Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Does She Ever Check Facts?

With the scare of swine flu, Michele Bachmann has taken it upon herself to blame it on immigrants. Then she goes further and blames it on the Democrats. Does Michele Bachmann EVER check facts? It is just one thing after another with her. Why oh why does she have to be from Minnesota?

Her latest is mentioning that the last case of swine flu broke out under another Democratic president: Jimmy Carter. Unfortunately, once again, she didn't check her information. In fact, one has to wonder where she gets half of her information from in the first place.

It was actually Gerald Ford who was in office at the time, a Republican. She apparently doesn't know how to look anything up (google is pretty easy, by the way) and doesn't realize she has been taped in any circumstance. According to Huffington Post, Bachmann stated:

"I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I'm not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it's an interesting coincidence."

Unfortunately, Bachmann's facts are a little off. As Glenn Thrush notes, Republican President Gerald Ford, not Carter, led the country during the last outbreak of the virus.

The weirdest thing: why mention this at all? Ah, Michele Bachmann. The gift of entertainment that keeps on giving. Except nobody wants the present.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Cost of Norm's Stalling

It is almost May, and Minnesota is still short a senator. Norm Coleman has decided to appeal and take his case further. We are all tired of this. You lost, dude. Move on and quit costing us money, embarrassment, and loss of representation.

I really feel for Amy Klobucher. Her workload must be astronomical. But, a recent study by Esme Murphy of WCCO really put the actual cost to Minnesota residents in perspective. As she says, we are paying for two senators, but only have one. As reported on mnpublius:

"She now calculates that so far, the cost is approaching $1 million, counting since the day Al Franken should have been sworn in:

By my calculation that’s about $8,000 a day that we, as taxpayers, shell out for offices in Washington, D.C. and in Minnesota. (As far as I can tell from the 2,000-plus page report, all senators get about the same amount of money.)

Right now we have not had a senator for 107 days. At $8,000 a day, that’s about $856,000 we, as taxpayers, have funded for a Senate office that doesn’t exist.

Murphy thinks the rebate should come from the Federal government, but maybe Norm Coleman should have to cover a part of the cost, since he has clearly lost but continues to deny us full representation. Since Coleman is taking up so much of our courts’ time, maybe the $1 million could go towards restoring courts’ staffing. It won’t be enough to completely restore service from our beleaguered court system, but every bit helps."

Coleman's stalling (because that's really all it is at this point) has left Klobucher overworked, Franken waiting, and Minnesotans impatient and angry. Even people who voted for him now say he has zero chance of a political future. After this all plays out, he should have to pay something back.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Michele Bachmann's Continued Stupidity

Ah, once again. Why does this woman have to be from Minnesota? And WHO voted for her? For the continued entertainment value, she is great. For the continued embarrassment for those of us from this state, she is ridiculously ignorant, stupid - and arrogant about it. Keith Olbermann said it best when she made his "Worst Persons in the World" list (she's #2 this time, but she has frequently been on this list). According to Bachmann, carbon dioxide gas is not harmful because it is a natural. I'm sorry - what??

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Review of a Good, But Rather Odd, Book

As a writer, I'm always reading. I guess this was true when I was a kid too. I always had a book on me. This blog originally started out as a writing blog with book reviews, etc. It turned out I was much more political than I thought....or perhaps it is just that there was - and is - so much going on politically that you'd have to be asleep to not notice. So, I figured I'd step back and do a good ole book review for this post.

The last book I read was "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." I usually read books pretty fast. This one tended to sit in my car overnight - as I always have to have one with me as well as one at home - or stuffed in my briefcase. It got read very slowly.

The story is about Oscar, an overweight, Dominican sci-fi nerd and his short life (wondrous I'm not so sure about).
It is an interesting book. My significant other adored it. But then, he too is a bit of a sci-fi nerd and a self-professed geek. He also knows some Spanish. This book was full of all of the above. I am not a sci-fi nerd or a geek (at least I don't think so), and am ashamed to say I know little Spanish. I know French quite well, but that did me little good with this book. It did inspire me to get with the program and learn some Spanish.

I found the book interesting, very funny in parts, and weird in many others. I enjoyed the footnotes, what I learned from it, and thought the ending was pretty funny. But it wasn't the pure joy I had heard about from geeks everywhere. This might be partly my fault too though as it did sit for long periods of time.

That being said, Junot Diaz did pen a pretty good book here. The fact that it is so different and makes you think is, in itself, pretty outstanding. And you can't help feeling for poor Oscar who comes from a weird family and is just plain weird himself. After seeing Diaz on The Cobart Report awhile back, one has to wonder how much of this is a bit autobiographical....but most books are in some way or the other. The author can't help but put a bit of his own personality into it. So, yes it's good. And, yes it's different. And I'm sure if I was the self-professed geek and sci-fi nut in the household I would rave on and on about it. But I'll leave that to my significant other. To him it is at the top of his current list.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yea to Al Franken - The Declared Winner!

After months of recounts and courtroom antics by Norm Coleman, Al Franken was declared the winner today. Of course, Coleman immediately stated he was going to appeal this decision. As stated in the New York Times:

A three-judge state panel Monday declared Al Franken, a Democrat, the victor in a Senate race here that has dragged Minnesota through prolonged litigation and recounts. The panel dismissed a challenge by Norm Coleman, the Republican who had held the seat, to a count that left the two men separated by 312 votes out of nearly 3 million cast.

“I would call on Senator Coleman to allow me to get to work as soon as possible,” Mr. Franken said after the ruling.

Congrats, Al - for your well-deserved, hard-earned seat. You won this fairly and honestly. And further congrats to your family and whole team that has stood by you through all of this. Even if Coleman keeps dragging this out, you know you are the bonafide winner. Coleman has not only lost respect, he has ruined his chance of any future political career - even from many that voted for him.

All that Coleman has done at this point, really, is make so many people in Minnesota angry. We have not had representation while he continued his game to keep another Democrat out of the Senate. Seriously, Norm. Once and for all, take your crooked ways, shut up, and move on. The only point you are making anymore is what a sore loser you are.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Upcoming First Dog

Ah, what can I say - I'm a huge dog lover. Although I really appreciate President Obama and all he has done in just a couple of months in office...I'm also pretty excited they are now getting a cool dog.

I like all dogs, but especially big dogs. I know he is getting the dog for his family - and those two adorable little girls - but I just didn't see him as a Chihuahua-type of guy. I also like that this dog is a "returned" dog that they are going to bring into their home.

According to TMZ:
"The black dog - a male - is approximately six months old. We've learned it was bred at the kennel and sold to someone who gave it back. The kennel is now "re-homing" the dog to the Obamas. The dog was named Charlie, but the Obamas will rename it."
This isn't their puppy - but it will probably look something like this one. A little offbeat and a little goofy looking. But isn't that precisely what makes him so cute?
(Courtesy of

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

She's Certifiable

A recent news show aired a clip of Glenn Beck praising Michele Bachmann on what a great job she is doing. This must have been in between his latest meltdown. I would not dream of watching his made up bullshit anymore than I would dream of listening to hers. Naturally, the clip was for a laugh. What else would it be?

But what isn't funny, is these people making up one lie after another and calling for a revolution - again based on lies. What is the deal with these people just simply making things up? I understand they don't agree with President Obama - yes you lost - but is making things up the right way to go (by the way, another word for that is flat out lying). The same people told anti-Bush people to still respect the office. Is there a reason they can't follow their own advice?

Michele Bachmann, however, goes from one thing to another. As I've said before - how did this woman get into office? It is appalling and ridiculous that she has a forum at all. Her latest is that President Obama is going to send us to re-education camps? Where does she pull this stuff from? And is she really speaking to people who are educated in the first place?

Worse, the glorious Star Tribune, Minnesota's answer to what a one time was a real newspaper, actually prints an op-ed piece from this woman. In it she repeats - again - yet another falsehood. She states that:
"Any way you look at it, it's low- and middle-income Americans who will pay dearly for this. According to an analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the average American household could expect its yearly energy bill to increase by $3,128 per year. Using an analysis by Peter Orszag, President Obama's budget director, that number would be closer to $4,000."
I won't even get into the fact that the last person that could ever grace the steps of a school like MIT would be Bachmann, but remember that the MIT professor actually wrote a letter asking that the false $3,000 number not be used anymore. The math is totally incorrect and it is a flat out lie to repeat it. The letter is quite clear.

I realize this is an op-ed and this is a free country, but please quit giving this woman time and space to spew her lies. She seems to just latch onto something and just stick with it even though it is proven wrong.

Members of my family went to MIT. This is an extremely reputable college full of people who's fingernails are smarter than Bachmann. Op-ed or not, Star Tribune, shouldn't there be some level of fact checking or integrity? Or at the very least go with the knowledge that this woman is 1) nuts, 2) delusional, 3) ignorant, 4) stupid, or 5) all of the above. My vote is for Number 5. Quit giving her the space just to fill it with her twisted fallacies.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Next Stop, Nobel Prize

For a bit of change, today's post is a personal one. Sometimes one just has to pay tribute to a very cool person.

I have quite an accomplished niece I am very proud of. At just 25, she is a pianist, violinist, and fluent in Spanish. She excelled in college at Tulane University in New Orleans, lived through Hurricane Katrina, and worked at a top biotech company researching cures for some of our most difficult diseases. She has already traveled extensively for her young age. She won the National Science Fellowship (NSF) to work toward her Master's and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and is working in a laboratory for neuroengineering isolating brain tumors. She could be conceited or have a flat personality, she does not. In fact she is one of the sweetest and most down to earth people you could ever meet. She remains humble, thoughtful, and caring.

Yesterday, in the middle of a hectic work day, I was informed she had won the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship. She will go to Switzerland this fall and study at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne for ten months. To say she is thrilled is an understatement.

So, here's to you, Jenny. There are a lot of very smart people in our family, but you take the cake, kiddo. You have worked hard on top of being brilliant; you have a heart of gold, and I KNOW you are going to do something great for your fellow human beings. That has always been important to you. I remember when you started a Girl Scout troop in the poorest area of New Orleans when you were only eighteen so those girls could have a chance. And I've seen you over the years do many other things to help out. I won't be surprised when one day you do something remarkable, like cure cancer, because everything you've done continues to be more and more remarkable. Your dedication and focus amazes me. Your compassion and caring for people impresses me.

And, for the record, nothing you ever achieve will surprise me. You will be able to pick and choose where you want to be - and that goal to perhaps be a professor someday at your beloved Columbia University in New York City - I suspect they will probably approach you. Remember this too:

"The Fulbright Program is one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide, operating in 144 countries and with 51 commissions. More Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes than those of any other academic program, including two in 2002."

So, keep pumping, but enjoy Switzerland, enjoy your research, enjoy the fact that you can and will make a difference in the world. It might just be that the next stop for you is the Nobel Prize. But, there is one thing I am quite sure of. You will most definitely continue to be one of the good ones - one that will make a real, positive impact on mankind.