Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sh***y on Capitol Hill Tuesday & other notes

Carl Levin: Sit-Down Comic?
If you follow politics at any level, you’ll love to watch United States Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) as he questions Daniel Sparks, a former Goldman Sachs Mortgages Department head, at yesterday’s hearings on the shady efforts by Goldman Sachs, creating securities expected to fail and then insuring the losses to create windfall profits for Goldman Sachs. At the hearings, Levin was quoting from an internal GS email which contains the S-word (starts with S, ends with Y, takes a HITT in the middle). Take a few minutes and watch. It’s funnier than it is offensive.

The video, which was posted on You Tube, has been removed, or at least I couldn’t get to it this morning, but I found it on a different website. Click here: The video is four minutes and 35 seconds of standup comedy. While not a fan of Senator Levin, this gives him an edge of being added to my favorites.

Dead Coleman Grill For Sale
Now that I’ve search far and wide for a grease tray for my Coleman 5300 and come up empty, I have a Coleman 5300 for sale. Needs a grease pan, new burner tents and possibly new grates (up to the buyer, but not necessary). Two empty gas tanks also part of the package.

In my search for the grease tray, I talked with two retailers who carried (past tense) Coleman grills until recently. One said, “Coleman should have never gotten into this business. Camping equipment and stoves in the wilderness, for sure, but not home grills.” The other told me, “Coleman’s idea of offering grills for home has always been to bring out a new model and limit replacement parts to about a two-year period, forcing you to buy a new grill when the parts are discontinued.”

Maybe I should have talked to those two six years ago. But, who knew? Maybe them. One was an employee of Lowe’s, the giant home improvement store. I bought my Coleman 5300 from Lowe’s in 2004 and was told then I was buying the best in the business. Of course, that’s when Lowe’s carried a wide range of Coleman gas grills. Now that’s truth in advertising.

New Lawnmower In My Immediate Plans
I’m also in the market for a new lawn mower which should be sitting in my garage in the next two days, counting today. My Honda HR215SX, purchased in the early 1990s, has been sidelined with a broken axle. While the axle is not too expensive, replacing it is tedious and labor intensive. Imagine repairing a lawn mower as being labor intensive. The HR215SX rear axle is connected to the transmission/drive mechanism.

So I have a choice: buy a $99 axle and spend at least $200 in labor to remove the old axle and transmission, open the transmission, connect the axle and attach it to the frame; or, buy an axle and transmission as one piece for just less than $280 and pay not much more to replace it. On the other hand, buying a new Honda, consistently rated by Consumer Reports and other such services as the best lawn mower, will be quicker, though it will cost double for the similar model to the HR215SX.

The repair will take at least two to three weeks, considering the time to get the part and to get in line at the repair shop, and the “you need to cut the lawn” Nazi wouldn’t put up with un-cut grass that long. Path of least resistance is best here. So, if you’re interested in a Honda HR215SX lawnmower with a broken rear axle…

Don’t Blame “Overzealous Civil Servants”
Yesterday, when I said NC State football coach Tom O’Brien should take strong, swift action as a result of four players being charged with misdemeanors related to drugs, I was not just suggesting he only penalized those four and then drop it. Maybe it’s currently part of his operation, but he also needs to have a strong heart-to-heart discussion with all of his players and tell them he will not tolerate that kind of activity whatsoever.

O’Brien comes across as a no-nonsense type of person which is good for NC State football if is applies to off the field activities for his players and a strong conditioning program to make sure his players are in top shape to play. I expect his action will send a strong message.

One anonymous comment following that posting blames the charges on the State players as well as the charges on the Duke lacrosse players on “overzealous civil servants.” Hah! In the Duke case, that party was strongly discouraged by the Duke lacrosse coach. He was trying to keep his players from getting into trouble by staying out of a potentially bad situation.

Yes, a DA got rather careless in his efforts, but if there had been no charges brought, the perception of wrong-doing would have remained. Just ask Ruth Sheehan of The News & Observer who was quick to convict the day after and remained convinced of wrong-doing by those players until the charges were dropped. Without a day in court, she probably would continue to write about it.

As far as the Wolfpack football players, they are charged with breaking the law. It is to be determined if they did, but the security guard on duty was doing his job. So don’t blame him or the police who showed up later.

Did Woodward Delete Evidence?
Speaking of breaking the law, there are indications that former temporary NC State Chancellor James Woodward deleted emails from his email mailbox as he was exiting his position in the waning days of March which, if not, should be unlawful.

Speaking of beating a dead horse, I made a request for specific emails and got a letter from the NCSU Office of Legal Affairs telling me that originating emails from certain individuals do not exist in that mailbox. So, it’ll take a search of back-up tapes by the Office of Information Technology to attempt to locate and retrieve the emails. Did Woodward pull a “Rose Mary Woods” and delete the evidence?

For those who thought and think Woodward was good for the University, the deletion of emails by Woodward, if true, is probabaly a better reflection of his integrity. Also, on his way out the door, he issued a decree changing the method for requesting emails, other correspondence and information through a Public Records Request. His order, which was perfectly legal, makes it tougher to request and obtain the records. Typical administrator who only cares about the way he does it and not who he runs over. More on email-gate when Legal Affairs offers more answers.


  1. Don't buy a Coleman lawn mower.

  2. Jim, you can probably get some kind of bailout on that grill. After all it was not your fault that the grill broke and you were cleary mislead by those greedy sales people at Lowes. They probably engaged in a massive conspiracy with Coleman to mislead consumers and trick them into buying low quality grills.

    Perhaps you could contact Senator Levin about getting a Senate investigation and hearing on those Coleman grills.

  3. You must be kidding. Charges must be brought because the perception of wrong-doing would have remained. Then Mike Easley must be charged no matter if there is evidence or not because the perception of wrong-doing is going to remain. Bascially what you are saying is that everyone should be charged no matter what the evidence is so they can prove their innocence otherwise the N&O is going to write about you. What a warped sense of judgement you have. Please decline to be on any grand jury because you will always vote to charge no matter what is presented as evidence because the perception of wrong-doing has to be removed. How about the DA just saying there is no evidence and dropping the charges. No cannot do that because someone said you are guilty of something so you have to prove your innocence in a court of law. And you must clear that bad perception.


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