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Friday, February 25, 2005

Who Is Ludwig Erhard?
Yesterday I commented on how much I enjoy hearing the little-known stories of history ... etc. (see Bratislava post below). Well, funny thing, here's another. And, coincidentally, it comes from another Impromptus by J-Nord. Jay is talking about a New York Sun editorial about Ahmed Chalabi. In the process we learn about Ludwig Erhard.
His reference was to the great West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard, who some would argue did more, by setting the stage for free-market policies in free Germany, than any other man of his time to ensure the triumph of his country in the great contest with communist-controlled East Germany. He did this when West Germany was flat on its back, its stores barren of goods, and its people falling into fights over single potatoes. In 1948, he withdrew the old fiat currency and issued a new hard currency called the deutsche mark. Overnight - meaning within hours - his nation's economy sprang to life. It set the stage for Erhard's accession as chancellor 15 years later and ultimately, given the importance of Germany in the heart of Europe, for the West's victory in the Cold War.
"Within hours"! I love it. Well, that's the story on Ludwig. But there's more to read - about Chalabi, and Condi. Go see it!

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

"The Bridges of Bratislava"
I love articles like this. I like hearing the little-known stories and background of places like Bratislava and Slovakia, especially when they tell of brave people fighting for and winning freedom. President Bush is meeting with 'Pootie-Poot' Putin today in that former Communist satellite and, in this intersecting of political philosophies, it's delightful to see liberty on the rise (in Slovakia and around the world) and whatever-Russia-is-trying-to-do-now on the wane.

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Jay Nordlinger Impromptu-ed today on NRO. Here's the best item:
A reader says, 'Remember the old sentence that ends in not one but five prepositions? A kid sends Mommy downstairs for a bedtime reading book. She gets the wrong one, so the kid says, 'What did you bring that book I don't want to be read to out of up for?''
Ha! I love it.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Message to Belgium
This post on Powerline is powerful. The Big Trunk recounts the current attitudes of Belgians toward America. He then refers to Stephen Ambrose's great book, Band Of Brothers. Ambrose quotes a US Army veteran's 1991 letter to the mayor of Eindhoven, Holland, a town the veteran helped liberate. You'll want to read the whole letter (it's not very long), but here's how it ends:
Please don't allow your country to be swallowed up by Liechtenstein or the Vatican as I don't plan to return. As of now, you are on your own.
Old Europe has a short memory when it comes to the morality of war and the cost of 'peace.' I wonder what it will take to remind them.

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The New Evangelicals
Very interesting article from Opinion Journal on the changing face of evangelicalism in the US.

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Man Charged in Alleged Plot to Kill Bush
I wasn't going to read this story when I saw it on the Drudge Report but I decided to look into it a bit more. The gist: "Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, 23, a U.S. citizen, made an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court but did not enter a plea." Three things stuck in my craw (I think that's the first time I've ever written that phrase):
  1. He was detained in Saudi Arabia and claims to have been tortured. ... And? ... 'Uh, your honor, I was tortured and, as such, under US Statute 7564.34B, I get a free shot at the President. Can I go now?'
  2. But then U.S. Magistrate Liam O'Grady comes back with this: "I can assure you you will not suffer any torture or humiliation while in the (U.S.) marshals' custody." What is that? I'm not sure what point O'Grady was trying to make here but in my court we don't make pseudo-apologies to accused assassins.
  3. And this sentence reminds me what we're up against, "More than 100 supporters of Abu Ali crowded the courtroom and laughed when the charge was read aloud alleging that he conspired to assassinate Bush."
These people - and I'm not sure how to define "these people" - are sure they are right, are unconcerned about anyone who doesn't agree with them, and are willing to do anything to further their cause. They must be fought and defeated.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005

Flip Gone
Well, Nick, you've been calling for his head for a couple weeks now and he finally lost it. Kevin McHale has fired his longtime friend and college teammate, Flip Saunders, and taken over the coaching duties himself. I don't know if you were talking to Wolves general manager Jim Stack, but it sure sounds like you:
"Flip's been here a long time and in the history of pro sports, sometimes when you're here for that long, your voice starts to fall on deaf ears," Stack said. "I'm not sure if that's what happened here. It's an issue of underachieving."
That's gotta be a tough move for McHale, but it had to be done. I have my doubts about whether it will help much - a trade or two would have been better - but things couldn't continue the way they were.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

Karl Malone
ESPN is reporting that The Mailman will retire from basketball on Sunday. He's been injured and a free agent so far this season. The ESPN report said the Spurs were trying to sign Malone for their title run but couldn't work out a deal. As Nick and I were discussing earlier this week, why would a team with the best record in the NBA screw up a good thing by adding an aging former star? San Antonio is such a great organization, my belief is that Malone asked, begged, pleaded and they said, "thanks, but no thanks."

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Minnesota Politics
Hugh Hewitt offers a run down of the possible contenders in the 2006 Minnesota Senate race. For the Dems, Alan Page jumps to the top of the list (if he decides to run). Atty. Gen. Mike Hatch is also viable, and Amy Klobuchar (a high school classmate of mine) is a long shot. For the GOP, Rep. Mark Kennedy announced his candidacy today and seems to be the front-runner. Former Sen. Rod Grams also says he's running.

Yesterday, the Powerline boys had story about Tim Pawlenty's rising star among Republicans nationally. In a wide open field for the nomination for president in 2008, our Governor has people looking his way.

It looks like Minnesota will continue to attract national attention in politics for a few more years.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Dayton Will Not Run
Heard on local (Twin Cities) radio today: Sen. Mark Dayton will not run for re-election as senior Senator from the great State of Minnesota. Hugh Hewitt dubbed him Brave Sir Robin (from Monty Python And The Holy Grail) when Dayton closed his DC office due to terrorism fears. It seems even more appropriate today.
Brave Sir Robin ran away, bravely ran away away. When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.
Star Tribune reports.

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Monday, February 07, 2005

The Goldbergs Are Homeschoolers
See the following post from The Corner today:
JUAN COLE [Jonah Goldberg]

The good doctor's Cole-ectomy is here.

By the way, when I alerted my wife to this whole brouhaha, she checked out Cole's site. She hadn't heard of him before--and, if it makes a difference, Dr. Cole, she has a masters in foreign relations from SAIS and speaks Russian. She couldn't believe that a professor from a distinguished university would have such a rabidly partisan, unprofessional, and un-scholarly website. After five minutes she declared, "That's it," our daughter "is going to be home-universitied."

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Super Bowl
I watched most of the Super Bowl yesterday and I just want to make a couple comments.

1) The pre-game ceremony was excellent - the service men, the WWII vets, the jets, and even the former Presidents. And the national anthem was fantastic. That is the way it should be performed!

2) Not to be too hard on a little kid but didn't anyone teach him how to flip a coin? For it to be a "coin flip", the coin has to actually flip. He must have been an Eagles fan.

I must admit, we (the family) ended up watching Extreme Makeover Home Edition during the second half. We were all getting bored with the football game.

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Sunday, February 06, 2005

Great Moments in Higher Education?!
It's sad that odd, out of touch people reside in our fair state, especially at institutions of higher learning in the MIAC, but it is true. As Opinion Journal's Best of the Web on Friday, Feb. 4 pointed out, our own Augsburg College is hosting a Nobel Peace Prize Forum in which Amy Nell, from Concordia/Moorhead, will be helping people to understand and empathize with Osama Bin Laden and his recipe for a healthy nation! Amy is extremely experienced (Ha!) in understanding international terrorism as a photographer for the school newspaper! What is the problem at these schools.

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Friday, February 04, 2005

Impromptus from Davos
Every year Jay Nordlinger attends the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. And every year he comments in multiple Impromptus. Here's the first of six installments. Always great stuff.

In part six he mentions the Eason Jordan controversy. Jordan, chief news executive of CNN, is alleged to have accused the US military of targeting journalists. That's CNN for you. Hugh Hewitt has been all over it for days.

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"Normal Service Resumed "
When I saw the above title for Peggy Noonan's latest, I wondered if she was talking about herself or the President. It looks like it's both. Peggy's back, giving the President high marks for presentation and content - not scaring us like she did with her inaugural review. She doesn't use words like "startling", "bad feeling", "over the top" to talk about the SOTU. She's back. And, in her view, the President is back, "This was the plainspoken Bush of old." Her last paragraph had a little for the Dems, too:
As for the Democratic response, Harry Reid looks and talks like a small-town undertaker whom you want to trust but wonder about, especially when he says the deceased would love the brass handles. Although Nancy Pelosi continues to look startled, even alarmed, her comments are predictable and pedestrian. Both seemed eager not to agree with Ted Kennedy's recent "Iraq is Vietnam" statements, which more and more seem not just stupid but scandalously so. Absent endorsing radical defeatism, however, Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi had little to say. They made Important Sounds. Neither seemed sincere or serious. The president seemed both.
You can breathe easily now, all is in order.

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SOTU TV Ratings Loss?
Why did Drudge report, "the U.S broadcast TV audience would rather watch freaks sing out of tune than President Bush and Democrats wax politics?" Does he see himself as a member of the MSM - having to slant the facts to make a point that isn't there? The fact is, as Drudge goes on to say in his report(!), the first hour (the actual speech) of the 2 hours of coverage bested American Idol, 22.4 rating/31 share vs. 17.9 rating/26 share. When the second hour of coverage is added to the first hour, the ratings fall below Idol, 17.6 rating/26 share vs. 17.9 rating/26 share. What does that tell you? The American public doesn't really care what the pundits think or what the Democrats have to say in response to the President. That's great news! Drudge makes the same point himself, "But when Bush left the stage, and the Democrats and media analysis took over, the numbers faded."

But that's not enough. Once Drudge has told us about the first hour ratings he tries to minimize the higher number by pointing out that "it took all 4 major broadcast networks to do it." Well, duh! There's no discernible difference between the networks while the President is delivering the speech. Those audiences should be combined. As a matter of fact the first hour SOTU numbers are artificially low, because "numbers do not include cable news coverage of the Washington event." I watched on MSNBC. I'm sure many people watched on Fox News Channel, CNN, C-SPAN, etc. So the numbers are artifically low - for both hours!

You'll have to forgive me for going on and on about this but it's irksome, especially when the story gets repeated on the radio and late night TV.

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Top Movie Quotes
My favorites on the list below are:
  • If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you. - Groucho Marx
  • You've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk? - Clint Eastwood
  • Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. - Robin Williams
  • Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room! - Peter Sellers
  • Mein Fuhrer! I can walk! - Peter Sellers
  • Bond. James Bond. - Sean Connery
Those are undeniably classics. On the other hand, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner."? Nope. And, "Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!" - I'm sorry but, what language is that and what does it mean? And have you heard of it before? Not me. It's out.

By the way, that Double Indemnity dialogue is just strange - so strange, that it makes you laugh. It's especially "funny" considering that one of the two was Robbie, Chip, and Ernie's dad on My Three Sons.

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Movie Quotes (86-109)
We're continuing with our review of AFI's list of top movie quotes. They've posted a list of 400 from which will be chosen the Top 100. That list be announced in June. They haven't asked, but we're giving them a little help in finalizing their list. In the next week or so we're looking at quotes from movies beginning with the letter "D".
  • Oh, hold me closer! Closer! Closer! - Esther Muir
    If I hold you any closer, I'll be in back of you. - Groucho Marx (A DAY AT THE RACES)
  • Gort! Klaatu barada nikto! - Patricia Neal (THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL)
  • That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I keep getting older, they stay the same age. - Matthew McConaughey (DAZED AND CONFUSED)
  • Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary. - Robin Williams (DEAD POETS SOCIETY)
  • This is this. - Robert De Niro (THE DEER HUNTER)
  • I bet you can squeal like a pig. - Bill McKinney (DELIVERANCE)
  • Stop makin' noises like a husband. - Ann Savage (DETOUR)
  • In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. - Millie Perkins (voice) (THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK)
  • Yippie-ki-yay, mother****er! - Bruce Willis (DIE HARD)
  • I was reading a book the other day. - Jean Harlow
    Reading a book? - Marie Dressler
    Yes. It's all about civilization or something, a nutty kind of a book. Do you know that the guy said that machinery is going to take the place of every profession? - Jean Harlow
    Oh, my dear, that's something you need never worry about. - Marie Dressler (DINNER AT EIGHT)
  • Nobody puts Baby in a corner. - Patrick Swayze (DIRTY DANCING)
  • You've got to ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, punk? - Clint Eastwood (DIRTY HARRY)
  • Always do the right thing. - Ossie Davis
    That's it? - Spike Lee
    That's it. - Ossie Davis
    I got it, I'm gone. - Spike Lee (DO THE RIGHT THING)
  • Attica! Attica! - Al Pacino (DOG DAY AFTERNOON)
  • Forget about it. - Johnny Depp (DONNIE BRASCO)
  • There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. 45 miles an hour. - Barbara Stanwyck
    How fast was I going, officer? - Fred MacMurray
    I'd say around 90. - Barbara Stanwyck
    Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket. - Fred MacMurray
    Suppose I let you off with a warning this time. - Barbara Stanwyck
    Suppose it doesn't take. - Fred MacMurray
    Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles. - Barbara Stanwyck
    Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder. - Fred MacMurray
    Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder. - Barbara Stanwyck
    That tears it... - Fred MacMurray (DOUBLE INDEMNITY)
  • Bond. James Bond. - Sean Connery (DR. NO)
  • Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room! - Peter Sellers (DR. STRANGELOVE)
  • Mein Fuhrer! I can walk! - Peter Sellers (DR. STRANGELOVE)
  • Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make. - Bela Lugosi (DRACULA)
  • Hoke, you're my best friend. - Jessica Tandy (DRIVING MISS DAISY)
  • Remember, you're fighting for this woman's honor, which is probably more than she ever did. Groucho Marx (DUCK SOUP)
  • I could dance with you 'til the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows 'til you came home. - Groucho Marx (DUCK SOUP)
  • I suggest that we give him ten years in Levenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth. - Groucho Marx
    I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll take five and ten in Woolworth. - Chico Marx (DUCK SOUP)

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