Laurel: or gravestone rose, to the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Northfield, Minnesota. As many will remember too well, it was six years ago yesterday that he, his wife Sheila, and daughter Marcia died in a plane crash. I was living in Minneapolis at the time, and remember hearing the news while driving to errands on a crappy, cold Friday.
I was first amazed by Professor Wellstone when the short man gave a barn-burner speech like I had never heard before at a primary campaign rally for Sen. Bill Bradley in the 1990s. While in Minneapolis, I also saw him once having a ball with Marcia when we were all part of a group cheering on the runners of the Twin Cities Marathon.
Call me naive, and I concede that the timing was curious, but I have not bought into the conspiracy theories on Wellstone's death. The right would prefer his lasting legacy be the memorial service they say was inappropriately political. I would prefer that his legacy be his prescient warnings about the war with Iraq that the Bush White House wanted in the worst way.
Dart: To Charlie Sykes for hypocrisy. Look, I don't relish the work of pointing up talk radio hypocrisy. There's so much of it it's like shooting fish in a barrel. It's drudgery on the scale of Beetle Bailey peeling potatoes for KP duty. But it needs to be done, if for nothing else than to show I'm not as dumb as I look.
Last week Charlie chastised the media for dwelling on Sarah Palin's wardrobe budget, because there are more substantive issues don't you know? But I recall that about four years earlier on Charlie's show he devoted at least an hour on the multiple thousands of dollars that John Kerry spent on a bicycle.
Laurel: To Hu Jia, a human rights activist (sort of like a community organizer) now serving a three-and-a-half-year sentence for talking to reporters about China's repression of dissidents. Although not as prestigious, this Folkbum laurel goes along with the Sakhorov Prize for Freedom of Thought bestowed this week on Hu by the European Parliament. The Chinese government brazenly warns the organizations such as the European Parliament or the Nobel Committee to not mention or honor Hu, or else. Now Beijing's got the Folkbum folks to worry about too.