Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 and 9/12 

We'll be quiet today and let you read honors to September 11th elsewhere. Here's an audio we played on the air last year. And check out Project 2,996; Ed Morrissey's turn at writing about one of the victims is here. (UPDATE: Chad suggests these videos too.)

Janet Adds: Today was doubly memorable for us. In addition to our remembrances of 9/11/2001, we saw our youngest son off at the airport this morning. He is an army 1st Lieutenant, deploying to Iraq at the end of this month, so it will probably be a year before we see him next. [End Janet.]

While I'm at it, for those who are wondering about the St. Cloud T.E.A. (Taxed Enough Already) Party, here's how you get to Lake George -- and pay particular attention to the construction in the area.

Lake George is across the street from Technical High School (233 12th Ave S, St. Cloud MN 56301), so using your GPS for the high school will take you there. That area is also your best bet for street parking. There is a parking lot on the south side of the lake as well. The organizers plan to set up in the northeast corner of the lake, which is where there is still construction for a new bridge and the 9th Ave underpass.

If you are coming from the east, remember that the bridge on Highway 23 over the Mississippi is still closed, so you will want to follow the detour signs. From any other direction, my advice is to come off Interstate 94 or U.S. 10 to State Highway 15, and turn east onto Division Street (which is labeled as Highway 23, Crossroads Mall will be to your west.)

I will be speaking around 10:15, just before Rep. Bachmann, and then hopping in the car to head to the Patriot. Live call-ins from St. Cloud will be on NARN Volume I, which is going to be hosted by Ed this week (Mitch will probably be there after noon.) So if you can't be there, you can at least listen to all the fun you're missing!

P.S. Yes, I'll stop by the MOB gathering too tomorrow night at Keegans. But I leave very early due to Sunday church singing, so if you snooze, you lose.

P.P.S. I'm glad Andy Levy preserved that Twitter stream. I was stretching before bed -- it's the only way my back can stay moderately healthy any more -- and as is my wont, I usually go to bed around 12:30am. My iPod Touch gave me the usual last hundred posts, which I read while listening to either Dennis (Miller, Prager) or music, and last night I chose Red House Painters. Stretching is about twenty minutes. I start reading and half my tweetstream is AllahPundit's stream. I got up, sat down, and refreshed until Twitterrific wouldn't let me any more. Music ran out at the same time, and I went to bed. I slept poorly.

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

If you're a Twin Cities MOB blogger, go! 

I wish I could join in this but St. Cloud commitments will keep me away. Nevertheless, go see Ed and Mitch:
We�ve talked about the brilliant new movie from Mpower Pictures, The Stoning of Soraya M, for the last couple of weeks. It opens on Friday in selected theaters across the country. How �selected�? Only one theater in the Twin Cities will show it during its opening week � the Landmark Uptown in Minneapolis.

Mitch Berg and I thought this would make a great occasion to get the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers (MOB) together for an evening. We plan to attend the 7 pm showing at the Landmark Uptown on opening night, one of the great, classic theaters of Minneapolis, and get the word of mouth going on this powerful film. If you want to join us, just show up at the theater on June 26th. If you�re a MOB blogger, be sure to put the invite up on your blog. We want to get a big crowd to make a splash � and to get together, too.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Who did Roosh pay? I smell a foot 

Controversy surrounds the Roosh campaign, as every time there is a move up in the Martin numbers, a sudden increase of fifty votes for Roosh occurs. Try it. Vote for Martin, and see what happens.

Could there be an influx of new voters? Where did they come from? There seemed to be some signaling last night from the stage of Trocadero's during the Patriot Debate when Roosh supporter Mitch Berg kept saying "tip your waitresses." Was in fact those tips an ACORNish attempt to buy votes from the waitstaff?

Curiouser and curiouser. I demand an investigation. I smell a Dieboldical plot. (Yes, I made that word up. That will teach you not to vote for me!) How do we REALLY know that the count is accurate? For that matter, how do we know that KAR actually won Lord Jones' Pitcher? Were their witnesses for the counting of the ballots or comparison of the scorecards?

I call on all MOBsters to seek transparency and truth in the voting for MOB Mayor.

UPDATE: The sham investigation by the KAR, offered by someone who doesn't know his acorn from a hole in the voter registration system ground, is rejected. MOB members should post on their own blogs calls to impanel an inquest by the former MOB mayors.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008


As your mayor for a few more days, I have only one function left. I am asking all MOB Members in Good Standing to vote for Margaret Martin for Mayor.

As a longtime MOB member, only Margaret has the knowledge of MOB politics that we need. She clearly can handle unruly members, given her experience with her husband. Given the University of Michigan football team, she has the time. And it's time, once and for all, to break through the glass ceiling that has so far prevented women from reaching the mayor's office.

Roosh has engaged in a shadowy campaign, hiding with known libertarian turncoat Mitch Berg, trying to ride the Obama coattails, and closing his own blog. Should a blogger that disowns his own past be rewarded with the highest office in the Minnesota blogosphere? Forsooth!

So hie thee to the KARtacular, and Vote Martin!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It depends on what your motives are 

The problem with Foot's post is that he assumes my desire to be Mayor of the MOB was still present. In the email I sent him, all I did was to assure that Margaret had indeed met the rules and tried to roll something, anything. Thus I intentionally did not play a strategy that was meant to win, only to assure that she had played, meaning she wants the job.

It has been an honor to serve as your mayor. Alas, it has not been fruitful in the creation of parties for MOB, and as such I do not consider my term in office to have lived up to my expectations or yours. I am flattered to have had as much support as was provided to me (thanks for your twenty votes, Bobo.)

Heavy has rested the seal, and as major changes may be coming in the near future anyway, the process may as well begin by ceding that seal to new, better candidates. Applescowsky didn't get it, so mission accomplished there.

An endorsement of the two finalists will come tomorrow. Bribes Letters of supplication should arrive by noon, MM and Roosh. FedEx closes at 5.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Return your mayor to office 

Voting has begun for the office of mayor of the MOB. �I humbly seek your support and ask you to vote by finding the sidebar at the Kool Aid Report.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who do you think I am? Mark Olson? 

In response to the repeated calls for a signal of my intentions, I am announcing that I will seek a second term as Mayor of the MOB. In these troubled times, you need a steady hand and a light touch, and there has been no lighter touch or steadier hand in the MOB than mine.

Further campaign announcements forthcoming.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

See SCSU Scholars for your all-day MilF coverage! 

As a rehearsal for my plans for the Republican National Convention, I am going to experiment today with mobile blogging from the cellphone as we cover the Millard Fillmore Invitational from Valleywood. Updates also available from the Twitter page. Word is the Head of Alfredo Garcia will also provide live updates throughout the day. Where, I do not know.

Ed and Billy Baru be with me today.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

How did I ever beat this guy for mayor? 

You know, that Andy sure has some power.
When a nation manipulates a market, like energy it gives them an advantage over other nations, or imposes mandates that increase prices domestically, it harms their economy.
Less than 24 hours later, China caves in.
China will raise domestic gasoline and diesel prices by 17%-18% from midnight, the government said Thursday, as it responds to near-record crude oil futures and criticism of its fuel subsidies.

The surprise move raises prices by 1,000 yuan ($145.30) per metric ton and will be the largest increase in over four years although local prices will still be below the international market.

In a statement, the government's National Development and Reform Commission said the decision was aimed at ensuring domestic supply, noting that refiners were suffering "heavy losses."

It's the first oil product price increase since Nov. 1 and comes at a time of widespread fuel shortages in China as filling stations run out of diesel to sell or ration purchases by truckers. China is also increasing jet kerosene and jet fuel prices and from July 1 is raising retail electricity prices.

China's stock market has fallen 50% since late last year; it may be that the engine that is the Olympic Games is about to run its course. Mark Perry has a great graph of construction in China, proxied by its cement output. This supply shock won't help. Along with India and Malaysia, higher net prices to consumers could signal a decrease in quantity demanded as it already has in the US, and a peak in oil prices. As Asia last time led oil prices down in the late 1990s, could that happen again?

UPDATE: See also this from Ironman.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

And worse during the holidays 

Psycmeister is in Chicago with his father who is gravely ill. Prayers are requested. On behalf of the SCBA and the MOB, Leo, our hearts go out to you.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Soon to be dead and gone 

Molly Hatchet knows a little something about Mitch "Erstwhile MOB" Berg:
You think you're real sassy,
But you know your headed for your doom,
You look a little older but you sure ain't no wiser,
You're running for a stone-cold tomb.
Untouchable, he says? Hardly. We can get to him. We will give him no quarter in which to practice his silly bagpipes. He and his "it was twenty years ago today" navel-gazing shall be put to the power of the MOB.
You've got to find out for yourself,
You've got to learn it all on your own,
All this messing around,
Gonna put you in the ground,
I fail? Have you checked his Blog Readability? Go ahead, put the Berg blog in there and see what you get? Yes, Elementary School. Centrisity scores Junior High by comparison. All that pontification, all those twenty-years-ago-today piffle, and for what?
Start to feel the power,
Hundred miles per hour,
You're on the wrong side of the road,
There is of course hope for Mitch. There is redemption. He may indicate his loyalty to the MOB government by a very simple act. He must change the banner of his MOB badge to read

That's right. Sent to the Caucasus, the ancestral home of your mayor, where an eagle will devour your Guinness-infested liver each day and then have it regenerate each night, only to suffer that fate again.
Your hands a-start a-shaking,
You'll feel your mind a-breaking,
You'll wonder why it's getting so cold,
Your body's feeling icy,
That box will hold you nicely,
You'd better say goodbye to your soul.
This is your last chance, or the titans of the MOB will leave you dead and gone.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Documenting Delaware 

Stuart Taylor, in National Journal this morning, provides some additional details of the now-suspended indoctrination program at the University of Delaware. Resident assistants who were to lead the program were provided with a definition of racism:
"A RACIST: A racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. 'The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture, or sexuality. By this definition, people of color cannot be racists.' " [emphasis added]
People who've been discussing our little debate in the MOB would, since I'm pretty sure all of the discussants are white, are therefore arguing about racism as racists. Quite interesting, isn't it?

But Taylor goes on to highlight other elements of the "diversity facilitation training" for RAs.

Delaware students have been not only inculcated with the lunatic view that all white Americans are racists (and that "REVERSE RACISM" is a "term ... created and used by white people to deny their white privilege") but also:

* Told to confess their "privilege" or lament their "oppression";

* Informed that "white culture is a melting pot of greed, guys, guns, and god";

* Required to "recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society" and "recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression" (whatever that means);

* Instructed to purge male residents' "resistance to educational efforts" and "concepts of traditional male identity";

* Challenged to "change their daily habits and consumer mentality" for the sake of "sustainability";

* Pushed to display on their dorm doors politically approved decorations proclaiming support for (e.g.) "social equity" (whatever that means);

* Subjected to other "treatments" designed to alter their beliefs and behaviors and inculcate university-approved views on politics, sexuality, moral philosophy, and more;

* Ordered to attend residence-hall training sessions and submit to one-on-one sessions with RAs, who filed reports to their superiors about individual students' "level of change or acceptance" of the thought-reform program.

I think I see a new t-shirt, not unlike the "Borders, Language, Culture" shirts that Michael Savage has made famous. "MOB: Greed, Guys, Guns, and God." I see a new campaign slogan.

(I might drop the 'guys' part, though; the Lady Logician and Lassie have provided the MOB with yeowoman service, to invent a word. Your suggestions invited.)

What should really bother the reader here is that we are lucky to have found this evidence in the Delaware case. Delaware is just unfortunate enough to have light seep through the cracks in the academic edifice. Res Life programs are not reviewed by a curriculum committee of faculty; they are imposed by administrators or student governments through an even more opaque process. There are more Delawares.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Behold the power of dog 

We are enjoying an early lead in the runoff for Mayor of the MOB. The power of dog has been upon us, and no sense breaking this streak. Debbie writes in comments: "I don't give a hoot who is mayor of whatever this organizaion is, but the posts of Buttercup won me over. " Buttercup humbly beseeches your vote.

"In your paw, you know she's right."

UPDATE: Victory!!!

It is a long and distinguished line of mayors before me, and I hope to be able to carry on their examples. Congratulations to Atomizer on a well-fought campaign; as a Twins fan I'm sure he'll appreciate the specialness of making the playoffs. On behalf of Buttercup and the entire Scholar family, thank you for your support. A full Buttercup pictorial will be forthcoming shortly, as soon as Littlest assembles it. A new and improved, multi-city MOB Road Show will be forthcoming.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

The moment is at hand 

We can now vote in the finals of professional economist versus professional ... whatever for mayor of the MOB. Voting from home and from office is permitted -- it appears to be even encouraged -- as is voting daily. Elections are now through Wednesday.

We again thank our supporters, both left and right, for helping the Many Vowel Party (the MVP) reach this point in the campaign, and we know you can put us over the top with one (well, actually, six) more votes. We are getting Buttercup her own laptop:

"Proud member of Bostons for Banaiaiaiaiaiaiaian!"

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shocking development in MOB election 

In the election of the new mayor of the MOB -- ApplesCowsSki appears to be fading -- we are in receipt of evidence showing the unfitness of the candidate Atomizer. Endorsed of course by his brother blogger Chad the Elder as the candidate with the motto "Drink Early and Often", this is of course a play for the share of the MOB that frequents such fine establishments as Keegans. Thus this requires that the Mayor be able to hold his booze rather well. We commend ApplesCowsSki for his excellent imbibing skills.

As to Atomizer, I have in my possession evidence that Atomizer is not so gifted in this department. We have a picture of him enjoying a beer one recent evening on a very Scottish-looking couch, which of course may annoy the Keegans. It would not be good for the Mayor to run afoul of our Irish-MOB friends.
It is interesting that Atomizer insists on going out in this outfit looking like Flat Stanley. This is surely a coincidence. Note the orange shirt. Very difficult to imagine a mayor so dressed. But worse, he obviously could not hold his liquids, as the following picture will attest.

It is believed that he was heard saying "Gato, was that Minute Maid or did you just see a UFO?"

The MOB deserves better in its mayor. We favor dogs and cats, good spelling, free vowels for everyone, and the ability to control one's beer intake. Have you voted yet today? Buttercup says do it:


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grabbing the Bobo vote 

Mitch says we need to pander to him to get his endorsement for MOB Mayor. I don't think I can afford his breakfast tab on Saturdays, and he has only his vote to give -- he's banned everyone else but Flash from his blog. So we would like his support but need to focus on those whose support we can use to push us over the top.

Thus we turn to the chimp. We have not yet gotten Bobo's support, but we have asked his brother Yoyo to help us out here.
We have already awarded Yoyo the bachelor's degree, thus his tassel, and made him Director of Recreation in our new Administraiaiaiaiaiation. We expect that Bobo will withdraw from the race and join Yoyo and me on the ChimpEconomistBushIsBobo Ticket. Atomizer does martinis; we do daiquiris, name your flavor. Yoyo, naturally, likes banana. And he gives generous pours.

Voted yet? Once a day, here. Borrow your friend's computer while they're grabbing coffee and vote again.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Posts of the day 

I'm sure 95% of my readers read PowerLine, but for the remainder, today's introduction of the anti-Keillor is a moment to cheer. To sum up the point we turn to Will Rogers: "I can remember way back when a Liberal was one who was generous with his own money.'' Here's hoping ol' Gary can toss a few Powdermilk Biscuits to the poor...

Also, in the voting for mayor of the MOB, the incummbet is resorting to scurrilous tactics, like using dog pictures to win votes. Not to be outdone... is a fine creature preparing to listen to a scintillating lecture on computational general equilibrium models in economic development in Mongolia. She will be chief of staff in the Banaiaiaiaiaiaian Administration should you elect me.

Which you can do here once every day. Have both an office and home computer? You get to vote twice. Each. Day.


Monday, October 29, 2007

I could use another title 

In case you hadn't heard, I am running for Mayor of the Minnesota Organization of Blogs. My only campaign promise is free vowels for everyone. The polls are now open, and your support is appreciated.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Be it known 

...that I indeed have thrown my hat into the MOB Mayor ring. Here are my qualifications:

Like the current occupant, I like dogs.

(OK, dog vote, check.)

Like the current occupant, I like big trucks. Well, not quite as big, but let's see his truck save Matt Damon.

(OK, dogs and trucks. Sounding like a coalition here.)

Unlike the current occupant, I value spelling.

(Contrast. Michael tells me this is important.)

Unlike the current occupant, I know stuff about economics. Fixing trucks, no, no clue. But I promise to increase the MOB budget by 50% next year.

(OK, big spending promises. I think this is going to work!)

And those offering their open support (link to me via trackback) will get their names read on the air a week from Saturday and can enter the drawing to play with me for MiLF next year, which will get you much closer to the Pitcher than the current occupant will.

(That ought to do it. Yes, I can feel the seal now.)


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gary's laid up 

A phone call from Gary of Let Freedom Ring told me that he was on his way to the hospital with some recurring stomach issues. His blog will be silent only for a little while, we hope. I'm close to the hospital, so I'll try to see how he's doing later. Keep Gary in your prayers, please.

UPDATE (9pm): He's home and well enough to talk for about 45 minutes just now, but still will need some medical attention down the road.

Update by Janet - 10:30 AM. Gary posted an update at 3:00 AM this morning about people's reaction to the blast against General Patraeus. It's worth the read. You can read the short article here.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Five years ago today 

...this blog was born as
a group weblog for SCSU members of the NAS to discuss events at SCSU and elsewhere that would be of interest to us and to the SCSU faculty and staff.
It has obviously become something much different than that, due to a number of people and events. All the other members of the St. Cloud Association of Scholars either retired or moved on to other things. I decided to make it personal instead, and the habit of posting here each weekday was something I just fell into.

Later on, of course, came the Northern Alliance, the radio show and its evolution. Guest bloggers have worked here, and then last year we brought Janet, who I did not know before MAS, into regular posting. This is a statement about how often good things in our lives begin with an act you do that is unrelated, even orthogonal, to what happens in the end. There are so many blessings that have flowed from the decision to try out this Blogger thing that describing the beginnings of this blog cannot really be accomplished in a post. I'm probably going to write up an 'about' page (finally!) this week.

I will have to say the best part of this has been to find a whole new group of people to talk to, a group so large that even the list in my blogroll doesn't do the trick. So rather than name a whole bunch of people, I'd like to thank just the people who matter most.

The beautiful woman on the left is the woman that makes sure I get in the car each Saturday to do the show, who asks about the people on the right blogroll of the MOB, and who allows me to scoot down into the basement to post rather than do the housework that needs doing here. That too-tall kid on the right is the kid that ends up doing the work I would do if I wasn't doing this and is tied for the second-best thing in my life. That guy in the middle isn't my son, but the famed Psycmeistr, who can stand in for the dozens of other bloggers, readers and friends I've made through this. Put yourself in Leo's spot, dear reader, because you're one of our family, too.

The biggest of thanks, then, to Mrs. S and the Littlest Scholar for permitting me the pleasures of this blog. We'll stick this post at the top for the day.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blisters and poles 

It appears that my choice of footwear at post-MilF did not meet with the approval of all and sundry. For the record: Me and my Birks have often had socks come between us; they prove the only thing to wear after blisters form during golf, but the strap will cut into the blister if not first met sock and Band-Aid (in my case, some leftover Garfield bandages back when Littlest thought him cute.) It is all but impossible to walk otherwise.

There will be no confusing me with the NARN metrosexuals like Mitch Berg.

Lest one think that socks were the greatest debauchery of this day, however, we offer the following into evidence.

Case closed.


Friday, August 24, 2007

A good day is golf 

I would like to blog, but there is a higher calling. After spending the night with Bagger Vance, I am to MilF today. I'm going to send KARNation home.

Now to see if Yost has game; please note that KARNation has arranged teams in order to subvert the competition.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

One fine day 

If you are a blogger, or read blogs, just wonder what that word means, you need to be at Keegans tonight at 6pm for the Minnesota Organization of Blogs gathering. Usual ringleader Chad the Elder has decided he prefers Manila, enjoying his satellite TV connection, but the rest of us should be there. Cigars preferred.

You can start your fine day right now, listening to the second hour of Taxpayers League Live and then six hours of the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 11am, on AM 1280 the Patriot (stream, later podcasts). Michael and I will have the Final Word starting at 3pm, with a focus on state and local politics. Exactly what? We're still working on guests while I hop in the car now and drive to the station; moonroof open because it's another gorgeous day in Minnesota.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

For those unclear on the concept... 

...Learned Foot has provided the ultimate guide to MOB Night at Keegans. Coming this Saturday, 6pm here. I will be outside, by order of the fire marshal, christening a newcomer if he shows up.

(Private channel to Drew: Every other letter's an 'a'.)


Friday, July 06, 2007

Back to the beginning 

Jeff Kouba writes that Peace Like a River is back in business with a new address.
I wanted to get back to a focus on international and security matters. So as before, it's a place to jot down what interests me in the world, and if others find it interesting as well, then great!
I think you will. Update your blogroll and check it out.


Friday, June 29, 2007

SCBA gathering (Updated!!!) 

We are having a gathering of the St. Cloud Bloggers Association (containing both MOB and non-MOB members) at 5pm this Friday at Granite City Food and Brewery here in the Cloud. It is our second visit to GCFB, which was great last time and had wireless capacity for us to use. We expect some elected officials to attend. Please contact Gary Gross from Let Freedom Ring so we can give the restaurant a head count.

Jeff from View from the Cloud invites attendees to then come to the Veranda Bar in downtown St. Cloud to hear his band play. He'll be the guy on the harmonica.

GCFB is at the corner of Highways 15 and 23. If you are coming from the Cities, take I-94 to exit 167B, Highway 15. Come to the first stop light (just past the "Welcome to Saint Cloud" sign) and you'll see GCFB there on the corner. You'll need to make a lefthand turn, then turn into the parking lot where you see Bed, Bath and Beyond and Chipotle.

Note: The MOB gathering comes July 14 at Keegans.

UPDATE: The guest list grows! Rep. Laura Brod has confirmed her attendance; we are "efforting" even more distinguished guests.

UPDATE 2: And we're live from GCFB! We have the following blogs in attendance:
We have Representatives Dan Severson, Steve Gottwalt, Laura Brod and (pleasant surprise) Matt Dean as well as House district 15B candidate Josh Behling (needs website -- promises to do so soon) here with us as well. There's lots of political talk around here. Jeff Lee and I have taken some pictures from here.

While it's a little noisy inside here, and Drew hasn't come with the cigars yet, we are hopeful that we will have a few more people show up later. Still, we have over thirty here. We will need a ruling for the blogs listed here not in the MOB to be admitted as a sanctioned event attendee.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Pray around 

Finally had a chance to stop and read, and first thing I find is that the First Mate appears to be completing her transplant surgery in fine form. Prayers for healing over there. I saw her at the station a few weekends ago and barely recognized her at first; Ed won't know this, but she provided me some real understanding and help dealing with my friend's death to diabetes. Ed, you married well.

Prayers as well out to Liz, for discernment for God's plan for her and Josh. I am glad she had a chance to share this with Powerline's audience (thanks, guys, for giving her some time.) I'm working up an idea for those two when Josh returns. Hint: It involves baseball.

Prayers for Sgt. Neil Duncan for healing and to move people to help support his struggle for a healthy future.

And prayers for me to be more patient with some of the students needing things when I'm supposed to have the day off. (Though, a tip: Interrupting me between the bathroom and the coffee pot is never a good idea. Thankee.)

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Local blogs featured 

(That's my attempt at an MSM headline -- blah.)

Area bloggers -- leading off with a St. Cloud blogger I don't know yet, more on him in a minute -- are featured on page one of the St. Cloud Times this morning. It has that sort of "heard of these new-fangled blog thingies?" feel to it, as if many of the Times readers never heard of them before. I suspect my fellow Cloudians are real hepcats and dig the blog thing already. I rely on this Pew study from last year on who blogs and who reads them. I can tell you that, though the usual perception is of a young person blogging his or her personal life to friends and acquaintances, the bloggers who are represented in Kirsti's story don't fit the mold. For one thing, I believe Larry Schumacher is the youngest of the SCBA bloggers (Mr. Lee, drop a note or leave a comment if that would not be true when you join ... and yes, that was an invitation) and I'm pretty sure he's above the median age of bloggers. Most of the bigger bloggers in MOB, too, are north of the big 30 (I'm the senior citizen of SCBA but the Powerline guys are a few years older than me.) And SCBA and MOB are both more full of political bloggers than the blogosphere more generally.

For those finding this blog for the first time thanks to the Times, there was an interview of me as a blogger (and radio host) a few years ago by Doug Williams that I still think was well done, even though it reads a little too stream of consciousness. In short, I wasn't thinking of this as a political blog when it started, but between the friendships built, the radio program created, and the drifting away of the other Scholars, that's where it is. Thanks for stopping by.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of civility 

An open letter to my good friend Ed,

Dear Ed,

Dig what you said about CPAC and inviting crazy Auntie Ann, but were you really surprised? No, you had to be like the conference organizers were, right? They are only fooling themselves to say they were shocked. They weighed the cost of having her scandalize the conference again against the benefit of having her entertain the faithful for thirty minutes and took a shot. They lost, and the damage to the organizations is their rightful reward for losing that gamble. Anytime you invite her is a gamble. Fox has a dump button; live speeches don't.

But really, that's why people go to these things. They want to see the talking heads with bodies attached, without benefit of the nets presented by TV, radio, print and blogs. You went to meet all those cool people there, right? And like Auntie Ann isn't one of them? And when you come in contact with real people unprocessed, uncensored, sometimes the result isn't pretty. (I note you didn't say you wouldn't go again to CPAC if you and Annie were both invited.)

Same is true of commenters -- sometimes they aren't pretty. But your call for civility is a bit bothersome, if you'll forgive me saying so, Ed. See, back on this blog a long time ago we had a long chat about civility on a campus discussion email list. The campus tried to enforce it, and has ended up killing that list. My former co-blogger Jack Hibbard said this at the time,
Certainly the desire to censor somebody is a perennially human. Nat Hentoff is about the best author on all of this, and his Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee is worth reading, but its tough to go from desire to application. To want to censor is easy; doing it can be hard.

So we hit questions like who is going to determine what constitutes appropriate speech? And how will they make clear precisely what acceptable speech is? Will there be a word list? Will we not say "inane' any more? If 'inane' is forbidden, I can think of a lot of other words with equal or greater force that will have to be forbidden too; this could be a very long list. I'm glad I don't have to make it up. Or will context be important? Can we say some things or people are inane and others not? Or does who one is matter? A double standard has been pretty clear in the past, so would there be people who we can offend and others we can't? Or, if it's a horrific (can I say that?) thing to offend someone else, will acceptable language depend on the proclivity of others to be offended? And how will this be implemented? Will messages have to go through a screening committee before they are posted? (Boy, would I hate that job, though I doubt there's much danger I would be asked to do it.) Will somebody stop messages from going out and doing all their crushing (can I say that?) damage, or will writers merely be punished afterwards? And, of course, what will the punishment be? What's it worth to have offended somebody else, especially the most fragile among us who are most easily offended?

This list of questions could go on, and very well may. But to be honest my advice is to forget this whole business as soon as possible. Let people talk, and if they say something nasty (can I say that?) to you, either say something nasty back, or get a nasty friend to help you say something nasty back, or -- and this is usually my most preferred course of action -- go home and have a slug or two of good whiskey (can I mention whiskey) and blow the whole thing off (can I say that?).
And that, Ed, is my advice to you: Forget the whole business. It's of course your blog, and you're quite clear about moderating your comments -- a real difference between a blog and a discussion list on a state university campus. There's no question whether one can censor -- you can -- and who is to decide the rules -- that's your right alone. I've banned a couple of people, one of whom I let back after deciding I had overreacted. (The other remains off the blog not because he was offensive but because his signal-to-noise ratio fell to zero.) But we academics have had a long history with civility codes on campuses, and I will simply say they are the den for the most censorious in our midst. No matter how many times you say you won't censor content, you cannot help but do so. And in the end your comment boxes will end up the barren wasteland of so many Usenet newsgroups that took on a moderator and lost a community.

Given the excellent commenters you've had over the years, that would be a great loss.

Best to you and the First Mate,

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Friday, March 02, 2007

This will not stand 

Two posts declare all-out war
No moonbeam to me.


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