Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wind, Rain, and Snow Update II

An update to the update below on Katrina volunteers:

From: brookemcmahon@*******
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 22:44:15 +0000
Subject: [WorldSheltersTaskForceOne] Oh my gosh, It's greeen down here.

Hey Folks,

So I just got home, I mean, I just got back
to the Made with Love cafe. I was working for money
in Austin, and it was fine, but now I'm pleased as punch to be
back. I can't stay away too long. I was bribed
with the possibility of a little trailer to live in.
I love tents, but this is getting silly.

And I thought when I rolled in, hell, what are we doing here?
Aren't we a little obsolete? These folks
can go to the store. Well, they can. But the
store is still an hour, lots of these folks don't have cars,
and we still have 1300 people comming in a day who tell us we
are still very needed and appreciated. So I'm going to
take their word for it.

We are slated to leave St. Bernard's in 2 months, but there
is a new kitchen which is going to be born in Plaquermen's.

Hey, I saw a light on in the the 9th ward the other
night. The mountains of trash are much less frequent,
I saw families hanging out on their porches, in their
yards, hanging out of windows, on Elysian Fields.
And it is sooooo greeen. What was a grey, cracked
landscape of flood mud and crap is now a beautifull
field with grass, amarath, clover and someone has planted
sunflowers everywhere. I have found frogs, lizards and large
spiders on my tent. There are these crazy birds that dive
full speed into the water. Mosquitos, too.
I left in Febuary amid a coughing, cold, sick and grey but
diligent and cheerfull kitchen, and I have come back to a
super springy-sping. And it's only like, 105.

Some of the shelters are having some trouble, mostly
the ex-medic tent, which is leaning and sagging,
and the two that were wonderfull through the storms look
like they need a little love and new PVC. I'll be
attacking that tommorow. The medical tent suffers
from too many hippies hanging too many things
from the pvc. So the conclusion is, banana PVC is
ok for a little while, but new PVC is best.

I don't know if you know, but all of your hard work
in the time you all were down here helping really did a lot,
and I can see the ripples from your work in the
continuing, long term (pain in the ass!), relief

Be happy and healthy.


Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Wind, Rain, and Snow UPDATE

Remember this post about Katrina relief efforts? Well it seems that they have become even more organized, forming Burners without Borders. More info here.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Scottsboro, Maycomb, and Durham

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird is the high-water mark in teaching about racial tolerance. It was featured as part of Chicago's One Book program. Here in Minnesota, it was assigned reading as part of a plea bargain for individuals guilty of an attack following a KKK rally.

The novel was reportedly inspired by the real-life events in Scottsboro, Alabama. The trial of the Scottsboro "boys" is featured in a PBS documentary and in the upcoming movie, Heavens Fall. To review, here are some elements of the Scottsboro and/or To Kill a Mockingbird stories:
  • Forensic evidence from the woman that points toward innocence
  • Bruises of questionable origin that bolster the defense position
  • Outrage in the local community, demanding prosecution
  • Horror in the rest of the country at the apparent miscarriage of justice
  • Racial dragnet -- using race to accuse many for what was, at most, the acts of a few
Every decent person would like to think that he or she would be on the right side of the issue if such a case ever happened today. People identify with Atticus Finch, rather than the prosecutor in the fictional story. Fortunately, we'll never find out because nothing like the Scottsboro trial could ever happen today, right?

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (4-21)

It's open thread Friday again. What's on your mind?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Torts, Trial Lawyers, and C-Sections

The Star Tribune reports that doctors may be changing their tune "after a decade of relentlessly rising C-Section rates."

The Strib failed to report one of the culprits in the rise of this procedure -- trial lawyers. One of the most famous is former Senator John Edwards. Remember how Edwards channeled an unborn baby girl in his closing argument to a jury?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Duke, Grace, and Dis-Grace

I stumbled on Nancy Grace's show on Headline News recently. She was discussing the alleged rape at Duke University. She reminds me of Dana Carvey's Church Lady when she is being sarcastic with a defense attorney on the show.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tic, Tac, and Toe

List your favorite paper games (tic tac toe, dots, etc.) in the comment section.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Carmela, Meadow, and AJ

Any predictions for the Sopranos this season? Add them to the comment block below.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fair, Balanced, and Unafraid

I sent the radio station a copy of my post on the unfortunate language used by local commentator Brian Lambert to describe Charles Krauthammer. No response as yet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Mass, Muslims, and More Confusion

Here is how Nick Coleman of the Minneapolis Star Tribune began his Christmas Eve column in 2004:

On the day before the day before Christmas, I sat next to a Muslim during mass in a Catholic church that was started by an Irishman who wanted to convert Scandinavians. Naturally, the priest was from Africa.

Just what I wanted for Christmas.

The world has changed since St. Olaf Catholic Church was begun in downtown Minneapolis by Father James Coleman, my grandfather's brother, as a way to lure unsuspecting Lutherans into a Catholic church. These days, Lutherans don't give us much trouble. But Christmas has never seemed more urgently necessary.
* * *

In giving Nick Coleman the Father Time 2004 Award, I questioned how Nick Coleman knew the guy was Muslim. Did he talk to the guy? Was he wearing religious clothing? Or did he mean "Arab" or "Middle Eastern"? After Nick recently accused some Minneapolis Police Department officers of not knowing the difference between and East African and and East Sider, I asked him how he knew the guy at Christmas Eve mass was Muslim. His response:

He was wearing street clothes. But yes, I talked to him.
Thanks for asking. Man, I hope this hasn't ruined too much of your time over the past 15 months plus.

Nick Coleman

One wonders how that conversation went. "So, where are you from?" "What religion are you?" "Wanna convert?" No, scratch that last one; that's reserved for Lutherans.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nick, Nick, and Nick

Watch this space for a Nick Coleman update!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Blogs, Burkle, and FOBs

Please comment on the billionaire friend of former President Clinton emerging as a possible buyer for the Pioneer Press.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fred, Mort, and Charles

I forgot to write about this when it happened. On Friday, March 24, Brian Lambert was talking on the afternoon drive show on the new KTLK talk station. He referred to the "corpses" on Fox News, "like Charles Krauthammer."

Poor choice of words?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cops, Stops, and Coleman

Nick Coleman has a good column in today's Star Tribune. No, that is not a misprint. Coleman reports on the recent high profile murders without any liberal angst.

Whatever his other faults, Coleman has generally not played the race card on the crime issue. In a 2001 column in the Pioneer Press (paid archives), he relates his experience riding along with the city police:

Payne Avenue, corner of Jenks, 1:35 a.m. on a drizzly Saturday on St. Paul's East Side. Police officer John Linssen has stopped a blue 1987 Chevy that is traveling slowly -- too slowly -- with its bright lights on.. I have been riding with Linssen, playing a ride-along game, trying to guess the driver's race and gender each time Linssen stops an errant motorist. I have been wrong almost every time, sometimes comically.

Give credit where credit is due.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pins, Hairstyles, and Metal Detectors

Does anyone smell a setup in the recent case involving Rep. Cynthia McKinney? You change your hairstyle, fail to wear the pin identifying you as a member of Congress, and then react violently when you are stopped from bypassing a metal detector at the Capitol. Who's fault is that again?

It would be like a judge purposely driving around with expired license plate tabs and then complaining about traffic stops.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Irony, Hypocrisy, and Petards

I have been asked to comment on the complaint filed by Greg Wersal against members of the Minnesota Supreme Court. Some claim that filing the complaint is hypocritical for someone who argued that judicial candidates have a First Amendment right to state their views on disputed legal matters during a campaign. However, the Supreme Court ruling in RPM v. White does not allow [and Wersal did not seek in his lawsuit] for judges to pledge or commit themselves to vote a certain way on a case. Nor did it apply outside the context of elections.

Even if one were to ignore the differences outlined above, the charge of hypocrisy could go both ways. Those who claimed the sky was falling when candidates were actually allowed to campaign for judgeships should be outraged at the charges that judges allegedly hinted how they would rule to the Senate Majority Leader.

Some may also counter the charge of hypocrisy by saying that this is a case of irony or the legal elites being hoist by their own petards. Wersal's familiarity with the ethics rules comes from charges being filed against him during his own judicial campaigns. There were at least two separate complaints in two separate elections against Wersal. The chair of the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board took umbrage when Wersal told the press about the complaint filed in 2000, neglecting to mention that Wersal did not ask for anyone to threaten his professional license in filing charges against him. Wersal was able to use the many attacks against him in his legal case.

In the original Batman movie with Michael Keaton, the final confrontation between the Joker and Batman results in mutual claims of "You made me." Batman cites as his raison d'etre the murder of his parents by the small-time hood who later became the Joker. Similarly, the Joker blames his disfigurement on a chemical factory crime foiled by the Caped Crusader.

The legal community can argue whether Wersal is good or evil (Batman or The Joker), but one cannot argue with the fact that the legal elites made him what he is.