Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Gingerbread

GC's Gingerbread

2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp ginger
¾ tsp salt
½ cup soft shortening (lard or butter)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 medium egg, unbeaten
1 cup molasses
1 cup hot water

Start heating your oven to 350F. Grease a 9x9x2 baking pan.

Sift together (or whisk together, in absence of a sifter) flour, soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In large bowl use electric mixer set at medium speed to mix shortening and sugar, and then with egg, until very light and fluffy. Reduce to low speed, and beat in molasses (this reduces inadvertent wall-painting).

At low speed beat in, just until smooth, alternate small portions of flour mixture and hot water – JUST UNTIL SMOOTH. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness.

Works well either served hot with whipped cream, or alternatively, with a good chocolate or mocha frosting. Accompany w/ a strong cup of black coffee for best effect.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A rare triumph of common sense...

Read here - the folks in Montana seem to get something right here...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Contempt of Cop - A Chargeable offense?

Joel Rosenberg was arrested on felony and misdemeanor charges by commissioned employees of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department (Minneapolis, MN - his city of residence) on December 8, 2010.

God punishes Minneapolis for arresting Joel Rosenberg?

Joel Rosenberg is a published author of some note in the science fiction/fantasy community
(Guardians of the Flame: 1. The Sleeping Dragon (1983), 2. The Sword and the Chain (1984), 3. The Silver Crown (1985), 4. The Heir Apparent (1987), 5. The Warrior Lives (1988), 6. The Road to Ehvenor (1991), 7. The Road Home (1995), 8. Not Exactly the Three Musketeers (1999), 9. Not Quite Scaramouche (2000), 10. Not Really the Prisoner of Zenda (2003), The Warriors (omnibus) (1985), The Guardians of the Flame (omnibus) (1987), The Heroes (omnibus) (1987), Legacy (omnibus) (2004), To Home and Ehvenor (omnibus) (2004); Metsada Mercenary Corps: 1. Ties of Blood and Silver (1984), 2. Emile and the Dutchman (1985), 3. Not for Glory (1988), 4. Hero (1990); D'Shai: D'Shai (1991), Hour of the Octopus (1994); Other: Family Matters (Mystery) (2004), Not for Glory (1989), Paladins (2004), Paladins II: Knight Moves (2008?), Home Front (Mystery) (2003?), King & Kin (Theology, Politics) (1986)

Rosenberg is, by many accounts, also a noted civil rights activist in Minnesota, specializing in firearms rights.

Rosenberg also is a firearms instructor and (from what I can learn at this point) the founder of Twin City Carry (offering courses, taught by Joel and others, on the practical and legal issues of carry in Minnesota), and author of "Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota".

In 2009, Rosenberg wrote a scathing analysis of a series of reports on corruption involving a task force gone awry in the Minnesota Law Enforcement community - asking a number of incredibly uncomfortable questions about that community, including publicly wondering to what degree this corruption infested Minnesota law enforcement generally. He then posted this report to one of his websites, http://www.gangstrikefarce.com/, for public viewing.

In 2010, his wife, one Felicia Herman, was arrested for Domestic Violence against their daughter. Charges were later dropped, and then supposedly re-instated subsequent to Joel's arrest. (best accounts seen thus far here and here, in the sixth paragraph - regrettably, the format is non-quotable). Some question has been raised about the validity of these charges.
Get this: the Minneapolis Police Department arrested Joel Rosenberg’s wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, on bogus charges. Hennepin County prosecutors dropped all charges once SWMBO’s attorney educated them (with difficulty) about the true facts. Where most Americans would lick their wounds, thank their lucky stars, and stop making Trouble at that point, Rosenberg filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records about the case with the Minneapolis Police Department. - Popehat.com

By all accounts thus far, Mr. Rosenbergs encounters with MPD have been less than jolly and fun for him since his 2009 posting. Oddly enough, he now appears to choose to document (where practical and legal) such encounters.

Such as this one, where he went to pick up (having made an appointment, notified and received permission from the Hennepin Co. Sheriff in accordance with MN law, etc) where...well, see for yourself...

Only a month later, after Rosenberg mocked Palmer, was he suddenly arrested and charged. The Sergeant in question is allegedly under investigation of this incident as an assault. (documentation would be appreciated - I have no reason to disbelieve this, merely a lack of documentation). The description of events and legal analysis can be found here, here, here, more colloquially here,

I have met and trust Oleg Volk, and he's come down on Rosenbergs side. That is, barring new data, enough for me.

To me, based on what I'm seeing at this remove thus far, this stinks of retaliation under color of law by a bunch of badge-happy sorts in deep need of retirement. It could be that I hold an unreasonably idealistic view - that those we entrust with some of our greatest responsibilities, enforcing the law...should actually know and obey the law.

Rosenberg (and quite possibly his wife), under this interpretation, is/are being both persecuted and prosecuted by officers of the long troubled Minneapolis Police Department
for "contempt of cop", "asking inconvenient questions", "failure to plead out", and the dreadful "making us look bad".

At this point, Rosenberg is out on bail as a result of a $10,000 loan to cover the tab with a bail bondsman. His CPL is revoked by judicial order, his business as a firearms trainer is significantly impacted by a similar judicial ban, and he has a sudden need of expensive attorneys to assist him in driving home to the City of Minneapolis that civil rights are for everyone, even authors and firearms instructors.

What can you do? Well....

There's now a fund to help out Rosenberg and his wife with their bevy of new and painful expenses. You can contribute to the Joel Rosenberg Benefit Fund at any Wells Fargo Bank. Buy one of his books (see first paragraph), or buy ALL of them. Take his classes. Do your own research (hopefully better than mine, quality counts! And if each blog post gets incrementally better...), and put up a blog post. Post to Social Media of Choice.

You can express your disappointment (politely) the MPD at:

Minneapolis Police Department
350 South 5th Street, Room 130
Minneapolis, MN 55415-1389
(612) 348-2345

Mayor R.T. Rybak
City Hall, Room 331
350 South Fifth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone: (612) 673-2100
Fax: (612) 673-2300

City Council
Kevin Reich
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 673-2201
(612) 673-3940
Cam Gordon
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 673-2202
(612) 296-0579
(612) 673-3940
Diane Hofstede
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 673-2203
Fax (612) 673-3940
Barbara Johnson
Council President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 673-2204
Fax (612) 673-3940
E-mail Contact Form
Don Samuels
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2205
Fax(612) 673-3940
Robert Lilligren
Council Vice President
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2206
Fax(612) 673-3940
Lisa Goodman
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2207
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail Lisa Goodman's Email Form
Elizabeth Glidden
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2208
Fax(612) 673-3940
Gary Schiff
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2209
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mailContact Form
Meg Tuthill
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2210
Fax(612) 673-3940
John Quincy
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2211
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail John.Quincy@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
Sandy Colvin Roy
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2212
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail: E-Form 
Betsy Hodges
350 S 5th Street
City Hall, Room 307
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Phone(612) 673-2213
Fax(612) 673-3940
E-mail Ward 13 Email Form

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old Recipes...

A family favorite from the Colton, SD Methodist Church UMW Cookbook (church cookbooks for the WIN), from the pen of the late Mildred Loomis. From the courier font typed mimeograph production, I'd guess this book with Mildred's contribution rolled out no later than the late 1960's or early 1970's - and I could easily believe greater age.

I'm a carnivore, not an omnivore, but am assured that for those that *like* fruit....that this is the yum...it's certainly been on our family holiday tables since back then...

Fruit Salad (Mildred Loomis, Colton, SD)

7 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
small jar maraschino cherries
No. 2 can chunk pineapple
1 tsp butter
1 tsp prepared mustard
2 banana's
1 doz large marshmallows

Drain the juice from the pineapple, combine with the sugar, flour, eggs, mustard, and butter. Cook until thick; Cool. Add pineapple, cut up marshmallow, sliced banana's, and maraschino cherries.

Serve to omnivores!

More Federal Mission Creep

Two sources, one subject today - seems the TSA isn't the only objectionable body trying to ever broaden its reach and exempt itself from constitutional limitations...Federal Communications Commission, STEP RIGHT ON DOWN...

As brought to us by the fine folks at the Columbia School of Journalism, it seems that FCC Chairman Michael Copps (text of speech) proposes a Public Value Test prior to renewing broadcast media licenses, which, given the petty and punitive nature of this and other administrations seems likely even with the best of intentions by those who would create such an abomination, seems likely to swiftly (at lightspeed, say) to generate into a club for use by the administration du jour to bully media into complying with their publicity whims...and substantially interfere with first amendment rights of the broadcasters.

Copps Public Values Test would include evaluations based on stations contributions to Meaningful Commitments to News and Public Affairs Programming, Enhanced Disclosure, Political Advertising Disclosure, Reflecting Diversity, Community Discovery, Local and Independent Programming, and Public Safety.

Can anyone see any overly broad definitions here that a collection of crack-addled myopic microencephalic couldn't drive a fleet of B-17's through?

To quote Alan, "If he really wants an infrastructure that will serve the people they can turn off all the broadcast stations, auction the spectrum and disband the FCC. The result will be a FAR better infrastructure than the 1920 style socialist system we... have now."

Day By Day really has it right here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Points of View...

Many have vilified Julian Assange, and Wikileaks. Jigsaw presents a series of arguments that both serve a positive social purpose and are distinguished from the NY Times and the Chicago Sun (who have breathlessly reported the Wikileaks material) primarily by the comparative youth of the "publication" and relative anonymity of the so-called publisher.

She draws from "The Australian" and while I'm certain it's not a popular view, I tend to agree with the presented view. To the extent criminality is present, I would suggest that guilt can be distributed between the actual leaker and the criminally negligent incompetents running the various security organizations intended to prevent such events and the even more doltish sorts actually committing many of these comments and events to reproducible media.

Perhaps its my cynicism, but anytime a coordinated smear campaign (surely, one can't consider the sudden emergence of what, by any rational standard, must be considered trumped up sex charges) and simulteanous economic warfare are unleashed upon a rather obvious scapegoat....one must begin to question the justness of those who would resort to such measures.

I'm not prepared to applaud Mr. Assange or Wikileaks - but I'm starting to consider that hurling a few allegorical boulders at their persecutors may not be entirely out of line.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mexico & the Border

Le Sigh.

Enough already. The Kleptocracy to the South and their entertaining collection of thugs and narcotics cartel barbarians have been shipping illicit substances (which I would suggest would be far less trouble if they were simply all legalized), illegal immigrants, and now violence north of the border as their nation melts down into another Somalia-like ungoverned swamp of random violence, tribalism, and criminal syndicates seething on our southern border.

The violence is kind of the kicker that pushes things over the line to where I'm willing to reluctantly consider the "something must be done" meme (a meme which, 95% of the time when uttered, means someone is trying to run a con job). And I dislike addressing a problem without offering a solution.

Not being up for a full-bore war to the south, I'd propose a mile-deep DMZ on US Territory (and yes, condemning that much land isn't going to be cheap) modeled on the Korean DMZ - complete with automated machine guns.

We get a huge nature preserve out of the deal, and a secure border. Mexico gets to continue its own path, whatever that is, but without the U.S. as a handy relief valve and source of easy criminal profits from the sale of illicit items on a violent black market. Mexico retains its sovereign status - a matter in some doubt if things continue down their present path.

I'd expect an initial body count...dropping off rather fiercely to levels below the current count of bodies in the SW deserts due to hypo and hyperthermia, dehydration, and ill treatment. I anticipate a reduction in violence on both sides of the border as drug mules become impractical to move product across the border. And I predict the launch of an immigrant laborer program not unlike that which existed in past eras - most likely with the opportunity to stay permanently after a period of good conduct.

Mexico is a land filled with wonderful people of much diversity and talent, a rich culture (more or less in spite of the various governing authorities there over the years), in a state of melt-down. I'm not thrilled about the need for some kind of solution, but securing the border forcefully seems the only way to halt the flow of violent insanity now engulfing Mexico from heading north short of staging a full-out invasion.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Contemplating Justice vs. Law

Fred Phelps and his Westboro cult are a bit special. So special that, in my opinion, that any little misfortune that befalls them is more likely than not to be of net benefit to society.

Should such misfortune be clearly and indisputably an Act of God (well aimed meteorites, spontaneous combustion, lightning bolts, the Earth opening up and swallowing the compound and all of its occupants whole, etc.).

Obviously, I am not encouraging anyone to engage in criminal acts. Rudeness, snubbing, refusing to do business with or speak to, and general hostility, however - are pretty clearly not criminal.

Summarizing, Phelps and his band of bigots hit the national headlines initially back in the 1990's, picketing the funerals of gay men passing from AIDS, loudly proclaiming that the deceased had not only been punished by God's Wrath (AIDS, according to Phelps), but that they would burn in hell forever - and according to Phelps, this was a good thing.

Not surprisingly, many of us in the LGBT community were (and are) just a tad offended by Phelps and his band...but regrettably, nothing truly appropriate has happened to him or his, having carefully selected a community to bully that is over-blessed with pacifists and liberals.

Later, apparently emboldened by the lack of retribution(divine or earthly, darn it), Phelps and his cult of vicious bigots broadened their focus to include picketing the funerals of fallen members of U.S. Armed Forces, claiming that they too would burn in hell - due to the failure of the United States to sufficiently persecute LGBT folks.

Fortunately, the number of pacifists and liberals per capita is a bit lower in middle America...and in the towns where an awful lot of service members come from. Recently Weston, MO successfully prevented the infliction of Phelps and his inherent vileness upon their city.

Similarly, in McAlester, OK the Phelps band van tires were slashed...and oddly enough nobody in town would agree to repair them. Refusing to do business with the Phelps seems like an eminently responsible act.

Now, we have the tale of a double-amputee vet who happened to drive around behind the Phelps while he had lawfully owned guns in his car. I'm not seeing a problem here - he didn't make any threats, he didn't wave any signs, he just followed them. And without injury to the Phelps or threat thereof, finds himself charged with conspiracy to commit felony battery, and sundry trivia.

I have a suggestion for the Kansas Governor - start pardoning. Start pardoning anyone who does anything that the Phelps find offensive or hurtful. No questions asked. If the Phelps are the "victim", instant pardon. But start with Ryan Newell, who never violated any sensible interpretation of the law.

If you agree, the Governor of Kansas can be reached at:

Governor Mark Parkinson
State of Kansas

Capitol, 300 SW 10th Ave., Ste. 241S
Topeka, KS 66612-1590

Voice - 877-KSWORKS (877-579-6757)
Local - 785-296-3232
For the Hearing Impaired - 800-766-3777

Email Governor Mark Parkinson

And Fred? If you or yours are reading this...here's hoping that, untouched by any human agency, that you and yours are point of impact for a largish flaming meteor.

Friday, December 3, 2010

More objectionable TSA follies

Well, in a demonstration of vindictiveness & pettiness, we again have the TSA as the starring villain, selecting out those who would dare to disagree for harassment.

Not surprisingly, all of this TSA fun has begun to inspire local governments, like Colorado Springs, to consider using private security on the theory it can't help but be better.

While I regard reports out of Prisonplanet.com with gentle skepticism, their editorial/report suggesting that CNN reporter Drew Griffin was placed on the terror watch list(s) as a punitive measure after doing a critical piece on the TSA...does have going for it that it's certainly in character for our current TSA.

This isn't a new problem - it was bad two years ago, a year ago, and only recently has it really come to a head as a result of the TSA choosing the wrong victim - one with a voice and attorneys - to harass.

The question becomes "when will we abolish the current TSA madness and bring criminal charges as appropriate?" with the followup, "when will common sense be brought to bear? "

Let's all stay stirred up on this one...

Spokane Sends Message to Seattle!

See HERE (darn them for not just giving us an image...)