"Time after time, observers have questioned whether this country, or that people, or this group, are 'ready' for democracy -- as if freedom were a prize you win for meeting our own Western standards of progress." -- George W. Bush Nov. 6, 2003 "The beginnings of reform and democracy in the Palestinian territories are now showing the power of freedom to break old patterns of violence and failure." -- George W.
The latest poll is not good for the Democrats. I am not talking here of the one showing George Bush's approval rating inching up nor the one showing immense if dangerously ignorant support for domestic spying. I'm talking about the recently released Harris Poll showing John Wayne one of the most popular movie stars of 2005. The one thing he and the Democratic Party have in common is that they are both dead. Wayne was the quintessential anti-Democrat. Never mind if he was a Republican, which he was.
Almost everyone agrees that crude oil is a finite resource that will some day run out. Lately I have learned that a number of independent oil geologists believe that oil production will soon peak, and then go into a slow decline, bringing shortages long before that final day. Increased drilling and exploration will help a little, but not much. The catch phrase for this is "peak oil." I've also read a number of articles describing how our modern life is heavily dependent on petroleum. When oil production goes into decline, so will our standard of living.
The Minnesota Timberwolves pulled the trigger Thursday night on a major trade sending forward Wally Szcerbiak to the Boston Celtics. The trade was a desperate effort to change the team's slumping performance by becoming more athletic and aggressively defensive. In addition to Szcerbiak, the Wolves' trade included center Michael Olowokandi, center Dwayne Jones and a future first-round draft choice.
I guess I owe myself one more reply to Todd Raap, who has seen fit to spread around his blend of propaganda about Wal-Mart. Todd, you remind me of a hopeless romantic who sees things in black and white and states issues that do not relate to the community or the way people are doing business. It's too late to complain about how the big businesses are putting the smaller ones out of business. No one can make much of a living working for a small business to begin with. Where have you been? Living in some remote cabin in the hills? I said it once and I will say it again.
I'm afraid -- not of terrorists, nor as President Bush calls them, brutal enemies, Saddamists, murderers, and the like. I'm afraid that we the people have abdicated our control of our government. External threats exist, but they pale in comparison to the real threat -- that of losing a form of government that has withstood abuses and even a civil war, but which is being irrevocably eroded. A common tactic of governments wanting to solidify their power has been to invoke fear by painting an enemy as more powerful than the reality.
Have you ever tried to find a parking space in downtown Willmar? It's a joke, isn't it? The city of Willmar had better pay attention if they want the downtown to prosper. I know of three or four buildings downtown that are vacant, or will become vacant soon. I say we bulldoze them and put in parking ramps. Why not? There are more businesses in downtown Willmar than there are at the Kandi Mall. The only reason the malls are full is because they have adequate parking.
The issues of taxes and fees will likely be one of the issues of the governor's race this year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty is proud of his effort to not raise any state taxes during his first term. In fact, it was a stand that played a major role in various issues before the Legislature as anything with the "T" word wouldn't clear the governor's office. The governor deserves credit for maintaining his "no-tax" position which he had taken. He was a politician of his word. However, in his quest for "no new taxes," Pawlenty was not completely honest with Minnesotans.
The charm of businessmen in general is not only that they lack irony, but because they took business courses in college, they lack basic knowledge. That explains why they unknowingly suggest Anatole France, who in 1894 wrote, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." In somewhat less literary language, Microsoft has just said the same thing. The speaker of this unintended echo of Anatole France was Brooke Richardson, a group product manager (whatever that is) for Microsoft.
WASHINGTON -- In 1786 the Annapolis Convention, requested by Virginia and attended by only four other states, called for a second gathering to revise the Articles of Confederation in order to strengthen the federal government. Some revision: The second meeting became the Constitutional Convention. It scrapped the Articles, partly because the Founders were alarmed by states legislating relief of debtors at the expense of creditors, often in ways not easily distinguished from theft. Something not easily distinguished from theft recently occurred in Annapolis.