criminal," tomorrow's legend. Today's sheriff, tomorrow's too.

The Arab world is not monolithic nor unsophisticated. Things interesting for themselves and as examples of something else.

The Emirates are not Wahhabi-ist, and heads are not universally chopped off in public squares for instances of adultry. Compare, here, here, here and here. Scandalize them then send them on their way is not uniquely a western concept of properly dealing with minor misbehavior.

But that's hardly the point of things. Not with Gaza happening.

Objective argument of a position with stridency and Islamist fundamentalism wholly absent from the analysis, as largely collateral to the political realities of what's going on, is clear from these three Abu Dhabi items, two on Gaza and one on - of all things, possibly positive implications of the Madoff situation; respectively, here, here and here.

Tone and sophistication are apparent as "western-style" reporting, particularly British, per Economist or Guardian.

On Gaza, to show a range of material is out there for the taking by Mainstream Media, and that we perhaps are being propagandized that way with Bushco in alliance, here is a reprinted Russian item, from a "western" UN source.

We have to be cautious to not have our opinions influenced too much by what we are told, without a questioning mind toward those "telling us." We should try for a spectrum of sources giving us a broad perspective for opinion formation, which is what our government, State Department in particular, does. The only failure of "intelligence" leading to the Iraq invasion was of that between the ears of those looking for plausible lies to tell us, to justify their already formed decisions. That would be Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice and their cabal of neocons and other misfits. Lessons exist. It is for us to learn them.

AIPAC can have its say. It's graphics and its terminology. We believe what we think credible, and are better at it if there is not a single insistent and uncontradicted drumbeat - repetition being a key element to propagandizing a population.

Mention of Economist, without linking to their online Gaza coverage, would be remiss. See, here, here and here. Compare the Abu Dhabi "The National" items. Same writers? Same university schooling?

Finally, to be immune to propaganda, you must be a good person and go to church regularly, and listen to what they tell you. Pastor Blair at Lord of Life in Ramsey will even endorse candidates for you, mentioning his church affiliation with his name, but expressing a personal opinion not necessarily that of his congregation or Bishop. 501(c)(3) and all that. Pastor Mac dodged a bullet, so far, credit the lawyering. He preaches that God wants you to be rich and prosper and tithe yourself for his church's benefit. In part at least, it's an easy thing to believe. He believes it. The church buys airplanes for him. A demonstrated prosperity.

This is offensive. Very offensive. Let Zygi take this brand back to his home in New Jersey.

Strib, in Wonderland:

With the state and federal governments looking for ways to jump-start the economy, a New Jersey businessman has an ambitious public works project he says will create more than 5,500 jobs and provide $500 million or more to local contractors.

The businessman is Zygi Wilf, principal owner of the Minnesota Vikings.

The project: A $954 million, state-of-the-art stadium for his football team in downtown Minneapolis -- to be constructed using more than $635 million in public money.

"Why not? The Vikings are a public asset," said Lester Bagley, the Vikings' vice president in charge of stadium development. "This is going to create an economic boost."

The team has been trying to get public money to build a stadium for more than a decade. And even though Minnesota is facing one of the worst economic crises in its history, the team will once again approach the Legislature this month and ask for the money.

These guys pile it so deep you need hip waders on to navigate it. Offensive is too mild a word. Insultingly offensive, that's what it is. The man is special.

NOTE: The photo is an editorial statement not in the original article.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Richardson's withdrawal from cabinet consideration involved an individual who'd donated heavily to Obama's campaign.

The report is here.

I post it as interesting because the second page, apart from earlier pay-to-play allusions in the story, noted:

Rubin's firm, which helps local and state governments issue bonds, is no stranger to scandal and controversy. The IRS has investigated him on suspiciously high fees and concerns about his ties to banks who his firm connects with governments to issue bonds. The Justice Department raided his offices in 2006. No charges have been brought, and Rubin has denied any wrongdoing.

In early September – two weeks before Rubin attended Obama's Beverly Hills fundraiser – a group of Alabamans sued Rubin's firm and others over multi-billion dollar bond deals. The suit alleged CDR was part of a conspiracy which defrauded citizens and with bribery and corruption.

[emphasis added] This triggered in mind the thought that as part of due diligence, a new City of Ramsey council should look at the books.

With the biggest bonding in City history for the opulent new city hall and building of the large parking ramp, the questions to ask - what fees were charged, what financing arrangements were consummated, were fees in line with normal market charges or excessive, and if excessive how did deals come into place - what individuals played what roles, etc.

Due diligence, we expect.

It is a duty our council, and staff, owe taxpayers.

Transparency should accompany due diligence. How did the finance committee oversee and arrange things, which banks or other bond purchasers [assuming a private placement] were involved, how diversified is bond ownership at present, all those things should be reported to the citizens, by council.

Especially with the EDA involved in the lease-revenue financing thing - indirection for some reason not yet fully understandable to me - it was not a plain vanilla issuance of general obligation bonds, so - WHAT HAPPENED, ALL OKAY, OR PROBLEMS?

Not that we should presume problems, but vigilance is the price of many things, liberty being one under worn platitudes. Vigilance is not a bad thing. It is good, and keeps bureaucrats and others on their toes. Who got what fees out of that deal?

And in times of economic downturns often looking back reveals inadequate attention at earlier flush times where scrutiny might have been too much an afterthought.

New officials - check the books, please.

It would reassure those who elected you.

I corrected two typos, but otherwise I like what I said. New people are coming into place knowing there has been community dissatisfaction with the directions the city has taken, and with attitudes toward responsible management of other peoples' money. Taxpayers deserve to expect bang for the buck, and lean effective management. And a Comp Plan handled as it was insulted us all and there should be consequent assessment and housecleaning. By the Council. They are the City's board of directors.

A Special Report: Lawyers next, to pursue what is, of course, best for you and how you voted.

Special as a Democrat, special now as a Republican, offshore drilling advocate and special friend to offshore drilling business owner Nasser Kazeminy, he will take his special issue to court - for the good of the nation, especially as a matter of principle; AP reporting:

MINNEAPOLIS – No longer a U.S. senator, Republican Norm Coleman was headed to court Tuesday, seeking to overturn a state board's certification that Democrat Al Franken won the U.S. Senate recount.

Coleman's lawyers had promised a legal challenge a day earlier, arguing that some ballots were mishandled and others were wrongly excluded from the recount. Coleman scheduled an afternoon news conference at the State Capitol in St. Paul to discuss his next steps.

Minnesota law prohibits final certification of a winner in the face of such a lawsuit, meaning the race could remain in limbo for several more months.

Franken declared victory Monday, but a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in Washington the former "Saturday Night Live" personality would not be sworn in with new senators Tuesday.

Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh declined Tuesday to reveal if he was in Washington or what he would do during a legal challenge.

Minnesota's Canvassing Board certified Monday that Franken won 225 more votes than Coleman, out of almost 3 million cast.

"I am proud to stand before you as the next senator from Minnesota," Franken told reporters outside his downtown condominium.

The Canvassing Board's certification of the recount results started a seven-day clock for Coleman to file a lawsuit. His attorney, Tony Trimble, said Monday afternoon that the challenge would be filed within 24 hours.

"This process isn't at an end," Trimble said. "It is now just at the beginning."

A lawsuit would open doors closed to the campaigns during the administrative recount. The campaigns would be able to access voter rolls, inspect machines and get testimony from election workers.

When the smoke cleared after the election, Coleman appeared to hold a 215-vote lead. But Franken made up the deficit over seven tortuous weeks of ballot-sifting, in part by winning more of the challenges that both campaigns brought against thousands of ballots.

Franken also did better than Coleman when election officials opened and counted more than 900 absentee ballots that had erroneously been disqualified on Election Day.

Likely to be a major feature of any lawsuit is the argument by Coleman's lawyers that some ballots were mishandled and others were wrongly excluded from the recount, giving Franken an unfair advantage.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie was careful Monday to note that the board was simply signing off on the numbers found by the recount: Franken, with 1,212,431 votes, and Coleman, with 1,212,206 votes.

"We're not doing anything today that declares winners or losers or anything to that effect," Ritchie said.

All five members of the canvassing board — Ritchie, plus two state Supreme Court justices and two Ramsey County judges — voted to accept the recount results.

Meanwhile, PiPress' Dave Orrick reports Q's and A's:

Republican Norm Coleman, whose U.S. Senate term expired Saturday, announced Monday his offices are closed. There are a lot more Q's than A's on this topic, but here's our best shot as of Monday evening.

Coleman issued a statement that called the situation "unique in the history of the Senate" and promised that constituent needs would continue to be met.

"It has always been a high priority of mine to ensure that constituent service was being handled expeditiously and efficiently," Coleman said in a statement. "... Minnesotans should contact Sen. (Amy) Klobuchar's office or their local representative with any new casework needs they have. During this time we will also continue working to ensure constituents with outstanding and urgent casework needs are being served appropriately and effectively."

Q Why did the offices close?

A The Senate Rules Committee, which is controlled by Democrat Charles Schumer, of New York, ordered them closed. Senate dollars pay for those offices, and the Rules Committee has jurisdiction over such things. Coleman, apparently, has decided not to fight the decision. Another key fact that might have had an effect: The state canvassing board officially declared Monday that Democratic challenger Al Franken received 225 more votes than Coleman on Election Day.

Coleman has vowed to sue, and he'll speak publicly today. His attorneys have said the recount process is "broken."

Q What does it mean that he closed his offices?

A Literally, it means the doors on his four Minnesota offices and his Washington, D.C., offices are closed to the public, and workers won't be answering the main numbers.

Q Are his workers out of jobs?

A It's unclear. His press secretary, LeRoy Coleman (no relation), was still responding to reporters' questions Monday, and it appears some workers who deal with constituent services will be working.

Q What if I need my senator's help?

A We still have one senator: Klobuchar. Her spokesman issued the following statement Monday: "Until this is resolved, Senator Klobuchar and our staff will do everything we can to fill the gap and work with Minnesotans who contact us for help. That is our major focus right now."

There is no word whether he's also been ousted from his DC digs, rented to him by husband of a former Coleman staffer, who also reportedly fronted the cash for the Sarah Palin campaign wardrobe.**

Robocall guru Jeff Larson, please go easy on former Senator Coleman.

No evictions, please.

He's special.

**She looks special, acted special, dressed special, and she did that without any special help from Nasser Kazeminy buying her any of that specially nice stuff.

Landlord Jeff, they say, took that hit:

The Atlantic reported:

What hasn’t yet gotten any attention is who bought it for her. But buried in the same FEC disclosure form that revealed Palin’s taste for the fine life is the name of the man who appears to have been her personal shopper: Jeff Larson.

Does the name Jeff Larson sound familiar? It should. Larson is the Karl Rove protégé who’s a principal in the robocalling firm of FLS Connect (the “FLS” stands for Tony Feather, Jeff Larson, and Tom Synhorst*, all veteran Republican political operatives). Larson’s firm is the same one that launched the scurrilous robocalls against John McCain in 2000, and that McCain has now hired to make robocalls connecting Barack Obama to Bill Ayers. He’s also well known in Minnesota for leasing his basement apartment at a steeply discounted rate to embattled Republican Senator Norm Coleman. Evidently, Larson also has quite the eye for women’s fashion. Even hateful liberals would have to admit that Palin dresses awfully nicely.

What’s so incompetent about this from a political tradecraft perspective is that both parties ordinarily take the easy precaution of making sure such embarrassing material isn’t obvious to reporters, which they do by routing the payment through a law firm [insurance firm??] or consultant. Here they neglected to do so. Larson may not be able to look forward to a lucrative contract with a McCain administration. But who knows? He may land his own show on Bravo.

We live in special times.

Atlantic has the image showing the wardrobe - Larson connection, NYTimes has the expense sheet on dresing the Palins [allegedly, she could dress a bagged moose, but needed help dressing herself].

Where was Nasser when needed? Where was Hays Companies?

Why Jeff?

He's a landlord, he's a credit card, he's what else - but very, very special.

Burris is denied seating as the Obama replacement in the Senate.

"I will not be accepted, I will not be seated," Burris told a mob of reporters who had followed him across the street for a news conference in a cold and steady rain outside the Capitol.

The former Illinois attorney general said he was "not seeking to have any type of confrontation" over taking the seat that he was appointed to by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich. But Burris, who would be the Senate's only black member, also said he was considering a federal lawsuit to force Senate Democrats to seat him.

A change we can believe in. Rod B. denied a say, but not a role. The role of spoiler to a Camelot dream, perhaps, a Kennedy for every opening, perhaps.

More on that thought later. For now, figure that Harry Reid wants a strong campaigner with a basis of appeal and support to build an interim record now and then run and keep the seat Democratic - with potential based on name, charisma, charm and of course an interim record of influential progressive leadership; with the GOP arguably poised to run a strong contender for that Illinois Senate seat. (Thanks for that insight, Gary, it gives all of us perspective beyond immediate reactions to be thinking over while wondering what is playing out in Illinois and in the Senate.)

Senator Franken.





Has Garrison Kiellor weighed in yet, or is he waiting for all the dust to settle?

Now that it appears it will be Senator Franken, here is what we must recall. What we must take away from things.

So first thing, Senator Franken, please, please do not take this page of the campaign website down. Leave it there for all of us to measure you.

And citizen-voters - - - hold his feet to the fire if he abandons his positions on the issues, which after all is what was most impressive of his candidacy - what he stood for, for Minnesota and the nation, as opposed to the Norman Coleman track record.

Personally, in choosing huggy friends, I prefer the stuffed bunny. Over stuffed shirts. Any time.

Purrr, wooof, and other Ramsey rental noises.

click image to enlarge and read: movement toward becoming a community of renters? And, is it $1300/mo w/o appliances, tenant to pay association fees; $1400/mo otherwise? What are the annual association fees, they can escalate, and if you are in a negative equity situation, with debt service plus association fees, read the covenants and conditions, etc., and budget beyond the monthly mortgage payment. Times are harsh.

Gaza update.

Alan Dershowitz.

Angry Arab.



UN Security Council, here and here.

A google = UN security council gaza.

RAMSEY - At a guess, how many more dollars will the Kurak-Elvig-Gamec Town Center cost you?

Efficiency is getting the pictures/names updated. Ramsey is efficient, website-wise. You really don't need the link, just click and enlarge.

(If you want to access the video streaming, use the link to get that link. It is inactive in the image. And if you want the names and contact info, open the page in Internet Explorer where it displays the info, the screenshot is from FireFox with scripting blocked, and accurately portrays how the website displays in that browser configuration.)

Back to the headline question, have you ever noticed the city logo represents the open prairie plantings covering most of Town Center? Or perhaps I am wrong, and the depiction is of the swamp cattails we used to have before the new ditching and draining so that sewer could be run to the Gun Club. Perhaps. But it was a necessary step to cashing out the property. And that's been what Ramsey's been about, hasn't it?

Good luck to the newbies on Council. And this parting thought, with the gender make-up as it is, there was broom work done sweeping out some cobwebs, and now there will have to be mop-up, and traditionally that was June Cleaver's domain while Walt Cleaver went out to earn the daily bread. Let's hope traditional gender-bias role assignments do not get in the way of this crowd doing a credible mop-up, given the amount of mopping needed.

Finally, what do you make of the gap between the engineering estimate and the bid range of this most recent Dec. 4, 2008 "In the News" item from the Ramsey website?

Whatever you read into it, I see the transparency of posting that on the website as a good step. Sunshine on all that your local units of government do is always appreciated. Indeed, it would be nice if this new group goes back to televising Council work sessions, AND televises the Finance Committee and Public Works Committee meetings - Park Board is nice, but the money gets spent more in the dark than necessary or proper. Should we say, "Televise the Pork Board, before the Park Board?" That could become a new City slogan.

Gentlemen: Fix it, please. Give us more transparency.

I could have added one hyphenated name to the headline, but why make the headline too long. Everyone knows who the driving forces were, but not why in every instance. In honor of the City Administrator before Kurt Ulrich, and lest Kurt fall into untoward ways, I will quote the MISSION paragraph on the opening screenshot, as on the website:

The Mayor and Councilmembers serve as the administrative and legislative authority for the City. The Mayor serves as the presiding officer at meetings of the Council. The Mayor and Councilmembers are responsible for directing the work of City staff.

Given how the Comp Plan joke was played out, especially at the end where the detail was foisted off on us all at the very last minute with Ms. Hyphenated Name saying her boss would spank Ramsey if an arbitrary deadline went unmet, all that theater; it all was the fault, ultimately at least, of the then-sitting mayor and council and not staff or consultants, regardless of who actually did what when and played what hand in the game and conversed in hallways with whomever. The buck stops at the Council (in the Truman sense - although arguably sometimes at relatives in the non-Truman sense).

In wishing the new council well and a full term without mishap or conflict of interest, would anyone knowing what the Terry Hendriksen Legal Defense Fund was for, please send an email.

Strib [AP feed] on Caroline Kennedy - she only needs one vote for the open Senate seat.

The nub of things, Paterson, successor to "call-girl" Spitzer as NY Guv, has that vote.

The wire feed takes a long and intricate route to saying that. Here.

If she gets that vote, she will be running in the future on her interim record, so all the present hooting, questioning, and coverage will be moot.

But it is celebrity where we have no aristocracy, as such, no House of Lords.

Dick Cheney is - - -

Above the law?

That's not exactly what he says. He says the law means what he says it does.

And do you suppose he'd have left any paper trail, or that when the dust settles there will be one?

Whether or not you have answers to the last paragraph in your heart and mind, the CREW litigation against Cheney has reached a cross-summary judgment stage, over whether his view of the "vice presidency" as somehow unique from the reach of the Presidential Records Act is or certainly appears to be moving toward a court opinion.

With the worse president and vice president in the history of the nation about to exit their lawful powers attached to their having taken those positions over the past eight years, nailing down the bogus nature of the Cheney position over public ownership and right to custody over vice presidential records, such as he leaves them intact for history, is immediately important for some kind of proper resolution.

As proper a resolution as the personality and nature of Dick Cheney will permit.

CREW reports, here. This google.

For those not knowing the meaning of the term "snow job" see here.

Barney cam and all. It should be called Blarney cam, shouldn't it?

Monday, January 05, 2009

Abuse of the language, "inevitable."

Many outlets have news of the Franken lead, and the Supreme Court decision, [which Joe Bodell at Minnesota Progressive links to, here, courtesy of the Uptake], so you can download the Court's pdf file and read the original item.

And I suppose I could find this abusive usage other than at one place, but this is my source, Dave Orrick and Rachel Stassen-Berger of PiPress explained the situation:

"Today's [Minnesota Supreme Court] ruling, which effectively disregards the votes of hundreds of Minnesotans, ensures that an election contest is now inevitable," Fritz Knaak said in a noon statement.

Just hours before the Minnesota canvassing board is slated to declare Democrat Al Franken the winner of the long-running U.S. Senate race, the state Supreme Court today dealt Coleman a blow.

Coleman had asked the court to force reconsideration of 654 absentee ballots his campaign said may have been rejected in error. In its decision today, the court essentially said he will have to seek redress for that complaint in an election lawsuit after the canvassing board acts.

Now, the PiPress opening paragraph:

Shortly after the state Supreme Court this morning rejected Republican Norm Coleman's last hope to stop the U.S Senate recount, Coleman's attorney said a post-election lawsuit is "inevitable."

First linguistic nuance, always someone bleats, "inevitable." So, is there such a word as "evitable" and what might it mean? Use of the negativing prefix suggests the word exists.

My Webster's Collegiate Dictionary [not too fat, not too thin, just right] has the definition:

evitable: avoidable

Okay. I like that.

A judicial fight is entirely avoidable, if only Norm Coleman would fold his hand and avoid wasting time and money in further contesting of things - the exact step he urged upon Al Franken months ago, back in the days immediately following election day.

Norm, just do it. It is evitable.

Tell your attorney that.

Nothing about going to court is "inevitable." The man has abused the English language without excuse. Get a new lawyer.

Caroline Kennedy - elitism and birth rights, in a purported democracy - or what might young Jeb and Sarah Palin [without the money and bloodline] say?

Privilege is nothing new to how America runs. But Caroline Kennedy has been a lightening rod in ways that George W. Bush and younger brother Jeb sidestepped. Is it gender, differing times, better vs. less skilled handlers, or regional differences between New York and Texas and Florida? Remember New York is the state that embraced Bobby Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, carpet bags and all.

Since succession to the Wellstone seat is the overriding current Senate issue in Minnesota questions of succession to the Bobby Kennedy - Hilary Clinton seat take a back seat, locally.

However, the situation is interesting. Start with "The limits of celebrity" a Calgary reprint of an Ottawa paper's op-ed:

The New York Times headline calls her "forceful but elusive." In reading the transcript of Caroline Kennedy's interview, it becomes clear that the headline writer was being kind.

Kennedy, having spent a lifetime avoiding the media, is now giving a round of interviews about her candidacy for Hillary Rodham Clinton's vacated Senate seat. So it's understandable that she's a little uncomfortable. That might explain the defensive and opaque responses to reporters' questions, and the painful repetition of the space-filling tic "you know."

But she is a well-connected and wealthy person, with every opportunity to learn how to express her opinions. She grew up in a family full of politicians and activists. If she hasn't grasped the basics of public speaking and public policy, despite all her advantages, she probably isn't ready for a Senate seat.

It's also worth noting that she can't turn her rookie status to political advantage. She's not an unpolished populist, coming up from the lower classes to challenge the elite. She is the elite. If vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin had told reporters something like, "This is not, you know, about me, it's about what I can do to, you know, help New York get its fair share, help working families, travel the state, bring attention to what is going on up there,"Democrats would have guffawed and Republicans would have blamed the "East Coast liberal media" for setting her up. When it's an East Coast liberal who's flustered and vague, it's hard for partisans to know their roles.

In the Times interview, Kennedy referred several times to her "family tradition" and to the potential benefits, to her constituents, of having a celebrity speak for them. Neither her genes, nor her celebrity, are enough to make her a political candidate with something interesting to say.

Celebrity again the key word in a western New York LTE from a Buffalo reader, "The last thing we need is a celebrity senator":

So Caroline Kennedy always wanted to be a senator just like her daddy and her uncles, Bobby and Teddy. As the Church Lady might say, “Well isn’t that special.”

Most people probably don’t know that she does travel upstate, too. From the New York Times: “Ms. Kennedy said she had spent some time in the Catskills and the Adirondacks; when asked her favorite place in the state outside of the city and Long Island, she said, ‘I like visiting historical sites. I loved visiting the battlefields of Saratoga.’ ” And the New York City pols are falling all over themselves agreeing about how well qualified she is.

Someone described the honor guard surrounding her downstate trip as a phalanx. All she needed was a flatbed of trumpeters leading her motorcade crossing the Hudson to bring to mind those movies of Caesar riding triumphantly through the provinces on his way to Rome.

The other coast, Olympia Washington, an editorial with "privilege" the key wording, "Caroline Kennedy needs to earn the privilege of serving":

Caroline Kennedy's timing is impeccable. One shouldn't expect any less from someone whose surname is synonymous with "Camelot," all things gracious and semi-royal.

Problem is, her decision to finally put the family's sterling brand name to personal use has come too late. She shouldn't be rewarded with a New York Senate seat just because she wants it.

The backlash Kennedy is experiencing gives weight to the dawn of a new era: People are weary of those with influence calling the shots, expecting things that others earn, no matter how sincere the intention.

Kennedy's grab for the Senate seat that Gov. David Paterson must fill when Hillary Clinton moves to her appointment as secretary of state is a perfectly timed example.

Kennedy, now that she is finally acquiescing to interviews about her desire to be a senator, has said she felt called in part because of the Obama presidency.

"I think it's a special moment in my life and in the life of this country, where there is this unique opportunity to help bring change to Washington," she told The New York Times.

Yes, Obama has ignited a grassroots sense that everyone has a role to play in reshaping America. The idea that from the CEO to the parent leading the PTA, a civic role can be found. Kennedy is right to see the similarity of that message, and the messages of her father.

But the line was "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." Not: what plum job your country can hand to you.

The rub is that the highly intelligent Kennedy likely would do a good job. Her connections with who's who in New York, her ability to solicit cooperation from differing segments of the social strata - all of that might bode well for a Sen. Caroline Kennedy, and by trickle-down for New York and the country.

But she'd need to earn the privilege of serving people, through an election. And that seems to be exactly what she has not wanted to do.

Kennedy has been squirrely about this. A New York Times reporter asked her repeatedly if she would have run for the seat, or if she'd consider contesting it in 2010 if she is not appointed. Kennedy dodged the question so assiduously that the reporter remarked, "It sounds like you only want it if it's handed to you."

Lower Hudson valley op-ed, "Kennedy needs to make her case for Senate":

Caroline Kennedy might make a fine senator from New York - or she might not.

It is hard to tell from what she has said so far.

Would she abolish tenure for teachers and offer them merit pay instead? She declined to tell The New York Times.

Would she repeal President Bush's tax cuts on the wealthy immediately?

"Well, you know, that's something, obviously, that, you know, in principle and in the campaign, you know, I think that, um, the tax cuts, you know, were expiring and needed to be repealed," she was quoted by the Daily News as saying.

That seems to be a yes, but hardly a straightforward one.

What prompted her to seek the seat?

Two events, she told The Associated Press: the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and her work for Barack Obama's presidential campaign.

"Many people remember that spirit that President Kennedy summoned forth," she said of her father. "Many people look to me as somebody who embodies that sense of possibility. I'm not saying that I am anything like him, I'm just saying there's a spirit that I think I've grown up with that is something that means a tremendous amount to me."

Why would she be a good senator?

"So I think in many ways, you know, we want to have all kinds of different voices, you know, representing us, and I think what I bring to it is, you know, my experience as a mother, as a woman, as a lawyer, you know, I've been an education activist for the last six years here, and you know, I've written seven books - two on the Constitution, two on American politics," she told The New York Times.

"So obviously, you know, we have different strengths and weaknesses," she said.

Since Kennedy emerged as a possible replacement for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, she has been criticized relentlessly. New York does not need another celebrity senator, her detractors say. Seasoned lawmakers should be considered over such a political novice.

If Clinton is confirmed as Obama's secretary of state, it would be up to Gov. David Paterson to choose her replacement. At first Kennedy was faulted for avoiding the press, then for giving less-than-eloquent explanations of why she should be chosen.

The "you knows" sprinkled throughout her responses prompted more articles than any position she took, and lots of unsolicited advice from speech coaches. She acknowledged she had not mastered the sound bite, her spokesman, Stefan Friedman, said.

"But if Gov. Paterson appoints her, she'll fight her heart out to make sure New York families have their voices heard in Washington," he said.

I'm not among the critics who carp about political dynasties. She has an interesting résumé, she might do well for New York in the Senate, but she will have to make a stronger case for herself. Perhaps it is her inexperience, but she has not shown the forcefulness she will need to convince New York that she should take Clinton's place.

Embodying a sense of possibility is insufficient. She needs to say which policies she supports and which, such as school vouchers, she does not. She needs to say how she would harness that sense of possibility. What would she do with it? She cannot be coy even if she must introduce herself to New Yorkers while not appearing to pressure the governor, a worry she would not have if she were running for the seat rather than seeking an appointment.

Clinton herself had no experience as an elected official. She had worked to elect her husband and had been the first lady for eight years, but had never won a seat for herself. Still, we knew what her interests were, we knew about her attempts to reform health care and improve education. [...]

National Review, "Like Son Jeb as President":

Former President Bush (there's currently only one of those!) has endorsed his other governor-son for president. As we await David Paterson's Caroline Kennedy Senate appointment, I have to think that Jeb for President is not the craziest idea. Jeb for President can't happen four years from now. But if Jeb Bush runs for the Martinez Senate seat and puts in some hard time there, voters might consider the presidential possibility, even if he would be a third Bush (the media is another story and might make a win impossible). [...]


Future magic unicorn senator Caroline Kennedy was the only New York City employee who got to avoid disclosing her assets when she worked for the schools. That's right: Kennedy was privileged.

Granted, that surprises basically no one, since Kennedy's last name and family privilege is the only reason she's looking like a shoo-in for a job she's utterly unqualified to hold.

But it is interesting how much of a free pass the prospective New York senator got in her work for the city Department of Education from 2002 to 2004, judging from today's Times story.

Kennedy was apparently the only person in the entire city government who got to aboid filing a 32-page personal financial disclosure form. Even Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who like Kennedy earned only $1 per year in salary, had to disclose his assets. Kennedy's two top deputies had to disclose. Two other top officials with nominal salaries had to disclose. Kennedy got pass.

How? The city keeps changing its answer:

City officials have most often pointed to Ms. Kennedy’s decision to accept $1-a-year in salary. More recently, Joel I. Klein, chancellor of New York’s schools, explained that she was ultimately exempt from the requirement because the department did not deem her to be a “policymaker.”

The Times has been hammering Kennedy on this issue. It already mentioned her pass from the city in a story two weeks ago, in which Kennedy refused to make detailed financial disclosures to the Times itself.

The only trouble? No one is alleging that Kennedy has any ill-gotten riches. It's mildly upsetting that she got a pass on some public disclosure laws, but fault for that lies with the city. The problem is that Kennedy couldn't get financially crafty if she wanted to. The U.S. Senate will eat this woman alive.

That is enough for a flavor, see mainstream media, here, here, here, and here.

In Britain, it is impolite to ask the Queen to explain herself, beyond what she cares to say. There is a taste of that expectation either actual or read by some into the way Caroline Kennedy has posed herself, arguably too circumspect in some ways, too bold in others.

But, so what? If Norm Coleman goes to the Senate, it's been cheapened enough that faulting Ms. Kennedy in any way for that body is out of line. She can buy her own clothing. That distinguishes her from Palin and, believing stories about Kazeminy largess, our Sen. Coleman. And when comparing the Bush clan to the Kennedy clan, sure the luggage is set down in differing parties, but who exactly did Joe Kennedy or Preston Bush like in the 30's, in Germany, as best for the situation? Also, each dynasty is bare-knuckle to larcenous, depending on who's telling the story - be it Cook County 1960 election returns to defeat Nixon, plus the Joe Kennedy legend, or Bush in Florida in 2000, in Ohio in 2004. Is this Kennedy above such frays - separate and apart from lower motive; change anyone might believe in, from a Kennedy?

WaPo photo, here.