Monday, February 27, 2006

Chester, McCloud, and Tom Wedloe

Dennis Weaver passed away on Friday. I have no insight into how much applause he will get at the Oscars. Readers? What are your rankings?

I will most likely TiVo the first two hours of the telecast so as to avoid the crap, but not miss the roll call.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Gilligan, Barney, and Grandpa

This week both Don Knotts and Darren McGavin (the father in A Christmas Story) passed away. May they rest in peace.

Here is my updated prediction on who gets the most applause at the Oscars:

1. Richard Pryor
2. Don Knotts
3. Bob Denver
4. Al Lewis
5. August Wilson
6. Darren McGavin
7. Nipsey Russell

The Nipsey Russell clip will be from The Wiz.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Diverse, Non-Diverse, and Focus Groups Part II

The Minnesota State Bar Association's Legal News Digest says that they are still looking for "diverse and non-diverse" participants for a task force study. I discussed the unusual terminology in this post.

I dare someone to click on the link and volunteer. Ask them whether they need more "diverse" or "non-diverse" participants.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Rioting, Beheading, and Sack-ing

The Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial cartoonist participates in a forum and comes out against terrorism...sort of:

Another member of the forum, Star Tribune cartoonist Steve Sack, said racism distracts from the messages that cartoons are intended to portray and that the Muhammad cartoons lost their message because they were a failed use of freedom of speech.

“The point, the joke, would be lost in the disrespect,” he said.

Sack said the Muslim communities’ cries for punishment of the cartoon artists might be extreme.

It was an assignment, he said. No one should be given a death sentence, but the editor should be held responsible.

Way to go out on a limb, Steve! The calls for death to the cartoonists "might" be extreme.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Diverse, Non-Diverse, and Focus Groups

Here's another reason to cancel your bar association membership. This is from the Minnesota State Bar Association's Legal News Digest:

MSBA Diversity Task Force Needs focus group participants The MSBA Diversity Task Force is conducting confidential focus groups of lawyers to gather subjective perspectives on diversity in the profession. Groups will explore diversity issues in the areas of gender, race, sexual orientation, disability and religion. The task force is looking for lawyer participants from diverse and non-diverse backgrounds to participate. Groups will be held beginning Feb. 22 through early March. If you are interested contact Tram Thai at the MSBA. Phone 612-278-6316. All focus groups are strictly confidential. No names of participants, firms, business groups or other identifying indicators will be used, referenced or recorded. If you have any questions concerning the confidentiality of these focus groups, please contact the MSBA’s Interim Project Manager for the research, Sharon Elmore, at 651-334-1418 or slynnelmore@...
(emphasis in original)

So if white people participate, they make the focus group "non-diverse"? At least they don't pretend that the word "diversity" is anything other than a code word for racial quotas.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Jesus, Moses, and You Know

Who remembers the Saturday Night Live skit where Jesus, Moses, and another religious leader were dining together in a restaurant?

What are the chances we will see that one in reruns?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Livewire, Nick Rocks, and You Can't Do That on Television

What do readers remember about Livewire, the early-80s program on Nickelodeon?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Sticks, Stones, and Guns

I have been meaning to comment on this program of the African-American Men Project in Minneapolis. Individuals can turn guns in for cash, no questions asked.

Backers of the program tell and retell this story about kids in oversized parkas turning in a sawed-off shotgun. All well and good. But is there a general assumption about black gun ownership here? And if the Star Tribune purports to break down racial stereotypes, does this program reinforce stereotypes?

Talk amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Jay, Dave, and Jon?????

OK. I am taking the plunge this week. I will watch a week's worth of the Daily Show and see if I have misjudged it all this time. If people want to provide a new perspective on why I should like it, please do so in the comment section.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Plains, Houston, and Atlanta

Byron York has this piece about the non-story being shopped around by Media Matters. It seems that David Brock (former conservative and eternal liar) and his group are outraged that anyone would think that the funeral of Coretta Scott King was politicized. Why, the funeral of Ronald Reagan was much more politicized, according to Media Matters. Here is the quote from President Bush's eulogy that supposedly proves the point:

He came to office with great hopes for America. And more than hopes. Like the president he had revered and once saw in person, Franklin Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan matched an optimistic temperament with bold, persistent action.

President Reagan was optimistic about the great promise of economic reform, and he acted to restore the rewards and spirit of enterprise. He was optimistic that a strong America could advance the peace, and he acted to build the strength that mission required.

He was optimistic that liberty would thrive wherever it was planted, and he acted to defend liberty wherever it was threatened.

And Ronald Reagan believed in the power of truth in the conduct of world affairs. When he saw evil camped across the horizon, he called that evil by its name.

There were no doubters in the prisons and gulags, where dissidents spread the news, tapping to each other in code what the American president had dared to say. There were no doubters in the shipyards and churches and secret labor meetings where brave men and women began to hear the creaking and rumbling of a collapsing empire. And there were no doubters among those who swung hammers at the hated wall that the first and hardest blow had been struck by President Ronald Reagan.

The bold emphasis is supplied by Media Matters. The group also sniffs that no Democrats were invited to speak at the funeral (planned by the Reagans over 20 years ago). But it is interesting where Media Matters chose to excerpt from President Bush's speech. Here is the whole speech. The line right before the Media Matters snippet is as follows:

Ronald Reagan's moment arrived in 1980. He came out ahead of some very good men, including one from Plains, and one from Houston. What followed was one of the decisive decades of the century, as the convictions that shaped the President began to shape the times.

So Bush managed to honor both his father AND President Carter, Reagan's primary and general election opponents, while celebrating the 1980 victory. Contrast this with the speakers at the King funeral, who went out of their way to embarrass Bush as he sat behind the pulpit.

Class: some have it, some don't.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Cohen, Clifton, and Company

In the post below, I should have introduced Dan Cohen. He has appeared in these pages before and has been a guest on Marty Andrade's radio show.

The former member of the Minneapolis City Council won a landmark First Amendment victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case involved the local newspapers making a promise not to print Cohen's name if he provided them with public information involving a political candidate. The Star Tribune and Pioneer Press took the public arrest records, but printed his name anyway. Click on the links in the paragraphs above for more information on the case.

For many years, the Star Tribune refused to print Dan's letters to the editor. The irony was that they were fond of printing his name when they had promised not to do so, but later they were afraid to do so when he gave them express permission. With confidential sources in the news lately, the Strib finally lifted the embargo. I am encouraging him to start a blog with all the letters they wouldn't print.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Runs, Hits, and Errors

Here is a letter to the editor written by Dan Cohen, but never published. I am trying to convince Dan to start a blog along these lines -- unpublished letters to the editor. The opinions expressed are Dan's:

To the editor,

Two weeks ago, on these editorial pages, Andy Brehm (OpEx/ 01-13-05) tried to revive the sales tax scheme for financing a new Twins stadium.

Apparently, that's a dead duck, because this Sunday, a commentary piece on the editorial pages presented us with still another scheme, this time using Carl Pohlad's putative estate tax, while on the sports pages, the usually skeptical Pat Reusse gives us a paean to Pohlad's free handed spending habits. As for the latter, note that a recent letter to the editor of this paper pointed out that Pohlad's charitable foundation last year contributed $7.6 million. Sounds like a lot, except when you consider that for someone with a net worth of $2.8 billion, it represents .003 percent, or three one-thousandths of one percent of $2.8 billion.

Why do we keep seeing these curveballs?

Because it takes a long time for memories to fade. Memories of such Pohladian schemes as the "donation" which turned out, once the legislators saw the fine print, to be a loan. Memories of an owner whose civic loyalty was so thin he offered to "contract" the Twins into nothingness in return for a payoff from the league.

This version, as do all others, calls for Pohlad to put $125 million or 28 percent of the cost, while the taxpayers put up $319 million or 72 percent of the cost, while Pohlad collects 100 percent of the revenues. Yes, of the taxpayer portion, approximately $112 million would come from taxes levied on Pohlad's estate, and thus, Pohlad, living and dead, would contribute $237 million, or 56 percent and the non-Pohlad taxpayer portion would be $182 million or 44 percent-- while of course, Pohlad, this time the late Pohlad, would still receive 100 percent of the revenues from the stadium. All this assumes that such a deal is legal, and involves accepting the fiction that the $112 million comes from Pohlad and not from the state. Is it possible to predetermine a person's legal state of residence at the time of their death when they are still alive? The states that fought over Howard Hughes estate didn't think so. And speaking of heirs, what are their rights in this? The brouhaha surrounding Jim Binger's estate might give the author of Sunday's Commentary piece pause to reconsider if he thinks that Pohlad's heirs will let his proposal pass unchallenged. And what about the legislature? Under this plan, unlike the sales tax plan, instead of Hennepin County taxpayers ponying up the public portion of cost of the stadium, $235 million ($360 million minus $125 million ) would have to be deducted from general revenues that could be used statewide. Try that one out on Phil Krinkie, the chair of the House Tax Committee. And what about the voters? One can safely assume that one of the conditions of this proposition is that the people who are being asked to put up the taxpayer portion don't get to vote on it. And then there's Pohlad's pending lawsuit, in which he is attempting to break the Twins lease with the Metrodome? Hmm. Could there be another Pohlad lawsuit sometime in the future in which the legality of this deal is challenged?

There is no way of beating this guy at the negotiating table. So why try? Let him go on his way and at least preserve the high moral ground of not having paid him blackmail.

Besides, I think there is a deal that would work: if it would only cost Hennepin County taxpayers a sales tax of 3 cents on every 20 dollars to make a deal with Pohlad, count me among those would gladly pay 6 cents or 7 cents for a new publicly owned and financed ballpark, and a new team, if necessary, and not have to do business with Carl Pohlad, living or dead.

Dan Cohen

Occupation: Retired. Twins fan. I attended five games last year, and follow the team closely.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ready, Aim, and Fire Part III

Working on a great new post for tomorrow. What's on your mind?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Gilligan, Grandpa, and Jo Jo Dancer

In this post, I predicted that Richard Pryor would receive the most applause during the memorial segment of the Oscars this year. With the passing of Al "Grandpa" Lewis, here are my predicted rankings in applause:

1. Richard Pryor
2. Bob Denver
3. Al Lewis
4. August Wilson
5. Nipsey Russell

Interestingly, ABC's This Week program failed to mention Lewis in its In Memoriam segment.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Shave, Haircut, and Two Bits

I forgot a Bo Diddley beat song:

No One to Run With (Allman Brothers)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Mocking Bird, Diamond Ring, and Looking Glass

Songs with the Bo Diddley beat:

Bo Diddley
Who Do You Love
Faith (George Michael)

Related tunes:

Shave And A Haircut, Two Bits


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Rude, Crude, and Domain Masters

Songs about not being master of your own domain:

Shebop (Cyndi Lauper)
My Ding-a-ling (Chuck Berry)