Friday, January 26, 2007

Wolf gets sheepish.

Yes, the Democrat playbook never seems to change. The one play they’ve consistently implemented over the past few years is to alienate moral conservatives from the Republican Party. One of their favorite tactics is to point out the fact that Vice President Dick Cheney’s daughter, Mary, is a lesbian. Despite that fact, the VP has been on record saying he supports the Bush administration’s stance on marriage defined as one woman and one man.

It was the third Presidential debate in 2004 when Democratic candidate John Kerry invoked Mary Cheney’s name. When moderator Bob Schieffer asked the candidates if homosexuality is a choice, Kerry responded:

“We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.”

The Democrat apologists would have us believe that Mary Cheney was the first name which leapt to Kerry’s mind. Hey, it was a hotly contested campaign in ‘04. Certainly we couldn’t have expected Senator Kerry to remember an openly gay, 12-term Congressman from his own state. No, the allusion to Mary was an obvious attempt to quell what was certain to be a larger turnout of morally conservative voters. As Mary’s mom, Lynne, said afterwards, it was “…a cheap and tawdry political trick."

Fast forward to this past Wednesday when VP Cheney appeared on CNN’s “The Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer.

Blitzer decided to stir up some controversy by reading a statement from the ministry Focus on the Family, which alluded to Mary Cheney’s pregnancy and parental future.

Watch the video for the daggers shooting out of the VP’s eyes!

BLITZER: We're out of time, but a couple of issues I want to raise with you. Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family:

"Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child."

Do you want to respond to that?

CHENEY: No, I don't.

BLITZER: She's obviously a good daughter --

CHENEY: I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question.

BLITZER: I think all of us appreciate --

CHENEY: I think you're out of -- I think you're out of line with that question.

BLITZER: -- your daughter. We like your daughters. Believe me, I'm very, very sympathetic to Liz and to Mary. I like them both. That was just a question that's come up and it's a responsible, fair question.

CHENEY: I just fundamentally disagree with your perspective.

BLITZER: I want to congratulate you on having another grandchild.

It’s time to call another play, lefties. The last couple times this has been called it resulted in (to use a football analogy) a 10 yard loss.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fanning the flames.

I have yet to see a movie starring young actress Dakota Fanning. From everything I’ve been able to gather she seems to be a fine young talent.

But her latest offering has the 12-year old actress mired in controversy.

At a festival that features several films with sexual content, including full male nudity and a documentary about bestiality, a southern Gothic tale that includes the rape of a young girl is causing the biggest stir.

"Hounddog" is the story of Lewellen, a girl played by 12-year-old Dakota Fanning, who is growing up in the 1960s South. She is a free- spirit obsessed with Elvis Presley and has little supervision by her abusive father and alcoholic grandmother.

Wow!! That’s a far cry from her role as Fern in the movie Charlotte’s Web.

Our friend and fellow blogger Katie had an interesting take on this whole situation. Keep in mind that Katie, who has a 12-year old daughter herself, has been described by one critic as “Erma Bombeck on meth”.

Don't you love how Dakota, at the ripe old age of 13, is finally doing her "time to go all gritty and adult" thing in her new movie in which she gets brutally raped? File that one under WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT CHILD'S PARENTS???

"Hi honey, how was work today?"

"Um, OK I guess. We had to film that scene where I get raped. I wish I could do more movies about pigs and spiders and stuff."

"Sweetie, we talked about this. You're getting to be a big girl and it's time you graduated from 'kid' movies. Sighhhh... Sometimes little girls get raped. It's not fun, but it's real, and you need to start thinking about that if you don't want that kid from 'Little Miss Sunshine' to take all your roles. Because then your career will end and I won't love you anymore."

Ah, but in young Dakota’s eyes her parents are using this film as some sort of life lesson.

"I'm going to be a freshman in high school in September, and I think it would be irresponsible of my parents not to let me know of things that happen and to try not to get yourself in uncomfortable situations," she said. "It's educational."

Whoever coined the phrase “learn by doing” certainly didn’t have this in mind.

Kerry buried.

In a move that should surprise no one…..

Senator John F. Kerry plans to announce today that he will not run in the 2008 presidential race, and will instead remain in Congress and seek reelection to his Senate seat next year, according to senior Democratic officials.

Within the last couple of weeks it appeared Kerry might enter the fray. But Kerry’s lackluster 2004 campaign, the formidable Democratic foes he’ll face in ’08 and the specter of his “botched joke” seemed way too much to overcome.

Kerry plans to make his plans known with a speech on the Senate floor this afternoon, and is taping a message to e-mail his supporters to explain his decision.

His current Senate term is due to expire in 2008. According to the Boston Globe story, Kerry will seek a fifth term as Massachusetts senator.

To be honest, I’m actually going to miss Kerry in the ’08 election cycle. Given the fact that he appears to be a pompous, thin-skinned elite, I was looking forward to the likes of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) slicing and dicing him over his “botched joke.”

As I’ve said before, the Dems will definitely not hesitate to eat their own.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Another brush with greatness.

While attending St Paul Harding High School in the 80s I had no idea I was in a veritable breeding ground of celebrities.

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg graduated a year before I did.

Actress Kelly Carlson didn’t actually attend Harding High but I played was a member of her Dad’s basketball team in 1984-85. Young Kelly, then age 8, would visit her Dad on an occasional Friday evening and enthusiastically cheer on the team.

Now I find that a fellow member of Harding’s class of 1987 has joined the celebrity ranks.

No Winter Carnival would be complete without Klondike Kate, the festival's mistress of fun, frivolity and friendship.

This year, the title goes to St. Paul resident Darice Koepke, who's had her eye on the prize since she was a little girl.

Klondike Kate is modeled after Kathleen Rockwell, who made her way across the mountains to the Yukon and Klondike rivers, as many others did during the Gold Rush of 1898.

Koepke graduated from Harding High School in 1987. "I get to go to our 20-year reunion as Klondike Kate."

I remember Darice well. Even in high school she had a vibrant and rather gregarious personality. In fact, she was one of the few underclassmen in the school’s Concert Choir. She could definitely belt out a tune with the best of ‘em.

Congrats, Darice! We’ll see you at the reunion in September.

Tony Dungy: Head of the Class.

What a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy had to feel overwhelmed. His football team was considered the best in the NFL, finishing with a 14-2 record after a blistering 13-0 start to the 2005 season. Unfortunately for Dungy, the Colts once again fell short of a Super Bowl after being upset in the divisional playoffs by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, that pain paled in comparison to what he was suffering just a month earlier.

Three days before Christmas, Dungy’s 18-year old son, James, took his own life. It was that tragic situation which really showed us the class, character and dignity of Dungy. Instead of showing the breath-taking devastation he must have felt inside, Dungy, along with wife Lauren, rejoiced in the fact that their son was with Jesus.

Fast forward a year and once again we saw the Colts get off to a fast start. A 9-0 beginning to the 2006 campaign had the Indianapolis faithful talking Super Bowl. But a 3-4 stretch to finish the season caused the fans much trepidation. The Colts run defense was exposed, allowing an average of 191 yards rushing over that seven-game span.

Despite those anxious moments, Dungy’s calm, cool demeanor kept the Colts focused. Three playoff wins against teams with potent rushing attacks has propelled the Indianapolis Colts to the one spot that has consistently eluded them ---the Super Bowl!

When Dungy left the Minnesota Vikings as defensive coordinator after the 1995 season to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Vikes long snapper Mike Morris said “There goes the real deal.”

So on the evening of February 4, Dungy will become the first African-American head coach to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy. He will do so in the same manner he has handled defeat and tragedy ---- with grace and humility.

The Real Deal, indeed.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Sunday with Common.

Well my prediction for a Patriots-Saints Super Bowl didn’t pan out.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed watching the NFC Championship game at Parlays Lounge in Red Wing with Dan “Common Man” Cole of AM 1130 KFAN.

As usual, Common really went out on a limb when asked who would win, Saints or Bears.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

NFL championship week.

The NFL’s version of the Final Four will take place this afternoon. I can’t think of a time where two conference title games were as tough to predict as these two.

By the way if you’re thinking of a place to enjoy the NFC game (which starts at 2:30), come on out to the Parlay Lounge at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Red Wing. A few us will be there at a gathering hosted by “The Sports Leader”, AM 1130 KFAN.

Now, the predictions.

Saints (+2) at Bears: National sentiment (outside Chicago, that is) seems to be with the New Orleans Saints. After a 3-13 record and the harrowing remnants of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Saints are definitely the Cinderella story of 2006. An explosive offense led by quarterback Drew Brees doesn't hurt either. On the other hand, the Chicago Bears have been reeling the past month due to a suddenly vulnerable defense and a schizophrenic Rex Grossman at quarterback. For the first month of the '06 campaign we heard some rumblings of Grossman potentially becoming the next Favre. However, after a couple of “Blutarski” games (0.0 QB rating), that overzealousness was put to rest. Grossman did just enough to lead his team to victory over Seattle last week. This week, the Bears faithful will be clamoring for backup QB Brian Griese.
Pick: Saints 27 Bears 24

Patriots (+3) at Colts: The New England Patriots are 5-0 all-time in AFC Championship games. They have also served as the personal playoff tormentor of Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning. The Pats bested the Colts in the 2003 AFC title game and the 2004 divisional playoffs. However, Manning turned in two impressive performance in the 2005 and 2006 regular season contests, both victories in New England. It’s hard to ignore the 12-1 playoff record of Patriots QB Tom Brady. Of course, a few of those post season wins (including two Super Bowls) were won late thanks to the clutch field goals delivered by kicker Adam Vinatieri – now with the Colts. I have a feeling this game too will come down to a field goal. But it will be Pats kicker Stephen Gostkowski who will have the honors this time around.
Pick: Patriots 24 Colts 23

Friday, January 19, 2007

Aren't you supposed to be in Ireland?

Didn’t actor Robert Redford threaten to move out of the country if President Bush were re-elected in 2004? Huh. He must have had a change of heart.

Anyhow, Bob’s perpetual haughtiness was on display last evening.

The Sundance Film Festival opened on Thursday night with an innovative movie harkening back to Vietnam anti-war protests and a call by actor/activist Robert Redford for an apology by U.S. leaders.

Redford, whose Sundance Institute for independent film backs the annual festival, said in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks he, like many others, showed a "spirit of unity" with President George W. Bush and others who backed the war on terrorism and led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

"We put all our concerns on hold to let the leaders lead," Redford told a packed audience for the opening night documentary film, "Chicago 10."

"I think we're owed a big, massive apology," he added.

So are we…from you, Bob!! After all, we movie goers had to sit through the entire 117 minutes of Indecent Proposal.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A new hope?

Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research was certainly a hot issue in the last two election cycles.

In 2004, you had Democratic VP candidate John Edwards declare that “…when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.''

In 2006, we witnessed actor Michael J. Fox demagogue campaign on behalf of Senate candidates (and eventual victors) Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

In 2001 when President Bush took a hard-line stance on not allowing embryos to be desecrated in order to harvest stem cells, he was vilified by some as a “religious zealot.” Many went so far as to imply the President was blocking cures to such diseases as Parkinsons, Alzheimers and paralysis.

However, as syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer pointed out, the President’s stance may have allowed for another, more suitable alternative.

Future generations may nonetheless thank Bush for standing athwart history, if only for a few years. It gave technology enough time to catch up and rescue us from the moral dilemmas of embryonic destruction. It has just been demonstrated that stem cells with enormous potential can be harvested from amniotic fluid.

This is a revolutionary finding. Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb during pregnancy. It is routinely drawn out by needle in amniocentesis. The procedure carries little risk and is done for legitimate medical purposes that have nothing to do with stem cells. If it nonetheless yields a harvest of stem cells, we have just stumbled upon an endless supply.

And not just endless, but uncontroversial. No embryos are destroyed. The cells are just floating there, as if waiting for science to discover them.

Even better, amniotic fluid might prove to yield an ideal stem cell -- not as primitive as embryonic stem cells and therefore less likely to grow uncontrollably into tumors, but also not as developed as adult stem cells and therefore more ``pluripotential'' in the kinds of tissues it can produce.

Oh, and for those of you who like to blather on about “You can’t talk about it unless you have a loved who…blah blah blah”: Krauthammer himself is a physician AND a paraplegic. I’d say he’s more than qualified to opine.

Check out the entire piece here.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Air America: Not just financially bankrupt.

I have maintained for some time now that the Democratic party is void of ideas. Don’t let the 2006 elections fool you. The Dems never put together any discernible agenda, instead opting for the same old “GOP culture of corruption” rhetoric. However, they were able to put a face to that perpetual blather when the Mark Foley scandal broke in late September. From then on, it seemed to be “game over” for the Republicans.

Now it appears liberal talk radio is an extension of the Democratic bankruptcy of ideas. An example of this would be the lackluster promotion of shows heard on Dead Air America Minnesota.

The Stephanie Miller Show” can be heard on AM 950 weekdays from 8 am until 11:00. If you check out her show intro on the AAM website, it starts out by saying “Real, wickedly funny and so addictive that the Surgeon General recommends Rush not listen.” Addictive, eh? Sounds to me like a knock off of “Healthy Radio Addiction”, the slogan of a certain conservative, female talk-show host, who also broadcasts from 8-11.

Another lame attempt at creativity was offered up on a billboard advertising “The Ed Schultz Show”, which is heard daily on AAM from 11 am until 2 pm. The slogan on said billboard? “Better Talker. Better Station.” For the past several months, we have seen advertisements for conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, which promoted his immensely popular show on KTLK with “Big Talker. Big Station.” Obviously, the ad for Schultz’s show is a shot at El Rushbo. However, AAM is not laboring under the delusion that Fast Eddie will approach Rush’s ratings. I guess they figure a parody of Limbaugh’s ad is the next best thing.

Here’s one I’d like to see but doubt it will ever come to pass: The Al-Jazeera Franken network.

Now that’s creative!

An apology is in order.

I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and was in no way fair comment, and was motivated purely by malice, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused you, or your family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.
-Archie Leach (played by John Cleese) in A Fish Called Wanda.

On one of the coldest days of the year, I was in a hurry to get home from work. However, I needed to make a stop at the nearest gas station as I was running on fumes. I turned into the lot of the local BP, right behind a Mercedes SUV. As we both drove toward two empty pumps the Mercedes stopped at the first pump. Since there was an available pump just a few feet ahead, I was incredibly annoyed that the vehicle didn’t pull ahead. I was so annoyed that I believe I said something to the effect of “Pull ahead you buffoon!”

Unfortunately, the driver of the SUV did not honor my request. In fact, said "buffoon" turned out to be a slender, 5’10” brunette. It was at this realization that my frustration turned to guilt. I backed my car up and turned it around so I could gas up from the other side of the pump where the SUV was parked. As I sheepishly got out of my vehicle, the sultry-voiced owner of the Mercedes apologized and said “I wasn’t trying to be a jerk. It’s just that the pump ahead of me was out of 92 Octane gas.” I remarked, “Well…if it’s any consolation, I didn’t call you a jerk.”

Yes, even at 37 years old I’m still reminded of the lessons I learned as a kid: Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t naturally assume the worst about everybody.

And yes I would have kept that in mind even if it was some crusty old man who drew my initial ire.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sports follies.

As I have mentioned in this space before, my Dad is one of the more irrational human beings when it comes to arguing his allegiances in life, politics, etc.

Sports is also a curious source of contention when having a conversation with Dad.

He shows a significant disdain for some of the elite athletes of our time. For example, golfer Tiger Woods and NBA great Michael Jordan are/were “overhyped” according to Dad. Let’s see: Woods has done more before the age of 30 than most PGA greats have done in twenty-plus years on tour. Jordan? He only led his team to six NBA titles. Those players are a dime-a-dozen I suppose.

Amazingly, Dad never grew weary of the constant adulation that surrounded the brilliant NFL wide receiver Jerry Rice. It probably had nothing to do with the fact that Rice spent 16 seasons as a member of Dad’s favorite team, the San Francisco 49ers, did it? Huh. I just can’t put a finger on that one.

Anyhow, the New England Patriots have most recently drawn Dad’s ire. Their three Super Bowl titles in a four year span (2001-04) resulted in their QB, Tom Brady, being mentioned in the same breath as Joe Montana. That more than anything is what has Dad in such a twist. Montana also achieved his great success as a member of the 49ers. Also, the Niners have won five Super Bowls (including one victory engineered by QB Steve Young). Any threat to the legacy of Dad’s favorites causes him to make some of the more asinine arguments. After the Pats won their third title in 2004, Dad protested “Yeah, well they’ve only won each game by three points. So they’re not that good.” Ah, news flash there, Dad. A team has to go through 16 regular season games and a minimum of two post season games just to get to the Super Bowl. Actually getting there is no small feat. So to discredit a team for not winning the big game in convincing fashion? Pretty weak.

Oh, and here’s another...uh…”inconvenient truth”: Brady led his club to three Super Bowl wins within his first five NFL seasons. Montana? It took him ten years to bag three.

Of course, Dad will argue that Montana won four titles as opposed to Brady’s mere three. However, after today’s big win over the San Diego Chargers, Brady’s Patriots are poised to win a fourth.

(Sigh) Here we go again. Last year’s Super Bowl became a source of tension between my Dad and me (The Pittsburgh Steelers won their fifth, matching the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys). Having said that, a Patriots championship will result in my not talking to Dad until Spring. He’ll still be stewing over the fact that Brady’s career success in Super Bowls has equaled Montana’s.

Of course, I’ll have to call him prior to April 2. That is the date when Tiger Woods will begin his quest of winning another Masters title.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I love the 80s!!!!

It is becoming a tradition in the company where I work that a person leaving receives a grand send off.

Friday evening, about 30 of my fellow co-workers and I gathered together at Dave and Buster’s in Maple Grove to wish Nicole a fond farewell. I arrived at about 5:00 pm, figuring I would socialize, have a few Diet Cokes and then head home at 6:00.

What is it they say about the best laid plans?

What I learned about D&B's is that it is a combination sports bar/restaurant/carnival/video arcade! Yes, for $15.99 I got a double cheeseburger, fries, all the Diet Coke I could drink and a $10 card to redeem at the various games. After eating and socializing for a while I ventured over to the game area. After several games of skee ball and shooting hoops, I decided to check out the video arcade.

As I may have mentioned a time or 2,000, I have quite an affinity for the 1980s. As I looked for a game which I could play I all of a sudden heard the hallelujah chorus echoing in my head. There they were. Pac Man! Donkey Kong! Centipede! Space Invaders! Galaga! I thought I was going to hyperventilate!

Now it wasn’t quite like the olden days. I had to slide my game card through the card reader as opposed to dropping a quarter in the slot. But once I heard that Pac Man theme, I was 12 years old all over again! From the various gyrations while playing the game to slamming my hand on the machine upon being eaten by ghosts, I was partying like it was 1981!

Once I used up my game card I looked at my watch to see that it was 8:00 pm. Time to head home, call my girlfriend and talk about the latest episode of Solid Gold to try to guess what will be the week’s #1 song. Whoops! Sorry, I got a little too caught up in the 80s nostalgia. Anyhow, I hadn’t seen my wife all day. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell her about this cool place I found to take our teenaged nephews for food and fun.

Yep, I’m going back for the kids next time (Yeah, right).


Friday, January 12, 2007

Does Barbie wanna cracker?

Given the difficulties of the Iraq war, the Bush administration has constantly been on the defensive regarding America’s continued presence there. President Bush’s announcement Wednesday evening that there would be an increase in the number of US troops in Iraq has certainly rankled many members of Congress.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has probably never met an anti-war stance she didn’t like. In an appearance before the Senate yesterday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was put directly in the cross-hairs of Boxer’s frustration over the recent troop surge.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."

Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Ah, the rhetoric never changes. Apparently one is not qualified to declare war unless one has a child or grandchild who is eligible to join the military. Funny, but I don’t recall this issue being as prevalent during the Bill Clinton presidency. His daughter Chelsea turned 18 years of age in early 1998. Why didn’t Clinton send his child to the war zone in the Balkans?

The fact of the matter is this “Would you send your kid to war?” diatribe is a completely bogus argument. We have a volunteer military in this country. No parents can choose to send their children to war. An 18-year old, a legal adult, chooses to join the military all on his/her own accord. I understand that some young people don’t join with the intention of going to war. However, they certainly understand there is a risk of being called for a tour of duty.

Another aspect of this argument which infuriates me is the insinuation that the President doesn’t wrestle with how difficult a decision this is. Just because his daughters aren’t ever going to be put in harm’s way, does that mean he’s naturally callous when putting others in that situation?

As we saw yesterday, Senator Boxer is merely another parrot of leftist-kook talking points.

UPDATE: White House condemns Boxer's line of questioning towards Rice.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Help prevent another assault on the First Amendment.

First it was "McCain-Feingold".

Now, according to an e-mail I received from the ministry Focus on the Family, the First Amendment is once again under attack.

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would infringe on your right to free speech by making it extremely difficult for Dr. Dobson and other pro-family leaders to keep you updated on what politicians in Washington, D.C., are doing.

The new Democrat majority introduced S.1 in an effort to clean up the recent lobbying scandals in Washington. Much of the bill is good, but it contains a provision – Section 220 – that would severely limit your ability to voice your opinions on the important issues facing our country.

If S.1 passes with these outrageous provisions, communications from Focus Action, known as “grassroots communications,” will be tied up in miles of new red tape. These bureaucratic restrictions are clearly a concerted effort to insulate legislators from criticism. At the same time, Section 220 will allow labor unions, trade associations and foreign corporations unregulated access to legislators.

The Senate leadership has fast-tracked this bill in an effort to keep you in the dark. It is crucial for you to voice your concern now, because if Section 220 remains intact, you could be left in the dark on pro-family issues from now on.

It is vital that you take this opportunity to express your outrage about Section 220. Focus Action has set up a special petition Web page. Please sign our petition to help protect your right to freedom of speech. We'll deliver your petition to your senators.
Thanks for standing up for our foundational freedoms.

Please feel free to forward this message on to anyone who might have an interest in this issue.

Thanks and God Bless!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Running on Empty?

On December 11, Senator (and 2004 failed Presidential candidate) John Kerry turned 63. He has two years remaining on his current Senate term, which would put him at 65 years old when said term is up. Given the firestorm of criticism over his “botched joke”, it would behoove Kerry to maintain a low profile. That said, I’m sure he would prefer to retire from politics and commence with spending wife Ter-Ay-Zuh’s multi-millions, right?

Wrong. Kerry has recently begun to bolster his Senate and campaign staff in preparation for what some Kerry insiders insist is a likely run for president. Kerry has signed on Erik Smith to serve as a senior adviser to his Senate campaign committee and Vince Morris to be communications director in his Senate office.

Kerry’s task seems much more daunting in 2008 than in 2004 when he merely had to overcome the likes of Howard “Mad How” Dean, Dick Gephardt and John “Breck Girl” Edwards. In ’08, he’ll likely face much more formidable foes in the mode of fellow Democratic senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Lest we forget, Clinton herself threw Kerry under the bus after his supposed denigration of the military, which he explained away with the aforementioned phrase “botched joke”.

If Kerry does indeed run, he has very polarizing advantages and disadvantages.

While he carries strong name identification and a campaign bank account of more than $10 million, he is also seen as a gaffe-prone, has-been by many party insiders.

In my mind, Jonah Goldberg had the best line of 2006 when describing Kerry’s “gaffe-prone” tendencies.

Kerry is an awful politician, a human toothache with the charisma of a 19th-century Oxford Latin tutor.

Nevertheless, it will be quite the battle for the Democratic nominee in 2008. As Hillary herself has so clearly demonstrated, they’re not afraid to eat their own.

G'Day!! A good day for the Irwins.

Decency wins out! The video of the Croc Hunter’s Labor Day demise has been destroyed.

Video footage showing tragic Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin dying from a stingray barb to the chest has been destroyed now it's no longer needed by investigators. The footage of Irwin's last moments on 4 September last year was used in a police report and coroner's investigation into his death, but the original copy has now been returned to widow Terri Irwin and all other copies have been destroyed. The tape, reportedly showing Irwin snorkeling above the stingray before it whipped its tail into him, had reportedly been the subject of a million dollar bidding war from several websites. Irwin's manager John Stainton said, "Anything to do with the day that he died, that film is not available." Michael Barnes, the Australian coroner investigating the case, insisted he'd taken "all possible steps to ensure something of such a personal and tragic nature did not fall into the wrong hands".

Score one for the good guys!

The sad thing regarding this whole incident is that the release of the deadly video was even an issue. Are we so starved for entertainment in this society that people feel the need to exploit the death of someone who was, in addition to being an entertainer, a loving husband and father?

Certainly Terri Irwin and her two young children deserve better.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Speaking of the Grateful Dead....

Did I ever tell you that my step-mother used to be the road manager for the Grateful Dead? It’s true! She had known my Dad and his four children for about 10 years before us kids even knew about it.

In the early 90s, my youngest brother Ben was part of the new generation of “Dead Heads”. While attending a concert in California, Ben bought a program which featured a photo history of the Dead’s excursions. Included in the picture montage was a photo of former road manager Tess and her son, Paul. At that moment, Ben flipped out!! When he got home from the concert that evening he immediately called Dad with this new found knowledge. Of course, Dad was fully aware of Tess’ past. He explained to Ben that she has never wanted to relive that part of her life since it was her first husband who convinced them to (ahem) live amongst “the Dead”.

Combine that with the fact that Paul was around 9 or 10 when Tess decided to leave that life behind. To this day, I applaud her for her foresight in getting her son away from that decadent atmosphere. Truth be told, Tess had always been abhorred by the band’s lifestyle. In fact, part of her duties required her to write out $10,000 checks for cocaine. Where you had to write out the dollar amount, she would say “Ten thousand and NO SENSE” dollars.

Today, Tess is retired and enjoys spending time with her husband (my Dad), son Paul, daughter in-law Shannon and two grandsons. Distance wise, Tess and Dad live less than an hour from Haight and Ashbury. Thankfully for her, it seems like a million miles away.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A sign of the apocalypse?

"Oddly enough, I like the music. …the Grateful Dead is the one band I never grow tired of."
-Ann Coulter, conservative diva.

"Ms. Pelosi is a huge Dead fan."
-A spokeswoman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, regarding Pelosi's affinity for the Grateful Dead, whose surviving members will appear at a fund-raiser.

What's next? A photo-op of the two donning tie-dyed shirts while hanging out at the Haight-Ashbury?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Juiced: The player or the baseball?

I’m not a big “conspiracy theory” guy but I do wonder about the timing of this study.

A company that uses computer imaging claims baseballs had a larger rubberized core and a synthetic rubber ring in 1998, including the ball Mark McGwire hit for his 70th homer.

Universal Medical Systems Inc. said Wednesday that with the assistance of Dr. Avrami S. Grader and Dr. Philip M. Halleck from The Center for Quantitative Imaging at Penn State, it took images of 1998 baseballs.

"Examining the CT images of Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball one can clearly see the synthetic ring around the core -- or 'pill' -- of the baseball," UMS president David Zavagno said. "While Mark McGwire may or may not have used illegal steroids, the evidence shows his ball -- under the governing body of the league -- was juiced."

The study's findings happen to be released less than a week before the 2007 Hall of Fame inductions are announced. McGwire, in his first year of eligibility for enshrinement, has been under intense scrutiny since his appearance before Congress almost two years ago. When pressed by members of the House Government Reform Committee about whether or not he used steroids, McGwire continually replied “I'm not here to talk about the past." His former teammate with the Oakland Athletics, Jose Canseco, implicated McGwire as a user of steroids in his autobiography entitled Juiced.

McGwire, who retired after the 2001 season, is seventh on the all-time home run list with 583.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Green tossed.

When it comes to another opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL, Dennis Green should…uh…throw in the towel.

Green was dismissed one day after the Cardinals concluded a 5-11 season with a 27-20 loss at San Diego. He finished with a 16-32 record at Arizona. The Cardinals will pay $2.5 million to buy out the final year of his contract.

I have always said that I believe Green would make a very good talent scout. He has a solid track record of drafting good offensive talent. In 2004, Green’s first draft with Arizona, the Cards took Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald with the third overall pick. He and fellow WR Anquan Boldin each had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2005.

In his tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, Green looked like a genius after snagging Randy Moss with the 21st pick in the 1998 draft. Moss was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons. In 1999, Green used the Vikes’ 11th selection to take little known University of Central Florida QB Daunte Culpepper. Culpepper eventually put up some gaudy numbers as Vikings signal caller until suffering a severe knee injury in 2005

While Green brought his keen eye for offense to Arizona he also brought along an unwanted aspect of his personality: his penchant for scapegoating.

Green demoted offensive coordinator Keith Rowen after six games and replaced him with Mike Kruczek, one of many shakeups on his staff during his time with the Cardinals.

He made several moves that seemed to backfire, beginning with the abrupt release of offensive lineman
Pete Kendall on the eve of his first training camp. In his first season, Green benched quarterback Josh McCown for Shaun King even though the team had won three of its last four. By the time McCown got the job back, the Cardinals had lost three straight.

Fair or not, Green will most be remembered for his meltdown after a Monday Night loss to the Chicago Bears earlier this season. The Cards blew a 20-point lead in the second half and lost 24-23.

I believe Green’s strongest attribute, scouting talent, could be best utilized behind the scenes in a front office capacity. However, given his egomaniacal tendencies, I’m sure he would prefer to be on the sidelines again soon.

Look for that to take place in 2008. He’s getting $2.5 million to sit at home in ’07.