Michele Bachmann is at again, this time claiming liberals support beheadings while decrying waterboarding. Even with Bill O'Reilly calling torture "dunking" she manages to make him look borderline sane:
John Dean (of Watergate fame) has posted his view of the crazy senatorial race in Alaska, where the Tea Party favorite Joe Miller defeated the sitting Republican senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary. Miller's behavioral in this campaign and previously would make a great subject of their own, but fortunately he seems to be self-destructing now, leaving the question whether Murkowski can win a write-in campaign against the Democratic candidate, Scott McAdams. One of Dean's more telling comments:
It is my view that approximately twenty-five percent of the voting population is insane. I do not exaggerate when I say that, and I do not use this analogy to make any comparison with Miller, but this insane element of our population would, without hesitation, vote for Adolph Hitler. Miller will carry these nutcases without a problem. But he needs more than twenty-five percent.
What an unbelievable hack Clarence Thomas is. He dissented in a Supreme Court decision filed after a prisoner in North Carolina was brutally assaulted by a guard after he asked for a grievance form. The case found his treatment to be a violation of the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.
Thomas, along with Antonin Scalia, dissented because "Judges -- not jailers -- impose punishment." They chose to reach back to the 1689 English Bill of Rights to define the word "punishment." Under their view, the cruel and unusual punishment clause only limits the actions of judges - once you're in the penal system, the gloves are off, apparently.
This little tidbit was reported in a Los Angeles Timesarticle which reviews Thomas's ongoing fight to justify torture and brutality, backed by Scalia. And this blog entry builds on that to show his influence in the torture policies of the US government in recent years. Seems most of the lawyers who wrote the justifications for torture were once Thomas's clerks. Good read, both of those pieces.
"Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the
most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every
other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes;
and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing
the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary
power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out
offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of
seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the
people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the
inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a
state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered
by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual
–James Madison, Political Observations, Apr. 20, 1795
in: Letters and Other Writings of James Madison, vol. 4, p. 491
It's been monsoon season lately here in MInnesota (and even more so in Iowa). One storm after another, dumping large amounts of rain. Tuesday night was one of the heavier downpours locally. A friend and I went over to the Ordway to see The Gospel at Colonus, a retelling of Sophocles' play, Oedipus at Colonus, as a musical set in an African-American gospel church. Afterwards we walked out into a very brief break in the storm to drive home.
The drive turned into the start of a looooong misadventure. Rain so heavy visibility was down to about 20 feet, flooding the freeway in spots. Upon getting back to downtown Minneapolis streets were flooding all over the place. Cars were stranded or floating in intersections on Washington Ave. A real mess.
Once I got to my building I discovered the whole area was blocked out. I couldn't get into the garage. Or into the building at all at first. Garage door openers weren't working, of course. And the last update to our keyless entry system apparently broke its ability to use standby power. The key locks on the main entrances, used to bypass the electronic systems on both the front and back doors, don't work with residents' keys. I finally found the one exterior door that would accept my key and went in that way, through the garage.
But there were no lights because we have no emergency generator. I have a big MagLite flashlight in my car, but the batteries had died since I last used it. The emergency lights in the building only work off the batteries inside them and those only last about a half hour. So I had to feel my way to the interior doors, unlock them, find the stairs, and climb the stairs since the elevators obviously were not working.
Once I got inside my unit I went looking in the dark for the batteries for the flashlight. Couldn't find them even though I thought I knew where they were. So I pulled out some candles and a lighter that I have put in an accessible place for just such an emergency. But I couldn't light them. The lighter was out of fuel and I couldn't find matches in the dark.
Finally, Broadway saved me. I knew I had left on the counter a silly little LED light shaped like a cigarette lighter, given to the audience of Rock of Ages to hold up instead of lighters for the big finale. I felt around and found it. Used it to find the batteries. Used the flashlight to find the matches, and lit some candles. Whew. Saved by the power of the Broadway musical...
Oregon is one of my favorite places. Among the first things that come to mind when I think of the place are beer and wine - they make great examples of both there. And state fairs are all about showcasing the agricultural products and the crafts of a state, right? So the Oregon State Fair has long included both in the crafts of home brewing and home winemaking. The Homebrew Beer
Competition has been going on for 22 years.
The Amateur Wine
Competition is even longer-lived - 2010 would be the 31st year.
So it comes as a shock to find both have suddenly been canceled out of the blue. A brand new interpretation of existing state law by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the state's Justice Department determined that the competitions were illegal. Why? Because you're not supposed to serve your home-made alcohol to the public under the law, and some genius decided that the judges in the competition are the public. So they can't taste the beer or wine, because that would be serving them.
Due to overwhelming demand, we have halted beer shipments to our
distributors; South Dakota, Western Wisconsin, Chicagoland, Duluth
& the North Shore and Southern MN. We have also sharply curtailed
shipments to the NW Twin City Suburbs and Mid-MN. Our 4 new fermentors
are on-line and we will have additional beer soon. More fermentation
tanks are on the way. It seems that the increased Spring demand for
Surly has caught me slightly off guard. The waiting list of 3+ years
continues to grow as our increased production has been drank up by
increased same-store sales. Talking to some of our liquor store
customers, we find that they have increased sales of our beer anywhere
from 25%-70% in the last year. Keeping up with the insatiable demand of
the Twin Cities for craft beer has been a challenge. We hope that we
will soon be able to return to all the markets we have been in. In 2006,
our first year of production, we sold 1600 kegs of beer. Last week we
had over 2200 kegs of beer in production in the brewery. We can’t grow
any faster! See you drinking, Omar
There are worse problems for a young business to have!