Friday, August 31, 2007

One More Day!!!!


Listen to the Northern Alliance Radio Network tomorrow on AM 1280 The Patriot. Official details will be released at about 2:30 pm.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Are you ready???!!!


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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A private matter?

Like the Mark Foley scandal last year, the latest report of impropriety by a GOP politician is enough to make one’s skin crawl.


U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, an Idaho Republican, pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Minnesota this month after being arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Craig denied the police account of what occurred and said he erred in pleading guilty.

"At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions," he said in a statement Monday afternoon. "I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.

"I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."


I am certainly not here to defend Sen. Craig or his actions. But perhaps he could have better served himself public relations-wise by conveying the following sentiments:


Now, this matter is between me, the people I love most, and our God. I must put it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so.

Nothing is more important to me personally. But it is private, and I intend to reclaim my family life for my family. It's nobody's business but ours.


After all, that seemed to fly with Democrat supporters nine years ago when a prominent politician in their party made the same declaration.

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A brand new life around the bend.

In looking back on my life, I’ve always had a tendency to take my time doing things.

Some were by choice:

-I didn’t get my driver’s license until two months after my 17th birthday.

-I took five full years to finish college.

-I didn’t own my first home nor get married until I was 31-years old.

-As of today (Age 38), I have no kids.


Some things, not by choice:

-My voice didn’t fully change until I was about 17. In fact, whenever people would call the house before then, many thought it was my mother answering the phone. Man, that was annoying!

-I was only 5’11” when I graduated high school. I didn’t reach my full height of 6’2” until my freshman year of college.

-As of today (Age 38), I have no kids.


With the recent loss of my job, I realized it’s time to enhance my marketability. I have been working in the Accounting field for over 13 years now with nothing more than a bachelor’s degree. So I’ve finally decided to bite the bullet and prepare to take the CPA exam. With no children at this point, I have the discretionary income as well as the time to take a review course as part of the preparation for the big test.

It’s been fifteen years since I’ve obtained my B.S. in Accounting. Many of my fellow graduates have had their CPA certificate for more than ten years now. I guess I’ve never been one to have the “Keep up with the Joneses” mentality. I like to do things at my own pace, for better or worse. But now that my wife is one year away from completing her Masters degree in Education, I feel it’s best to follow her example and try to make the most of my chosen career path.

As I have mentioned before, my wife and I are in the midst of the adoption process. Since we have yet to be blessed with children naturally, perhaps we are now getting a sense as to why there has been a delay in that area of our life. I can’t imagine both my wife & I continuing our education while having young children.

Whatever the case, we’re looking forward to our many adventures over the next twelve months!!

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Calling on a not so motley CREW.

I sent the following e-mail to CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) regarding Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and his appearance at a New Orleans church:


Dear Sir or Madam,

Last October, you posted the following on your website:


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today filed an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) complaint against the Living Word Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, MN for violating IRS law by openly endorsing state Senator Michele Bachmann’s candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Churches, like Living Word Christian Center, are absolutely prohibited from intervening in elections for any public office. This prohibition is a condition of the very favorable tax benefits public charities receive under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.

On October 14, 2006 Ms. Bachmann delivered a campaign stump speech from the Living Word Christian Center’s pulpit and the church’s pastor, Mac Hammond, openly endorsed her candidacy. Pastor Hammond’s comments and Ms. Bachmann’s speech were made during the Living Word Christian Center’s weekend services, presented before the entire congregation and broadcast over the Internet. By using church resources to promote the candidacy of Ms. Bachmann, the church jeopardized its tax status.


So can I expect you will file a similar IRS complaint against First Emmanuel Baptist Church in New Orleans? On Sunday, August 26, Presidential candidate Barack Obama appeared before members of the aforementioned church. He spoke about such issues as expanding employment opportunities for New Orleans residents and well as improving health care. Would those not be considered political issues? More importantly, is First Emmanuel jeopardizing its tax status by providing a platform for Senator Obama’s presidential campaign?

Any clarifications you could provide would be greatly appreciated!

Sincerely,

Brad Carlson
Coon Rapids, MN



I'll post CREW's response in the event I actually receive one.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Our State Fair is a great State Fair!

My gal and I arrived at the Minnesota State Fair this morning at 9:00 am sharp. After having a nice little breakfast (a scone with strawberries and cream) we walked around to the various sites.

Once the clock hit 11:00 am it was time for Volume I of the Northern Alliance Radio Network on AM 1280 The Patriot. Brian “Saint Paul” Ward and Chad the Elder, both of the blog Fraters Libertas, were the hosts for the two hour extravaganza.



Brian "Saint Paul" Ward (left) and Chad the Elder.


The first hour featured Kevin Arnold, founder of the newly featured Spam booth at the fair (located in Carousel Park under the Grandstand ramp).


Chad the Elder (left) and SPAM guy Kevin Arnold.


Mr. Arnold was there to give out samples of his products (i.e. Spam curds, Spam burger) as well as promote his new venture. I had a taste of the Spam curds and I have to admit they were quite tasty!



Later in the program, a gentleman from the Midwest Dairy Association was the guest and armed with him five hunks of butter. The purpose of this was to lure five volunteers from the audience to participate in a butter sculpting contest.







Yes, I was one of the five selected to partake in said contest. The subject of our endeavor was none other than Patriot promotions guy Jay Larson.

















Sadly I was not the winner. I know. Given the uncanny likeness, I think it’s fair to say I was robbed. Oh well, I was a good sport about the whole thing.


At 1:00 pm, I sat in on Volume II of the NARN. Mitch Berg and Captain Ed Morrissey spoke mostly of the tragic story out of Saint Paul where 5-10 witnesses did not intervene during a sexual assault in an apartment hallway. I then went on the air to share the story of how I lived on that exact floor more than twenty years ago and how much the neighborhood has changed since.

I didn’t hear much of the second hour due to the parade going down Judson Street in front of the Patriot booth.

At about 3:30 we decided to go visit some of the animal barns. On our way we happened by the “Al Franken for Senate” booth. Franken himself was there holding a snooze fest meeting where he discussed his platform. Given some of Stuart Smalley’s Franken's ideas to expand government, I held on tightly to my wallet as I walked past. I only wish I had been there a half hour earlier when he was accosted by fellow MOB-ster Swiftee. Apparently Swiftee and his wife had poor Al sputtering when asking him about radio station Air America being bailed out by raiding a New York City charity.

Finally, it’s 5:00. After 1 ½ servings of cheese curds, two pronto pups, three bites of a wild rice burger and a chocolate shake from the U of M dairy bar, it was time to head home.

As is usually the case, it was a wonderful day at the great Minnesota get-together!!

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Dude, where's my neighborhood?

From July 1975 thru June 1986, my Mom, younger brother and I lived in a two-bedroom apartment on the east side of Saint Paul. The residents of our building consisted mainly of single moms raising their kids, sprinkled with some newlyweds and the elderly. In fact, many of the friends we had growing up were in the same situation as Eric & me: living in cramped quarters with a sole parent.

Given the clientele, there weren’t a lot of incidents which required law enforcement to visit the premises. I could count on one hand the number of annual stops made by Saint Paul’s finest. And when the cops did pay a visit to our apartment complex, it was for such benign things as a couple shouting at each other or someone playing music a little too loudly.

I can say with 100% certainty that we were never exposed to incidents like this:


Although police say as many as 10 people witnessed a sexual assault in a St. Paul hallway, the suspect said he has no memory of what happened.

Rage Ibrahim, 25, said he blacked out from drinking too much alcohol. But he said he wouldn't have committed rape.

"I'm so upset because of the situation I'm in," Ibrahim said, crying as he headed to the Ramsey County jail on Thursday to turn himself in. "I've got a mom, I've got a sister. I wouldn't rape anyone."

Surveillance video from a Highwood-area apartment hallway makes it clear that a sexual assault happened Tuesday, St. Paul police Cmdr. Shari Gray said.

Prosecutors charged Ibrahim, of St. Paul, on Thursday with first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct.


Admittedly, it was this phrase which really shook me to my core:


The surveillance video shows the 26-year-old victim lying in the second-floor hallway at 371 S. Winthrop St. as early as 1:20 a.m. Tuesday, according to the criminal complaint.


Yes, for that 11-year period in the mid-70s to mid-80s, we lived on that exact same floor.

And to think the worst thing we ever saw was a guy getting busted for shooting a squirrel with a BB gun out his second floor apartment window.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Canaan will not inhabit Little League promise land.

I very rarely watch the Little League World Series, which takes place every August. But I felt compelled to tune in occasionally this year as my hometown Coon Rapids club made it into the field.

Unfortunately Coon Rapids was knocked out of the tourney Wednesday evening by the team from Chandler, AZ. But the one game my hometown team won was mighty sweet in my eyes. They defeated a team from Salisbury, MD 4-3, thanks to a walk-off homer by my neighbor Tanner Lowe. And if that wasn’t compelling enough, the game-winning shot was hit off an impudent little pipsqueak pitcher of the Maryland club.

Earlier in the game, Canaan Cropper displayed the brashness and borderline arrogance usually reserved for the big leaguers.


In the bottom of the fourth with Coon Rapids' Noah Fedje on first, Cropper grabbed a hard line drive up the middle off the bat of Tyler Kelm. Cropper stumbled slightly before recovering and throwing to first to catch Fedje off the bag for a double play.

Cropper lifted his arms toward the stands as he ran toward the dugout, encouraging Maryland's delirious fans.


What really irked me was Cropper’s behavior after arriving in the dugout. He shouted vociferously toward the Coon Rapids players, something along the lines of “SIT DOWN!! SIT DOWN!!”

So after Tanner Lowe’s shot heard ‘round the world northern suburbs, I was bitten by a case of schadenfreude upon witnessing the following scene:


Cropper (center) being consoled by his Dad and coach after allowing walk-off homer.




Relax, kid. You seem to have a bright future. But I hope you’ve learned the finer points of what happens when you talk too much smack. Most importantly, it has a tendency to come back and bite you in the derriere.


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Monday, August 20, 2007

Carlson vs. Carlson.

Well, it finally happened. The long overdue conversation with my Dad took place this afternoon. And, to put it mildly, it wasn’t warm and fuzzy.

I made a resolve last month to continue to maintain contact with Dad despite the bad feelings which emerged during his June/July visit. After the no-holds-barred letter I wrote him before he left for home on July 15th, we never discussed the content. I did call him the following week to check in but I just got his voice mail.

So this afternoon I decided to try him again. This time he picked up. The first few minutes were pretty benign, talking about such things as the weather, my job status, etc.

But then the flood gates opened. He came at me with “I got your voice mail on the Sunday I left but given what you wrote in your letter I figured you didn’t want to see me so I said ‘F*** it, I’ll go home early!’”

Since the conversation lasted the better part of 60 minutes, I don’t want to rehash the entire dialogue exchanged. In summary, Dad assumed the victim role and accused me of turning “the whole family” against him with all of the frustrations I’ve conveyed to others. He also informed me that I have my head so far up my a** that I can’t think rationally anymore.

The majority of our talk was counterproductive because it always wound up at “That’s right, Bradley. You’re 100% right and I’m 100% wrong.” Bottom line: I was unable to rationalize with the irrational.

In the end, I finally got what I wanted all along: A stand.

Dad wrapped up our exchange with the following:

“Bradley, I’m 63-years old and I’ve never been one for heart-to-heart talks. That’s not going to change.”

THANK YOU!!!!

I now feel liberated!! I no longer have to pursue an endeavor (in this case, a meaningful relationship with Dad) that has caused nothing but anguish and frustration for many years now.

Don’t get me wrong. I would have preferred that Dad & I came to a peaceful reconciliation and moved ahead from there. Sadly, he chose the other extreme. But I can honestly say it is a relief that we are no longer straddling the fence.

This exercise in futility has long last come to a welcome conclusion!

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Monday, Monday.

I’m taking a day off today from my contract job. I tweaked my back on Friday and it still has yet to feel quite right. The worst part is I haven’t exercised since Thursday. Being unemployed since mid-July hasn’t been very compatible with my weight loss endeavor as it is, hence there was no report at the end of July. With the State Fair starting this Thursday, an August update, if I bother to do one, would be rather dubious.

Speaking of unemployment, I received an unexpected surprise on Friday. In checking my bank account online, I had an additional two weeks pay from my former employer!! When I was fired put on “Transition Employment”, I was told I would receive two weeks severance on August 17. But since I was let go before my transition period was complete, I figured the two weeks pay I received on August 3 was my severance. It was a natural assumption since I did not work any of the two weeks that would have been paid out in the August 3 paycheck.

Being of the utmost integrity, I called both my former boss and the payroll manager to inquire about the payment. If indeed I do not have this money coming to me I want to be sure to return it ASAP. Perhaps I could have kept it and they would have been none the wiser. Heck, I could have even rationalized how I felt I deserved a month severance pay. Nonetheless, I did the right thing by alerting my former company of the extra money.

Any chance they might show some goodwill and tell me to go ahead and keep it? I suppose that’s too much to hope for.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Need a hitter? Look over in the first base dugout.

The Minnesota Twins are fading fast in their quest to make the 2007 postseason. The general consensus amongst the Twins front office, as well as columnists and fans, is that another bat in their lineup would make a big difference.

Of course, we’re given the typical spin doctoring by the organization about how everyone is looking for a bat and that the asking price is too high whenever contenders go shopping.

This weekend I believe the Twins could find a bargain…..in the visitors’ dugout no less!


Sammy Sosa's climb up the home run chart is about to slow down.

Sosa was told in a long, closed-door meeting (August 1) that his playing time will be cut, one day after the Texas Rangers traded away two other established stars.

"They have young kids they want to see," Sosa said. "Once in a while, I'll be playing. I don't have a problem with it."

"I feel great. If I didn't want to play, I'd leave right now. I know I have a couple years [left]. I'll stick around here until the season is over and then whatever happens, happens."

Sosa leads the last-place Rangers with 16 homers and 70 RBIs, but has seen his average drop to .239 after reaching a season-high .278 on May 11. He hit his 600th career homer June 20 and currently has 604.


Memo to Twins GM Terry Ryan: GO GET SOSA!! Even though his average is tanking, he still has some pop in his bat. Besides, his production at the DH spot tops whatever contributions we’ve received from the Tyner/Kubel/White/Cirillo carousel.

The best part? Sosa is only making $500,000 for the entire year! Pick him up now and you would only have to shell out about $120,000 for the remainder of this season. Also, the Rangers have come out and said they’re cutting Sosa’s playing time. Therefore, they have no leverage when it comes to trading him and thus wouldn’t ask for a king’s ransom in return.

The only potential sticking point is would Sosa clear waivers if he hasn’t already. If a trade is to be made after July 31, any player must be put on the waiver wire. He then must go through all the other 29 teams without being claimed. However, if a team does claim Sosa that is the only team with whom Texas can negotiate a trade. If a deal can not be reached, Sosa would go back to Texas where he would have to remain the rest of this season.

Go for it, Twins!! A 7-game deficit with 40 to go is getting close to insurmountable.

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

On this date, nineteen years ago.

I learned today that a certain young lady MOB-ster was born on this day 19 years ago. Nineteen years???!!! That’s literally half my life ago. Scary!

Amazingly enough I recall what I was doing on August 18, 1988. I was at the Metrodome that evening where the Twins were taking on the Texas Rangers. I recall saying something derogatory about Rangers pitcher Jeff Russell within earshot of a Rangers fan. He told me to tone down the language because he didn’t want his kid exposed to my verbal assault on the Texas players. I think I told him mind his own business when at that point he went to get a security guard to try to get me removed from the game. Since we were in lower left field General Admission seating, my friends and I quickly ran to a different row where we wouldn’t be spotted.

While I was able to finish watching the game, I ended up receiving the worst punishment of all. The Twins lost to the pitiful Rangers, 4-2.

I have a feeling the atmosphere was much more celebratory and peaceful wherever the Stewart family was that day.


That's the birthday girl on the far right!



On behalf of my gal and me, we wish the Mall Diva a very happy birthday!!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Bowled over.

For the first time in about 14 years, I went bowling on a Friday evening!

In fact, the fun and games took place at Bud’s Lanes in River Falls, WI, the very same town which happens to be the location of my alma mater UW-River Falls.

In an attempt to augment what was certain to be a humorous endeavor, I requested the Viz-A-Ball Eye Ball.








Unfortunately, no such ball was available.

Alas, the evening wasn’t a total loss. I’ll have you know that I rolled a 298!!! Of course, it took me three games to accumulate that total. The first two, I had scores of 89 and 85. But I finished the night strong with a 124.

I have to say, this was the first time I have ever bowled in an environment where there was artificial fog and a laser light show. I didn’t know if I was there to bowl or to revisit the disco era.

I’m due to bowl again in the year 2021.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Imus sued.

While Don Imus is in negotiations to resume his radio career, the reason for his hiatus is now coming back to haunt him.


Don Imus is facing his first lawsuit from a player on the Rutgers Women's Basketball team for derogatory comments that cost him his job as a radio host in April, ABC News has learned.

Kia Vaughn, star center for the Rutgers Women's Basketball team, has filed a lawsuit against Imus for libel, slander and defamation -- the first civil suit to be filed against the former radio host. Vaughn is asking for monetary damages of an unspecified amount.

"This is a lawsuit in order to restore the good name and reputation of my client, Kia Vaughn," said her attorney, Richard Ancowitz, in an exclusive interview with the ABC News Law & Justice Unit.

The suit names Imus individually, but it is also waged against MSNBC, NBC Universal, CBS Radio, CBS Corp., Viacom Inc., Westwood One Radio and Imus producer Bernard McGuirk.

The suit refers to terms used by Imus April 4 -- including referring to women on the team as "nappy headed" -- as "debasing, demeaning, humiliating, and denigrating" to Vaughn and her fellow players.


I am the furthest thing from a legal mind so I decided to research what constitutes libel, slander and defamation.


In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may harm the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, government or nation. Most jurisdictions allow legal actions, civil and/or criminal, to deter various kinds of defamation and retaliate against criticism.


They key phrase here is “expressly stated or implied to be factual.” Anyone who listens to a morning radio show and takes what show hosts say as the gospel is deluding themselves. To prove that Imus was attempting to factually present the Rutgers women as truly being “nappy headed hos” is going to be a tough sell.


The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of slander (harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech) and libel (harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast), each of which gives a common law right of action.


It’s irrefutable that Imus made the statements in a transitory form on an electronic broadcast. But I am truly baffled how Ms. Vaughn could have been considered “harmed” by such statements. As a college sophomore and an amateur athlete, she wasn’t earning anything financially. Therefore, there’s no proof of monetary loss. And I have a hard time ascertaining her reputation being harmed since the entire Rutgers women’s team became sympathetic figures in this whole controversy. I doubt anyone outside the state of New Jersey could have named more than three players on said basketball team prior to the April 4 incident. Even though Rutgers made a strong showing in the NCAA tournament (runner-up in the championship game) nobody ever remembers who finishes second in anything.

I want to be on record as saying I too found Imus’ comments reprehensible and stupid. But did that cause me to think any less of Kia Vaughn and her teammates? Absolutely not!


"There's no way these bigoted remarks should have seen the light of day," Ancowitz told ABC News.


No, Mr. Ancowitz. This lawsuit shouldn’t see the light of day.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Meeting a bridge collapse survivor.

It has been two weeks since the 35W bridge collapse took place. The tragedy is still fresh in everyone’s minds as clean up and recovery efforts continue.

While watching KSTP’s live coverage of the event 14 days ago, the one story that stood out was that of a 32-year old woman who was on the bridge when it collapsed.


"Lucky, we’re really lucky." Those are the exact words from a woman who survived the bridge collapse on 35W in Minneapolis early Wednesday evening.

Melissa Hughes and her three-month-old child are okay after a truck fell on their red vehicle.

Melissa Hughes’ car was on a segment of bridge where 10 cars were involved.


"We were at a dead stop and I remember being suspended in the air and people in their cars and felling kind of a free fall and falling a little bit," Hughes said. "I stepped on my brake and grabbed my steering wheel. I didn’t know if I was going backwards or not, and suddenly there was a large crash and I saw my rear window broken out."

A pick-up fell on her car.


As it turns out, she is an employee at the company where I have been working on a contract basis over the past two weeks.

I was ecstatic to have met her in person! I just had to convey to her how amazed I was by the poise and calmness she displayed within four hours after such a horrific scene.

See the video of Melissa being interviewed here.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Support our pitchers.

Tonight in Seattle, the Twins will attempt to snap their 5-game losing streak, taking on the Mariners. Matt Garza will be the starting pitcher for the Twins with Horacio Ramirez toiling for the M’s.

We need to look no further than the last six starts for each pitcher to give us an indication of how Seattle is flying and Minnesota is floundering.

In the aforementioned six-start span, Ramirez has struggled, posting an earned run average of 8.48. Meanwhile, Garza has been stellar with his 1.80 ERA over the same time frame.

The difference?

Ramirez has a record of 2-2.

Garza, only 1-3.

I think we can decipher which team has the more productive offense.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove resigns; Dems pile on.

In a surprise announcement, the Bush administration is losing a key member of their team.


Karl Rove, the political mastermind behind President Bush's races for the White House and an adviser with unparalleled influence over the past 6 1/2 turbulent years, announced his resignation Monday, ending a partnership stretching back more than three decades.

It was a major loss for Bush as he heads into the twilight of his presidency, battered in the polls, facing a hostile Democratic Congress and waging an unpopular war. A half dozen other senior advisers have left in recent months, forcing the White House to rebuild its staff at the same time the president is running out of influence.

"I'll be on the road behind you here in a little bit," said a rueful Bush, announcing the departure alongside Rove on the White House South Lawn. Bush leaves office Jan. 20, 2009.


Naturally, many Democrats conveyed the proverbial “don’t-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out” sentiment.

A sample of some of the reactions to the Rove resignation:


"Karl Rove was an architect of a political strategy that has left the country more divided, the special interests more powerful and the American people more shut out from their government than any time in memory." - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

So invading Pakistan will somehow unify the country?


"Mr. Rove's apparent attempts to manipulate elections and push out prosecutors citing bogus claims of voter fraud shows corruption of federal law enforcement for partisan political purposes, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its investigation into this serious issue. ... There is a cloud over this White House, and a gathering storm." - Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., committee chairman.

Bogus claims of voter fraud? See: Democrats (Florida 2000 & Ohio 2004).


"Karl Rove's resignation signals the final chapter in the Bush administration's betrayal of the identity of a covert CIA officer. ... Rove, identified by the prosecutors as one of the leakers, not only was not summarily dismissed, but has been allowed to leave on his own terms, to praise from the president." - Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame, was the CIA officer whose name was disclosed.

The same Joseph Wilson who has been confirmed a liar, but has been allowed to perpetually spew falsehoods on his own terms, to praise from the mainstream media.


"It's a tragedy that an administration that promised to unite Americans has instead left us more divided than ever before. Without doubt the architect of that political strategy was Karl Rove, who proved the politics of division may win some elections but cannot govern America." - Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.

Winning elections but not governing America? Sounds like the slogan of the 2006 Congressional Democrat candidates.


"Goodbye, good riddance." - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards.

Coincidentally, that is the exact same phrase Edwards heard from Sen. John Kerry on November 3, 2004.


"The need for Karl Rove to explain his role in the firing of the U.S. Attorneys does not diminish when he leaves the White House. Our investigation to date has revealed the White House's contempt for the rule of law and its interest in the politicization of the Department of Justice." - Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., House Judiciary Committee chairman.

And your innumerable “investigations” have earned you and your Democrat colleagues the title of the ultimate “Do-Nothing Congress”….which, come to think of it, isn’t a bad thing.


"Now is the time for the country to put the politics of division behind it." - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

So you’re relinquishing your candidacy for President?

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Ding!! Twins are done.

Two Words:

PA THETIC.

The Minnesota Twins’ most recent slide culminated this afternoon with a 6-2 loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, giving the Halos a three game sweep of the Twins. Today’s loss puts the Twins under .500 for the first time since June 10.

With a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians last Sunday, the Twins inexplicably inched closer to first place in the AL Central. After a brilliant pitching performance by Scott Baker, the Twins found themselves 4 ½ games out of first place.

In the seven games since? A 1-6 record (including three shutouts) with a grand total of 18 runs scored (an average of 2.6 per game). What’s most frightening is they scored 11 times in the one game they won. Take away that contest and you have a club barely averaging a run per game over the past week. Nice way to respond to getting back into post-season contention, eh?

What looked like a manageable 4 ½ game deficit in the division last week now looks like an impossible 7-game climb. When a team with the reigning AL Batting champ (Joe Mauer) and Most Valuable Player (Justin Morneau) has scored the fewest runs of any major league team since the All Star break, it might be time to make those reservations for early-October golf.

Anyone got a fork?

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Name one good thing to come out of Iowa.

That would be I-35.

I can now provide a second answer.

A web site called Iowa Presidential Watch.

I learned of this site through a high school classmate (who now resides in Iowa) after he located my classmates.com profile. He was able to glean my political leanings and thus directed me to the site.

It even has a section with some cool editorial cartoons.





That one has to be my favorite!

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Enjoy only those days which end in 'y'.

This is the day the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.
-Psalm 118:24



Friday is always the favorite day of the working crowd. It’s inevitable that whenever you ask someone how they’re doing on that day, you’ll usually get a response like “Great! After all, it’s Friday!!”

That mentality is pretty common amongst those who put in a long work week. Hey, I can’t necessarily be critical since I too have an extra bounce in my step at the end of a five-day week on the job. The part I don’t get is how people essentially wish away their lives so that the weekend gets here as soon as possible.

I have a dear friend whom I have known for over twenty years. He is married now with a couple of kids. I will occasionally check in with him to see how he’s doing. Depending upon the day, I can pretty much predict his response.

“How are things?”, I’ll ask.

Monday: “OK. Only four more days until Friday.”

Wednesday: “Can’t complain. It’s hump day!!”

Friday: “Great!! The weekend is almost here!!!”

But in the same conversation he’ll talk about his kid going into fifth grade this year. “I can’t believe he’s gonna be a fifth grader. I remember the day he was born like it was last week. Where did that ten years go?”

My first inclination is to jump down his throat and say “WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘WHERE DID THE TIME GO’? YOU’VE BEEN WISHING AWAY FIVE DAYS A WEEK FOR YEARS”

Since he is indeed a wonderful friend, I resist that urge.

The bottom line is we should embrace every day like it’s our last. Can you imagine the things you would do or say differently if you knew you didn’t have tomorrow?

Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Live for today! It’s really the only day which is guaranteed to us.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Carlson kids: past & present.

Searching through some old photos recently, I came across this one:




(Left to Right): Carly, Eric, Dad, Ben and Me. Why is no one smiling?



It is the only time in Carlson family history that my Dad has been with all four of his kids at one time. This historic occurrence took place in December 1989 when the entire family gathered together to celebrate Grandma & Grandpa Carlson’s 50th wedding anniversary.


The four of us at Grandma & Grandpa's 50th!



My brother Eric, age 36, is single, lives in Saint Paul and works in construction. While he and I didn’t get along too well as kids, we have become pretty good friends over the past several years. In fact, he was best man in my wedding! We have also been able to commiserate over the difficult relationship (or lack thereof) we’ve had with our father. It wasn’t until recently where we realized how good we had it as a family unit when it was Mom, Eric and I all those years. We would certainly welcome Dad into our lives if he so chooses. For now, Dad is going with the silent treatment.

Half-Sister Carly, 34, finally found love! Since her early 20s, she’d had a slew of serious boyfriends. She then got to the point in her late 20s where if a guy called more than once per week, she felt he was getting too clingy. But she officially settled down in September 2005 when she married husband Matt. They now live near Santa Barbara, CA where Matt is stationed in the Marine Corps.

Half-Brother Ben, 31, is in the Fresno area I believe. He was a high school drop out at 16 and was kicked out of his mother’s house at 18. With nowhere to go, Ben joined the Marines in 1994, got married in ’98, divorced in ’99 and left the Marine Corps in 2000. For about five years he muddled through life working odd jobs down in Fresno. For the past couple years he has been in the firefighter training program. I spoke with him for the first time in 5 ½ years when he turned 30 about 13 months ago. What was scary was he sounded like my Dad in the way he talked, the things he said, etc. I know Dad has not heard from Ben since October last year. Of course, Dad may have finally tracked him down by wandering the streets of Fresno.



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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

An unwelcome visitor.

For the next few days, we are dogsitting my sister-law’s dog Sasha. Naturally, the first thing she wanted to do was get acquainted with our cats.

Judging by the video footage, the cats were not in a playful mood.




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Bonds finally hits 756.

It was inevitable.

San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds finally became the all-time home run king by hitting number 756 tonight against the Washington Nationals. For me, the only thing worse than Bonds breaking the record was the fact that ESPN decided to broadcast every single Giants game over the past couple of weeks.

After Bonds surpassed Hank Aaron on the all-time home run list, Aaron’s video congratulations was played on the center field scoreboard. I only wish there would have been a second televised message. Not from Aaron, but from ESPN saying “Thank you, San Francisco Giants. We now return you to your regularly scheduled irrelevance.”

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National Night Out.

The first Tuesday every August is “National Night Out”, a community-police partnership to increase awareness about police programs in communities. On our street, there were approximately fifteen people who gathered together for fellowship, barbecuing, etc.

For the first half hour of the party, my wife and I were the only two people younger than age 50. It turned out that the other 30-something aged folks were the ones who were fashionably late. But we didn’t care as it was a nice evening to sit back and enjoy all the company, regardless of age.

Half way through the get-together, we were privileged to have received a visit from Bruce Sanders, our City Councilman. Naturally, Mr. Sanders was inundated by the folks in our neighborhood who all have their opinions on how the area where we reside can be improved. Living so close to Hwy 10, one resident inquired about the possibility of a sound wall to alleviate the noise caused by congested traffic. Mr. Sanders lamented the fact on how that will never happen. He went on to say how broke MNDOT was and how “this governor” has drove it into the ground. Oh, but he didn’t stop there. According to Sanders, it was only thanks to Rep. James Oberstar (D-MN) that we received the $3.5 billion in funding for 2004-09 but that the only road improvements taking place in Minnesota happen to be in the area where Transportation Commissioner Carol Molnau lives. Yes, demagoguery trickles down all the way to the city level.

Hey, it’s not my fault that Sanders landed back on the City Council. I voted for fellow Protest Warrior Sean Novack.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Back to work.

For the first time since Wednesday, July 18 I put in a full day of work!

Even though I have yet to find a permanent position, I will be working for a Saint Paul direct mailing company on a two-week contract basis. My mission while there is to determine the cause of a $500,000 discrepancy in a postage account.

The first day analysis: Worse than the dentist.

But better than the proctologist!

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tiger rallies; Now what?

For some sports pundits/talking heads it’s been boring covering Tiger Woods over the past ten years. Woods has not only been prolifically winning PGA majors, he’s at times been in another stratosphere compared to the rest of the field.

Of course, the knock on him thus far in 2007 is that he has yet to win a Grand Slam event. Some of golf's other all-time greatest players have gone two, maybe three years between major championships. But Woods goes almost one year without a major (the 2006 PGA last August was his last) and it’s suddenly national news.

The only “flaw” anyone could conjure up regarding Tiger’s play is the fact he’s not good at “coming from behind.” When Tiger trails going into the final day of match play he doesn’t ever win.

Well, we can throw that one out the window now.


In the final event before the final major of the year, Woods buried Rory Sabbatini and the rest of the field Sunday at the Bridgestone Invitational for an eight-shot victory, sending his confidence soaring Sunday as he left for Southern Hills and the PGA Championship.


Tiger’s thoughts after capturing the title at the Bridgestone?


"This might just give me a little more confidence," Woods said.


I’m sure that’s the last thing the field wanted to hear with the PGA championship coming up next weekend.

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Saturday, August 04, 2007

Libs & mainstream media: Facts optional.

What I found most infuriating about the disastrous I-35W bridge collapse is the endless demagoguery by the mainstream media and liberal politicians.

Check out some of the comments offered up by those who do not even wait for the full story to come out.


CRAIG CRAWFORD, MSNBC: I've looked up what it would take to fix the nation's infrastructure. It's about $532 billion a year. It just so happens to be about what we're spending in Iraq.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC: Certainly American voters would probably decide it would be wiser to invest in our own aging infrastructure than continuing to throw good money after bad in Iraq.

GREG HUNTER, CNN: We're spending billions of dollars every month in Iraq.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA): If we did not have the war in Iraq, with hundreds of billions of dollars, we would be able to do a great deal more.

JACKASS CAFFERTY, CNN: How could the US better spend the $2 billion a week that we're pouring into Iraq here at home?

BILL TUCKER, CNN: We're spending about a trillion dollars in infrastructure in Iraq.

LOU DOBBS, CNN: We're not even succeeding in rebuilding the infrastructure and creating new infrastructure in Iraq.

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Priorities in our country have been out of whack the last few years. We've spent like almost $500 billion in Iraq.


The various talking heads would have you believe that the bridge collapsed due to a lack of funds. But a 2005 news release by MnDOT (via Power Line) effectively debunks such shameless rhetoric.


U.S. President George Bush signed a $286.4 billion six-year transportation reauthorization bill Aug. 10, 2005 that covers federal fiscal years 2004-09.

Although the details of the reauthorization package are still being reviewed, Minnesota state and local governments can expect to receive about $3.5 billion in federal transportation funding through 2009, an increase of about 46 percent (or about $1.1 billion) over the previous six-year bill.


I guess we can’t blame the libs and their cohorts in the media. Why should they let the facts get in the way of a good demagogue?

Another classic example would be the appearance of vapid vacuous hack Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman on MSNBC:






To quote character Ricky Fitts from the movie American Beauty: "What a sad old man you are."


UPDATE: The Kool Aid Report effectively slices and dices Coleman's post-collapse screed.


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Katie Couric slammed: Part MMCLXVII

“I've always really liked Katie's work. I think she does a good job and she's a good journalist, but I think, by trying to put her into a completely different format, she's gone from being sort of an exuberant presence to someone who looks like they've been kidnapped and drugged and are making a hostage tape.”

-Mary Mapes, former producer of CBS evening news, commenting on Katie Couric in her role as anchor of said evening news program.


By the way, has there been any response from CBS head guy Les Moonves on Mapes' analysis? When former CBS news anchor Dan Rather gave an unflattering synopsis of Couric’s work, Moonves labeled his remarks “sexist”.

Come to think of it, Moonves will probably give Mapes a pass on her comments. After all, she served a valuable purpose in her role as scapegoat in the forged documents scandal at CBS.

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Sports Einstein of the Week: Orestes Destrade.

The ESPN show Baseball Tonight is notorious for having former major leaguers on their program to serve as commentators. Typically, these ex-ballplayers are name recognizable but far from Hall of Fame caliber. Even worse, they’re not the most well spoken gentlemen either.

Case in point: Orestes Destrade.

After steroid infested eventual home run king Barry Bonds went through most of July mired in a hitting slump, he appeared one Sunday on the Chicago-based radio show of Rev. Jesse Jackson. After that discussion, it was observed by many that Bonds seemed to have a much calmer demeanor.

In an installment of Baseball Tonight, Destrade commented on Bonds laid back approach and how it was sparked by his meeting with the “Reverend Jesse James.”

Come on, Orestes. Don’t you realize that Jesse James was an outlaw who stole from others? Sheesh. I can’t figure out how in the world you could confuse Jesse James with Jesse Jackson.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Will '07 be Heaven for Cubdom?

The 21st century seems to be the magical time frame to break baseball’s greatest curses.

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox exorcised the dreaded “Curse of the Bambino” with their World Series championship. Their 4-0 sweep of the St Louis Cardinals seemed almost anticlimactic in the wake of their 4-3 ALCS triumph over their arch rival New York Yankees. The Sox did something never done in the history of Major League Baseball – rally from a 3-0 deficit to win a best of seven series.

The other Sox, the Chicago White Sox that is, won it all the following season in 2005. That broke an 88-year drought when manager Pants Rowland led the pale hose to a World Series championship in 1917. From the “Black Sox” scandal in 1919 to “Disco Demolition Night” in 1979, Chicago’s south siders have seen some bizarre things happen on and off the diamond in between championship seasons.

But all that pales in comparison to the plight of Chi-town’s north siders.

In Cubbie land, certain one or two word phrases are all that's required to convey decades of heartache and frustration.

Billy Goat

Black Cat

Leon Durham

Bartman

Yes, it has been almost an entire century since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series. It was 1908 when the Cubbies last claimed the title as baseball’s best.

Could the 21st century prove to be as kind to the Cubs as it has been to a pair of Sox? On June 21, the Cubs were 32-39, 8 ½ games out of first place in the NL Central and in utter disarray. But in just over five weeks since, the Cubbies have gone 25-11 and are now percentage points ahead of the Milwaukee Brewers for first in the NL Central.

So if my Twins can’t make a go of it this season, I am officially jumping on the Cubs bandwagon!

It’s not that I’m brand new to Cubdom. I actually had the privilege of attending a couple of games in historic Wrigley Field once upon a time. It was Labor Day weekend back in 1993 when my buddy Skip and I indulged in the Saturday and Sunday afternoon games.




"Excuse me, Sir? Sally Jessy Raphael would like her glasses back."



A view from our seats. We sat right by the visitors' bullpen down the right field line!!



I may have to break out that Cubs jersey this Fall!!


Given that I haven’t worn it in fourteen years I’ll be lucky if I could fit one arm in it.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

8/1/2007: A day we won't soon forget.

I can only describe last evening in a series of one-word phrases.

Bizarre.

Horrific.

Surreal.

Devastating.

Tragic.





I first heard the news of the I-35W bridge collapsing into the Mississippi River at 6:20 pm, approximately 15 minutes after it actually happened. I was tuning in to Channel 4 news to catch Mark Rosen’s sports cast (the only watchable/listenable aspect of WCCO news) when live coverage of the tragedy was being aired. Not wanting to listen to the inevitable demagoguery that would ensue from DFL Don Shelby, I switched over to KSTP channel 5 news.

Within ten minutes of soaking in the horrific scene of 35W, we got a call from my mother-in law. Her frantic tone had us very worried in the wake of my father-in law having cosmetic surgery done on his nose. This was a couple of weeks after several skin cancer cells were removed from that area. I felt the need to explain the reasoning behind such a procedure since this 77-year old man would not be so vain as to have a face lift.

But I digress.

Anyhow, he was bleeding profusely to the point where he was becoming light-headed. We took the one hour jaunt to western Wisconsin in an attempt to both calm my panicking mother-in law and drive my father-in law to the Woodbury hospital where his surgeon would meet him.

In the end, the medical staff at Woodwinds hospital was able to get my father-in law cleaned up and sedated so he could rest comfortably overnight.

To summarize, I spent about 3 ½ hours in the waiting area of an emergency room watching on TV one of the largest calamities in Minnesota history while occasionally checking in on my father-in law, who’s face looked like it had been run through a meat grinder.

August 1, 2007 will be a day I won’t soon forget.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Johan Santana set to leave?

When I first heard this, I knew it was much ado about nothing. Nevertheless, the media has to make mountains out of mole hills.


The Minnesota Twins didn't add any players but did subtract their starting second baseman at the trade deadline. And after watching his front office's inactivity, ace Johan Santana reportedly didn't hide his disappointment.

"It's not just about hope," Santana told The Star Tribune. "In a realistic world, you have to really make it happen and go for it.

"You always talk about future, future. ... But if you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it," Santana told the newspaper.

Santana can be a free agent after the 2008 season. The only move Minnesota made before the non-waiver trade deadline was to send second baseman
Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for two minor league prospects.

"Why waste time when you're talking about something that's always going to be like that? It's never going to be beyond this point," Santana told the newspaper. "It doesn't make any sense for me to be here, you know?"


I don’t view the Castillo trade as a sign the Twins are raising the proverbial white flag for this year. Instead, the organization viewed it as an opportunity to obtain some players in a trade as opposed to losing Castillo to free agency after the 2007 campaign. It has pretty much been set in stone that Castillo would not be retained beyond ‘07 in an effort to free up money to sign Torii Hunter to an extension. With Hunter also a free agent after this season, he clearly is a higher priority given the Twins best centerfield prospect, Denard Span, is not ready for the big leagues. But the organization thinks very highly of second baseman Alexi Casilla, who was called up from AAA Rochester to replace Castillo on the roster.

If the Twins do indeed sign Hunter to a long term extension, you can bet Santana will significantly soften his tone.

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