[star]The American Mind[star]

June 30, 2003

California Recall

William O'Rourke didn't see the grass-roots movement in California to recall Gov. Gray Davis. He should talk to Greg Ransom who has pages of links on the whole effort.

"Riches Fueling Recall of California Governor" [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

Katharine Hepburn Dead

Godspeed, Katharine

"Hollywood Legend Katharine Hepburn Dies"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:42 AM | Comments (1)

Supporting Bo Black

Charlie Sykes honors the years of service of Summerfest's head honcho, Bo Black. He, like myself, wonder why the festival's governing board wants her gone.

In the beginning, it was possible to dismiss Bo as Milwaukee’s version of Blonde Ambition, an attractive former Playboy cover model who had vamped her way into the job. There was gossip, sniping, and annual tut-tutting about her salary. But for 20 consecutive years, Black ran a Summerfest that got hotter and better.

Remarkably, there are still those who think that Summerfest’s success and Black’s tenure is merely a coincidence.

Because some of those folks sit on the Summerfest Board, this is almost certainly Black’s last year.
What’s weird about all this is that no one seems to know why Bo is being axed or who is behind it. The board has never provided a rationale of any sort, although there have been complaints about Bo’s outspokenness about the lease deal with the city and her own contract.

As for her enemies, Mayor Norquist is the lamest of lame ducks and former board chairman Frank Busalacchi, who is now Governor Doyle’s Transportation Secretary, is also gone.

So this is what we are left with: one of Milwaukee’s most winning executives – who runs our most spectacularly successful institution -- is about to be ousted by anonymous critics who would never be able to accomplish even a fraction of what Bo Black has done for this city.

"Bo's Last Go?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 03:02 AM | Comments (3)

Chief Justice Thomas?

Kevin Whited sees recent Supreme Court opinions as justices jockeying to become the next chief justice. He then suggests President Bush pick Clarence Thomas.

"Why Not Thomas?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:00 AM | Comments (0)

World Currency

Here's Greg Ransom's mathematics of a world currency:

Central Banking + World Government = idiocy squared, then cubed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

Battlestar Galactica Returns

Set your TiVo for December 7. That's when Battlestar Galactica returns to television. Cylon fighters and Colonial Vipers will be blasting away at each. Hopefully we'll see more than the 5-10 scenes they used in every episode of the original series.

One problem I'm having is I'm lusting for the new, female Starbuck. Dirk Benedict, this woman ain't.

[via Ghost of a flea]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

June 29, 2003

Summerfest Day 5 Preview

Through four days attendance is less than 10% down from last year. That's not bad considering the bad weather Friday and Saturday. Fewer people also gives those that did come some much-needed breathing room. 90-100 thousand people crammed into Maier Festival Park can make for a less-than-great fest experience. Now, on to the preview for Monday.

At the Marcus Amphetheater, the Foo Fighters will play power pop from their latest One by One. Their current single "Times Like These" has a reference to Husker Du's New Day Rising. That's very cool! Opening for them will be the very, very good Pete Yorn who didn't suffer a sophomore jinx with his new album Day I Forgot.

The American Fleadh Festival takes part in the world's largest outdoor music festival. This is a traveling group of Irish musicians, dancers, and writers. Irish pub songs, dancing better than Riverdance, and prose and verse give the fest a real international flavor. Bands like Hothouse Flowers and the Saw Doctors will be performing at the Piggly Wiggly MusicMarket. Jim Schwab reviewed the Fleadh for Blogcritics.

The Love Monkeys are one of Milwaukee's favorite bands. They will be performing two sets at the Miller Lite Oasis at 8:45 and 10:45.

For oldies fans, Joe Cocker is at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse and the Moody Blues are at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard. Both perform at 10:00.

Everyone will PARTY HARD with Andrew W.K. at the Mountain Dew Rock Stage at 10:00. I just hope he doesn't get all bloody like he did on the cover of his album.

If any of you are going to Summerfest or have already been there this year, I want to hear from you. Does the park feel as crowded as it has in the past few years? What do you think about the line-ups? Miss the midway? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 11:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2003

Summerfest Day 4

Here is a preview of Summerfest's fourth day:

One of the hottest summer tours comes to the festival. Fleetwood Mac is on tour supportin their new album, Say You Will. Stevie Nicks is still quite sexy, and Mick Fleetwood is still a freak. They'll be at the Marcus Amphitheater at 7:30.

Dark Star Orchestra is not your ordinary Grateful Dead tribute band. They don't just cover their songs, they cover entire concerts. As they put it:

When you're at a DSO show you may really be in the Providence Civic Center back in May of '81. Or you could even be at the 1973 Denver Coliseum show listening to Weather Report Suite. Who knows?

They start at 7:30.

At 10:00, Blues Traveler dishes out the harmonica-laden jams at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard. Their latest is a live album called Live: What You and I Have Been Through.

Powerman 5000 entertain on the Mountain Dew Rock stage. Their latest is Transform. Band leader Spider One talks about how they tossed a newly-recorded album just weeks before it was to be released. Their show is at 10:00.

Cheap Trick has been around forever and are long-time Summerfest veterans. They play at the North Shore Bank Landing at 10:00. Their new album, Special One, comes out July 22.

Eve 6 plays the Miller Lite Oasis at 10:00. The latest news with them is lead singer/bass player Max Collins was arrested for public nudity. They also have a new album coming out July 22.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 10:22 PM | Comments (4)

Coping with Loss

It hasn't been 48 hours since I found out my cousin died, but it feels like its been days. At least in my house things are "normal." Mom, Dad, sis, and myself are all going about our business. Still, the event hangs like a fog over us all. We all know it's there so we have to manage as best we can. Distance helps. My family lives 45 minutes away from my aunt and uncle so we're not constantly bombarded with reality's cruel volley.

Monday becomes a day of sadness and rememberance. Visitation will be at Michelle's high school. Lots of her classmates are taking it hard. That afternoon the funeral will be at a local church. Since I grew up in the same town as Michelle, I know how a small community can gather together for support. I also know I'll be seeing people I haven't seen in a while. If only it could be under better circumstances.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I'm holding up fine so I don't need them. It's my aunt, uncle, and cousin, Michelle's 8-year-old brother, who need the support. In addition, think about those three who survived the crash. They're all wondering why they lived while one died.

No matter how much (or little) you've read of TAM you know I don't use this weblog as a personal diary. Online emoting doesn't happen here. Plenty of opinion based on strong-felt principles is what you find. I find public emoting to be almost pornographic. Many things about a person do not have to be displayed to the rest of the world. It's kind of like my few of music file sharing: just because it's easy to do doesn't mean you should do it.

What I'm trying to get at is you won't be reading some post where I lament Michelle's loss by bringing up a host of memories and feelings. TAM will not turn into a memoir-blog (New term? Quick, start a meme!). If I discover some bit of universal truth from these days of tears, I'll pass them on to you.

"Authorities Identify Teen Killed in Vehicle Crash"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:09 PM | Comments (2)

Summerfest Day 2 Reviews

Here a some reviews from Day 2:

If you can do better (which isn't that hard), put your review in the comments or send me an e-mail.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

Hooters Air

Want to go to Myrtle Beach? You can get there on Hooters Air. I heard the food on the flight is great, and there are great things to see.

"Leave It to Cleavage"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)

Stoopid Texans

What disturbed me about the Supreme Court ruling tossing out Texas' sodomy law is that it ignored that state's ability to self-govern. I see the issue a little differently than the civil rights battle of the 60s because those battles dealt with post-Civil War constitutional amendments. In the case of homosexuality, there is no mention of it in the constitution and the court had to use a right to privacy that's only implied in the document.

ScrappleFace offers a good laugh while taking the Lawrence and Garner v. Texas ruling to a logical conclusion.

"Supreme Court: Texans Too Stupid To Rule State" [via PrestoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

TAM Publically Traded

I wasn't sure what to do with my RSS feed. What I must have done was sign up with Syndic8 because now TAM is listed on Blogshares. People even own shares. Does that mean TAM's now beholden to his shareholders? Is there some Zen thing that goes like this: if you have an IPO, and you don't know about it, do you really have a P/E ratio?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:46 AM | Comments (0)

Summerfest Day 3

So far, Summerfest's attendence is about 15% below last year. That's not a bad thing because being situated on a mile-long strip of lakeshore, there's only so many people that can pack into the place. One reason for the drop off may be re-focusing of musicians and events away from a younger crowd. But another is the competing Country USA festival in Oshkosh one-hour north. If it rains tomorrow, that would hold pack even more people from going to the lakefront. So, if you don't like being surrounded by 90,000 of your friends and you're willing to get wet, tomorrow just might be the day for you to go.

Now, on to the Day 3 highlights.

Headlining the Marcus Amphitheater is Tom Petty. Opening for him his rock/blues pioneer Bo Diddley. They start at 7:30. Ryan Irelan reviewed Petty's The Last DJ, his musical shot at Big Music.

Canadian punk/metal goofy guys, Sum 41 are at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse.

Dated alt-rockers Everclear perform at the Miller Lite Oasis. Bill Sherman reviewed Slow Motion Daydream.

Sevendust brings their nu-metal churning to the Mountain Dew Rock Stage.

For country fans, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band goes fishin' in the dark at the North Shore Bank Landing.

Finally, Little Richard flails away at his piano giving fans a good-old rock and roll show at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard.

The last five all start at 10:00 p.m.

OnMilwaukee has posted a review of Peter Gabriel's Thursday night concert.

"Gabriel Kicks off Big Gig on an "Up" Note"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2003

Muppets Know Terrorism

Listen to Cam Edwards' latest Diatribe. It's that button on the right side of his weblog. It's funny, funny, funny, and after today's events, I needed that.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

Bad News

I've been awake for almost 20 hours straight. It's not that I have a bad case of insomnia or I'm just trying to see how long I can stay up until I start hallucinating. It's that at 4 am I found out my cousin was in a car accident. She's in a better place now, and her organs will extend life to others. I might post more on this later, but lack of sleep and a heavy heart keep me from saying any more.

The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Eccl. 12:7

"Hilbert Girl Killed in One-Vehicle Crash"

UPDATE: Everyone, thanks for the kind words. I did get a little sleep, but I feel just like my aunt. I want to wake up from this bad dream.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:01 PM | Comments (8)

Summerfest Day 1 Reviews

Here are some concert reviews of Day 1:

Also, here's video of last night's Big Bang.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 03:07 AM | Comments (3)

Summerfest Day 2

I heard from a radio news report that the first day's attendence was down about 25% from last year. That surprised me since a lot of people from my store went to see Peter Gabriel.

Tonight's line-up includes Jack Johnson and Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals at the Marcus Amphitheater.

After listening to some clips, Jack Johnson comes off as a soft, acoustic bluesman. I wonder how that will carry in the 20,000+ amphitheater. Johnson't co-headliner, Ben Harper should have no trouble communicating with a large audience. He is all over the map infusing rock, funk, blues, and reggae into his music.

An interesting tidbit is Johnson and Harper performed together on Last Call to be aired tonight. I wouldn't be surprised to see them together at Summerfest.

Folk rock continues with Willy Porter on the Piggly Wiggly Stage. Willy's a local guy who can just fly his fingers all over a guitar. That's who I'll be seeing tonight.

Steve Winwood's career spanned a generation. He was a teenager with the Spencer Davis Group (how can you not love "Gimme Some Lovin'") in the 60s and had a successful solo career in the mid-80s ("Higher Love" and "Finer Things"). He has an album out, and he'll performing at the new North Shore Bank Landing.

LL Cool J will knock you out at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard.

Blues great, Buddy Guy is at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, and Default play the Miller Lite Oasis.

All the acts mentioned, except for Jack Johnson and Ben Harper, start at 10:00. Johnson and Harper start at 7:30. So if they end early enough you can still catch someone else. Being able to wander around and listen to a whole bunch of music makes Summerfest really special.

"Making Waves with Quiet Songs"

"New Winwood Release Echoes Traffic's Jams"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 02:50 AM | Comments (1)

Strom's Dead

Sen. Strom Thurmond died. To say he lived a long life is an understatement. He was governor of South Carolina, ran for President on the Dixiecrat segregationist ticket, and became the longest serving Senator in U.S. history. (His last two terms were probably two longer than he should have been in office.) I have no interesting Strom stories, but Blaster has this one:

South Carolina Boy's State, 1983. If you don't know what Boy's State is, well, it's hard to explain. It is sponsored by the American Legion, and their website tells the story. At any rate, Boy's State teaches you about government, and various officials from the state come and speak to the boys in attendance. It was a hot summer day in Charleston. And we were all packed in to hear the Senator - I think we had 400 attendees. At any rate, Strom got up to talk to us, and when I tell this story, I can do a great imitation, so you'll just have to imagine it. He said, and I try to quote from 20 years ago as best I can, "Many people ask me, they say Strom, how come you live so long? Well, I get in up in the morning and I do my little exercises. I lay down on the floor and kick my feet up in the air. And I don't smoke. Now people say to me, Strom, you come from a tobacco stay-et [that's how he said it, two syllables], how can you be against smoking? Well, I say Americans shouldn't smoke, but we should sell all our tobacco to all those third world countries out there."

Godspeed, Strom.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2003

Big Gig's Prestige Isolated to Milwaukee

While Summerfest is Milwaukee's big party, outside the area it doesn't have the cachet locals think it should have. Also, the economic impact may not be a great as one would think.

"Big Kahuna Here, Small Potatoes Elsewhere"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)

Paying for Music

Since those college students who settled with Big Music have been receiving a substantial amount of donations it looks like people are willing to pay for music online. It's just that they don't want to pay the people who actually own it. They're willing to pay copyright violators instead of the copyright holders. Part of it is the incompentence of Big Music in failing to create an online music industry. And another is Big Music's strong arm tactics. Another part is people's thinking (or lack thereof) that is something's easy to do it's okay to do.

"Fined Student Gets Donations to Tune of $12K" [via Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 02:03 PM | Comments (3)

The Big Gig

Today starts Milwaukee's biggest party, Summerfest 2003. It's 11 days of music, food, beer, and too many people wearing things they shouldn't be wearing. As a service to my readers, all through the festival I'll be posting news items and stuff about artists playing the Big Gig.

Tonight at the Marcus Amphitheater, Peter Gabriel will be performing. He's been around forever. He first became known as a member of Genesis, then he went solo making such memorable songs as "Sledgehammer," "Big Time," "Shock the Monkey," "In Your Eyes," and "Red Rain." His latest album is Up. Opening for Gabriel is Sevara Nazarkhan from Uzbekistan.

Some other notable acts include the Blind Boys of Alabama , Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Local H, and Weird Al Yankovic.

If the music wasn't enough sonic stimulation, the Big Bang fireworks display will make a whole lot of noise on the first night of Summerfest.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Summerfest at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

Sullivan Votes for Himself

Dawn Olsen give Andrew Sullivan a righteous ribbing by mocking his vote of himself as most influential weblogger. Way to go Dawn. I too wondered about his pick. It sure takes a lot of gumption to vote for oneself.

[via Wizbang who had the sense to add TAM to his blogroll]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:50 AM | Comments (0)

Heaving Harry Potter

From John's context-less quotes from the latest book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix might contain as many double entandres as Hillary's book.

They also have a thought provoking post on personal ownership of nukes.

And thanks to the guys at Catallarchy.net for the addition of TAM to their blogroll.

"From the Department of Naughty Innuendo"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2003

Liberty and Neo-Cons

Cato's Ed Crane and William Niskanen argue for a return to limited government. I'm on their side. Even with a war going on, that doesn't mean the government can run rough shod over individual rights. I'm not going to go as far as Ronald Bailey by joining the ACLU, but I'm keeping an eye on my government.

They're not dogmatic like paleos, but their use of the term "neo-conservative" bugs me. They don't differentiate it from prefix-less conservatism, but they use the term incorrectly. Neo-cons were one-time socialists and Leftists (mostly NY Jews) who moved to the right. Today, those labled neo-cons have always been on the Right and aren't necessarily Jewish. (Based on his name, I don't think Max Boot is.)

"Upholding Liberty in America" [via Hit & Run]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)

Hamas Must be "Dismantled"

Good for President Bush to say a Hamas cease isn't enough. Now, a first true step on the road map is for Palestine, Israel, and even the U.S. to take out Hamas once and for all. I know it would scare the anti-war crowd, but some, limited U.S. involvement could really set the stage for peace.

"Bush: Hamas Cease-Fire Would Not Be Enough"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)

TAM Odds and Ends

TAM is on a roll. For ten days in a row, visitors have been in the triple digits. Thank you all for coming by. Special thanks go to Aaron the Mad for linking to my Potter Mania post.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:43 AM | Comments (0)

Stalin World

Most of us love theme parks. It's great to go to a place like Six Flags Great America or Disney World on a sunny day. Going on rides, playing games, and just have fun brings out the kid in everyone.

But if you're bored of the same old roller coaster, ferris wheel, or carosel there's Stalin World in Lithuania.

The facility—part amusement park, part open air museum—is circled by barbed wire and guard towers, and dotted with some 65 bronze and granite statues of former Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin, and assorted communist VIPs.

Organizers say it’s the first and only Soviet theme park in the world. Officially, the 30-hectare complex is called the Soviet Sculpture Garden at Grutas Park. But residents of the nearby village of Grutas have dubbed it Stalin World—a name that’s stuck.

At the park's opening, visitors could "drink shots of vodka and eat cold borscht soup from tin bowls, while loud speakers blared old communist hymns."

Vilumas Malinauskas, owner of the park, wanted it to be "family experience, built especially for our younger generation" or else "only pensioners and history buffs would visit."

What could be more tasteless, a German death camp park with ride taking visitors into a gas chamber? The people who thought up this idea should read Anne Applebaum's Gulag.

"Stalin World"

"I'm Going to Stalin's World!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:01 AM | Comments (2)

June 24, 2003

Boycotting Boycott Hollywood

A George Clooney fansite is following in the footsteps of the vaunted Boycott Hollywood by calling for a boycott of Boycott Hollywood and other sites.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:26 PM | Comments (2)

White Guilt

Cam Edwards comments on a leftist talk radio host's (yes, they do exist) rather lame reasoning behind affirmative action. Edwards calls it "a classic case of white guilt."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)

Ditch the Shuttle

The board investigating the Columbia disaster will call for NASA to make shuttles less prone to debris strikes. While this is common sense, it doesn't move pass the shuttle as an effective space vehicle. The fleet is costly and doesn't add a whole lot of value. Russia is actually engaging in space tourism while here in the U.S. we try to patch up 20-year-old shuttles. We need some outside-of-the-box thinking. Webloggers like Glenn Reynolds and Rand Simberg are big into following private space efforts. Taking advantage of these certainly wouldn't hurt, and could turn space travel into big business.

"Shuttle Must Be Toughened to Survive Debris Hits, Board Says"

"Burt Builds Your Ride to Space"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)

Goldwater's Timebomb

Christopher Manion on [Anarchy]Lew Rockwell's weblog writes that Sen. Barry Goldwater had "no personal, political, or principle-based reason to suggest a truly conservative nominee, and he did not" when he suggested Sandra Day O'Connor as Supreme Court justice. Now, "racism will be the law of the land for decades to come."

"O'Connor Time Bomb Explodes Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:29 AM | Comments (0)

Surfin' Safari

On the always smart 2blowhards weblog is Michael's first (and only) surfing lesson. His conclusion: "I can guarantee that no Blowhard will ever again be welcome on a surfing beach."

"Surfin' Ignominy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 04:08 AM | Comments (0)

Conservatives Not Happy with Court or Bush

Conservatives aren't happy with yesterday's Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action, and for good reason. With those rulings, the court allowed government-sanctioned racial discrimination. Abigail Thernstrom, a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights said, "We have just signed on to quotas for the foreseeable future for decades to come. We're going to have race-driven decision making from now on with the moral legitimacy of the court."

Part of the disappointment comes from President Bush's statement. I'm sorry to have to do this, but a Fisking of the President is in order.

I applaud the Supreme Court for recognizing the value of diversity on our Nation's campuses. Diversity is one of America's greatest strengths. Today's decisions seek a careful balance between the goal of campus diversity and the fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law.

Diversity simply means variety, at least in the way most people use the word. However, in the hands of the Left "Diversity" becomes a tool of social engineering. University Leftists use it as a means to alleviate the wrongs of dead white men of generations past. In university admitions getting the best students isn't the goal. Instead, the Left brings in less qualified students to relieve pent up guilt. Forget about those students who got passed over. Affirmative action is needed forever for whites to pay for the sins of the dead.

Diversity isn't a strength any more than the stars on our flag are the reason for its popularity. It's a fact. But Diversity for the Left is confined only to skin color, gender, and sexual orientation. True diversity entails the ideas and perspectives between individuals' ears. A variety of though is the diversity an institution of higher learning should strive to create.

My Administration will continue to promote policies that expand educational opportunities for Americans from all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds. There are innovative and proven ways for colleges and universities to reflect our diversity without using racial quotas. The Court has made clear that colleges and universities must engage in a serious, good faith consideration of workable race-neutral alternatives. I agree that we must look first to these race-neutral approaches to make campuses more welcoming for all students.
The court hasn't ordered higher education to find "race-neutral alternatives." They struck down the obvious racial advantages used in Michigan's undergraduate admissions, but they allowed race to play a factor in law school admissions. What the court told schools to do is not make their race-based preferences blatant. Deacon at Power Line calls this a "road map" schools "can use to discriminate against whites."
Race is a reality in American life. Yet like the Court, I look forward to the day when America will truly be a color-blind society. My Administration will continue to work toward this important goal.
The President's goal has been undermined by a court that accepts a Leftist definition of Diversity as well as government-sanctioned racism. This doesn't move our nation close to a color-blind society. If Deacon is right, continued racial preferences will hurt the minorities they're designed to help. "The soft bigotry of low expectations all but guarantees that blacks and Hispanics will never be able to compete on equal terms with whites." Lower results may result in blacks and Hispanics being looked down upon by the rest of society. The end result is greater racial polarization.

"Conservatives Call Affirmative Action Rulings 'Disgusting' and 'Disappointing'"

UPDATE: NRO's John Miller also rips into President Bush's statement.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:56 AM | Comments (0)

Michigan Ruling Opinions

Here are other's thoughts on the Michigan affirmative action rulings. I've got a longer post next, but I want to offer these on these frustrating rulings.

George Will writes,

In time, the court's role will seem anachronistic; its reasoning and vocabulary will seem quaint. Demographics, not constitutional litigation, are determining the destiny of a post-racial America.

Dave of SCSUScholars tries to wrap his arms around the logic of these rulings. He comes to this conclusion:

A politically desirable end can justify normally unconstitutional means so long as cleverly narrow redefinitions of the means are employed, so long as no quantifiable objectives for using such means are ever explicitly articulated, and so long as one hopes to discontinue using those means at some point in the not too distant future.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2003

"Diversity" Regardless of Law

In Gratz v. Bollinger (the undergraduate case), Justice Rehnquist notes that Justice Ginsberg has shed light on the Academy's goal of "diversity" whether constitutional or not. He writes:

Justice Ginsburg in her dissent observes that “[o]ne can reasonably anticipate . . . that colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment . . . whether or not they can do so in full candor through adoption of affirmative action plans of the kind here at issue.” Post, at 7-8. She goes on to say that “[i]f honesty is the best policy, surely Michigan’s accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmative action program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises.” Post, at 8. These observations are remarkable for two reasons. First, they suggest that universities–to whose academic judgment we are told in Grutter v. Bollinger, post, at 16, we should defer–will pursue their affirmative-action programs whether or not they violate the United States Constitution. Second, they recommend that these violations should be dealt with, not by requiring the universities to obey the Constitution, but by changing the Constitution so that it conforms to the conduct of the universities.

What this, in essence, divided ruling does is make ethnic enrollment murkier. What are schools allowed or not allowed to do? On its surface, it looks like it depends on the case. No overarching principle was established here. What Justice Ginsberg's comments shows is universities pushing their radical egalitarian agenda will not be deterred with these rulings.

[Thanks go to Eugene Volokh for quickly reading the rulings and finding very interesting items. For other comments on the ruling, read Outside the Beltway, Power Line, and Balkinization.]

"Race in Admissions Revised"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)


Get ready. Ann Coulter begins weblogging today, and the blogosphere may never be the same.

UPDATE: As of early Monday afternoon, Ann still hasn't posted anything. Is she speechless about today's Supreme Court decisions? If you know anything about her, you know that can't possibly be true.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:10 AM | Comments (1)

Progress Report

Lt. Smash has a good summary of what we've done in the 21 months. Progress has been made.

Less than two years later, it is very clear which path we have chosen. Within a month of the terror strikes, we were bombing al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. Within two months, we had overthrown the Taliban government and forced the terrorists to hide in caves. Then we bombed the caves.

We proceeded to hunt down those who had escaped the onslaught. We seized their assets, and arrested their financial chief. We chased their chief of operations all over Pakistan, capturing him in a pre-dawn raid outside Islamabad. A photograph of him, handcuffed and humiliated, was beamed around the globe.

We launched a campaign to liberate Iraq, and thousands of Bin Laden disciples were urged to come to the defense of Baghdad. But terrorists armed with Kalishnikovs and RPGs were no match for laser-guided bombs and heavy armor. We slaughtered them by the thousands.

The surprising ease with which Coalition Forces took Baghdad has discredited our enemies and caused many of their would-be supporters to question their leadership. There are now well over 100,000 battle-tested US troops in the heart of Arab civilization, and all that our enemies have been able to do about it is launch an occasional sniper attack. At their current rate of assault, it will take about 800 years for them to take back Iraq.

In the meantime, the government of Syria has been “convinced” to shut down the offices of Hamas and Hezbollah in their capital. Students demonstrating across Iran are no longer simply demanding reform—they are now calling for the death of “Supreme Leader” Ayatollah Khameini. The US military is moving out of Saudi Arabia, because we no longer need those bases—and the House of Saud is beginning to feel a much cooler breeze blowing in from Washington.

Suddenly, the regional leaders appear very eager to discuss peace plans with Israel.

He also ties the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a way many on the Right haven't done:
The peace process in Israel and Palestine must continue, but terrorists will be given no quarter. Syria must be further “encouraged” to eliminate all support to Hamas and Hezbollah. Their puppets in Lebanon must do the same, and the training camps in the Bekaa Valley must be dismantled. The Palestinian Authority must begin to take responsibility for its own security, and purge terrorist influence from their government. The ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict is the single largest source of animosity in the Islamic world towards the United States. We will not achieve victory in this war until there is a reasonable level of peace and stability between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.

I don't know if I agree with that. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has existed much longer than al-Qaeda's declared war on the U.S. Granted, terrorists have been hijacking planes and bombing Americans for years, but we got serious when they bloodied us on our home turf. A bit of innocence was lost. Destroying the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the remnants of Iraq's Ba'ath Party may be enough of a statement that "you don't mess with the U.S." regardless of whether the Israelis and Palestinians continue to kill each other.

Lt. Smash does end with something we can both agree on. Most importantly, Iraq must be rebuilt so it can "become the civil and economic model for the rest of the Islamic world."

"It's Not Over Yet"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:54 AM | Comments (0)

Rush Groupie

Aaron Haspel of God of the Machine is really, really cool. Why? Because of this:

14. I know Geddy Lee and Neil Peart of the legendary Canadian trio Rush.

Learn more about Aaron here. Oh, and read his weblog too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)


With Harry Potter Mania, a pop culture event got lost in the hoopla this weekend: Hulk came to theaters. Jay Solo's hoping there's a Hulk 2 because he sees the movie as parallel to the first Star Trek movie, The Motion Sickness.

Don't worry Jay. With a $60 million opening, there will be a sequel.

Tiger writes,

this movie had more of a comic feel to it than any of the other movies, what with several panels being shown at the same time during some scenes. This is much like you would see if you were reading a comic.

His conclusion:
As I said, if you were or are a really big fan of The Hulk, you will love this movie. The computer graphics were well done [as seems to be the case in almost every movie where computer graphics are involved now], and the feel of the movie embodied the same feeling you got from reading the comics, only bigger and better. If you were not, you may want to wait for the video to come out.

And now for some feedback from those people who get paid to watch movies.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Jackie Loohauis was really, really impressed with Ang Lee's effort:

"The Hulk" delivers more Zen than zap, taking the comic-book movie to new philosophical levels, something not done since "Darkman." It might be argued that "The Hulk" could stand as a dramatic work without any Hulk in it.

She also thought Nick Nolte stole the film.

Roger Ebert also liked the movie. He calls Hulk "a comic book movie for people who wouldn't be caught dead at a comic book movie."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:04 AM | Comments (1)

June 22, 2003

Selling Harry

Even though J. K. Rowling doesn't want her books intertwined with the marketing of jelly beans, DVDs, and toys, the release of the fifth Harry Potter book has created a cross-marketing mania.

For those who are worried that kids will be easily manipulated, don't fret. A nine-year-old girl told the NY Times, "Some people say how stupid it is that they are coming out with Harry Potter toothbrushes and things like that. I think they should just stop with the books and movies, otherwise it just goes sort of overboard into a more Disney thing." She's a marketing critic in the making.

"New Sign on Harry Potter's Forehead: For Sale"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

Record Breaking Book

5 million copies of you-know-who were bought this weekend. My ultimate boss, Barnes & Noble CEO Steve Riggio, said, "We expected to sell 1 million copies in the first week and we sold that many within the first 48 hours." Unlike other stores, my store had copies of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix available to those that didn't pre-order. After tonight, those pre-orders that weren't picked up were released for general consumption.

Some people had a bad surprise when they discovered missing pages in their books. With a print run of 8.5 million, mistakes were bound (pun not intended) to happen. Something like this happens to lots of books. The only reason it's news now is because it's Harry Potter.

Either Saturday was a slow news day or Harry Potter is big news, because the NY Times placed Michiko Kakutani's review on the front page above the fold. She praises J. K. Rowling's "bravura storytelling skills and tirelessly inventive imagination," and how she braids "together the mundane and the marvelous, the psychological and the allegorical with consummate authority and ease."

In a less laudatory review, the Telegraph's Sam Leith called Rowling's prose "almost completely colourless," yet he considers her a "master storyteller." He also found the plot to be a bit too pat. "We know who the baddies are from the outset. There are no earth-shattering revelations." Like Kakutani, Leith calls Order, the Empire Strikes Back of the series.

In the blogosphere, Courtney found some libertarian threads in the story. I wonder if this is Rowling's way at commenting on government "excesses" in our post-September 11 world? Unfortunately, other than Courtney, I haven't found any other weblog reviews yet. I know the book's big, but something? Anything?

In order to sell so many books so fast, it can't just be kids wanting a children's book. In Vancouver, Science World had an adults-only party to celebrate the book's release.

Even with all the stress I went through to sell this book, I'm glad it's out there just to stop all the talk about Sen. Hillary Clinton's book.

"For Famous Young Wizard, a Darker Turn"

"'Where are the Red Herrings?'"

"New Harry Potter Book Sets Sales Records"

"Copies of Potter Book Found Missing Pages"

"Public Potty for Potter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

Down Under Kudos

What a pleasant surprise to look through my referrer list to find Tim Blair linked to TAM. To those that came here from him, welcome.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2003

Harry Potter/J. K. Rowling Mishmash

Since I slept way too much today (busy night, you know) and have to head over to a friends home soon, I'll just link to a few stories surrounding Potter Mania.

A woman in Kansas City may have lost her job for delivering the book early.

Despite a few books leaking out, Rowling is happy a tight drum was kept on the book. Her fans are happy too.

At the Barnes & Noble in Green Bay, WI kids found the golden snitch and petted a snake while waiting for their book.

On a funny note, ScrappleFace discovered the book can be used as a personal defense item.

Finally, Mark Steyn parodies Rowling and rips Hillary. [via Outside the Beltway]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)

Harry Potter Craziness

Harry Potter 5

This morning, at 12:01 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was unleashed upon children and those young at heart. With little trouble you should be able to find plenty of reports on Harry Potter Mania all over the world. But here, for you, is this humble correspondent's report from the center of the publishing whirlwind.

I arrived at 6:00 pm yesterday evening. It was quiet, too quiet. If you walked in at that time you'd never expect the swarms of people who would be there in just a few hours.

Pile Before Sale

Above, you see a few thousand books waiting to be read by eager readers all over the Milwaukee area.

Expecting people to sit in line for hours waiting for the book (Greg Packer wannabes no doubt) my store had a system where customers who pre-ordered the book would get a colored ticket. The color would determine when they would be in line. The order went just like the color spectrum--Roy G. Biv--red, then orange, then yellow, and so on. That solved that problem.

Besides dealing with the biggest crowds I've ever seen in the store, our biggest concern/question had to do with people wanting copies of the book when they didn't pre-order it. My store alone took over 2000 pre-orders--one of the best performances of any store in the company--so we weren't sure there would be any left after all the orders were taken. With all the media hype in the past months and weeks, I was surprised that so many people thought they would be able to just call a bookstore and expect a book, but many did. A mild let down was delivered when I told them the chance of getting a book today were slim, but I would be glad to order a copy for them when a new shipment arrived.

Throughout the night the phone rang constantly with questions about the book's availablity and what games and events we were having. People came and went, but didn't hang around until 9:00. My boss and I figured people went to see a movie (my store is part of a mall with a theater) then came to get their book. First Hulk, then Harry.

By 10:00, people arrived to take part in Harry Potter trivia games, indoor quidich, and having their picture taken with the young wizard himself (my gig). Just walking through the store became a course filled with living, breathing, and moving human obstacles. The constant motion of answering phones, getting materials for events, and preparing for the book sale all the while avoiding people had me wiping my brow a few times.

At around 11:30, the first group of people was allowed into lines by our cash registers. I got the job of trying to get them to form orderly lines and keep things moving smoothly. I was in the mass, in the middle of the beast making sure it didn't get out of control. My boss got worried because he couldn't see me in the crowd. The customers were in good spirits. Many of the kids told me they were waiting for this moment for years. I figured their yearning for the next book started a week after they finished the fourth Harry Potter book. A few chit-chatted with me about how wild an event this was.

The clock ticked away, and finally 12:01 came and the fifth Harry Potter book was set free. I was doing alright. The adrenaline was flowing; I was feeding off the energy of the crowd. I directed people to a cash register where they got their book and made sure there was room so people could get out of everybody else's way.

Eventually, the energy rush faded. Making sure people stay in some sort of line and not butt in front of each other was hard work. After about an hour, I was getting tired, but there wasn't much I could do because a few hundred people were still in line. One customer told me it was hot, hot like at a concert. When you get a lot of people together in a small area, the temperature rises. Thankfully, people's temper didn't.

The colors were called out, people quickly got in line, and received their books. Even a few lucky ones who just stopped by hoping to buy one lucked out. Anyone who came to the store wanting a book ended up with one. There were plenty of happy customers and some very tired booksellers.

Pile After Sale

As you can see, the stacks were diminished, and tired booksellers went home.

We're leaving

On my way home, I stopped by a Wal-Mart open 24 hours to see how the Potter Mania was.

Local Wal-Mart

The store was still in one piece. Inside, I saw two small pallets of books. I asked a cashier how it was this morning, and she told me it was pretty crazy.

After going through last night/this morning I'm tempted to knock off J. K. Rowling before she finishes another book. Or for something less cruel to all her fans (killing her would be like killing George Lucas before he finishes the Star Wars series) I want Harry Potter #6 to be a digital download only.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 04:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2003

Dem Bashes Businessman

Harold Hamilton built a successful business that employees 100 people in Minnesota. Some would see Hamilton as a good part of the community. But not Mike Erlandson, Minnesota DFL chairman. He calls Hamilton "He's anti-children, anti-health care and anti-welfare." Why? Because he fights against higher taxes, sits on the boards of organizations that promote free markets, and hosted President Bush yesterday. If Hamilton was a trial lawyer or Hollywood exec who backed Democratic causes, Erlandson would be saying something else.

"Micro Control Founder is a Maverick in Politics and Business" [via Power Line]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)

"Continuity of Government"

It's kind of hard to get rialled up over a possible constitutional amendment when you don't know anything about it. Kent Snyder of The Liberty Committee is all up in arms about something called "Continuity of Government." This has been the pet project of Norm Ornstein and really came to Congress' attention after the September 11 attacks.

Ornstein offers some sensible reasons for a change and takes on the arguments of his critics. As for Snyder, I've only heard a babbling cry that a "juggernaut of deception" has been launch by the "establishment." He's sounding very conspiratorially kooky right now.

"Continuity Amendment Clearly Isn't Desirable, but It's Necessary"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Prescription Drugs

Porphyrogenitus hits President Bush hard on a prescription drug plan. He's dubbed it the "biggest increase in Federal social spending since LBJ." This isn't good coming from a President who's said again and again that he was a conservative. Domestically, Bush is a big government conservative, an expensive big government conservative.

"Biggest New Program in Four Decades" [via Andrew Sullivan]

"Bush's Spending Binges"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

Work in Iraq

Enterprising people should consider the opportunites available in Iraq. Unemployed? Know about pest control? If so, then you too could earn $125,000/year in post-war Iraq. KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, is also hiring "health, safety and environmental inspectors; food and laundry service employees; construction and electrical contractors; truck and bus drivers; warehousemen; firefighters; and accountants." Sure, it gets hot, really hot in Baghdad, but I'm sure you could get a good deal on one of Saddam's palaces.

"Secrecy Shrouds Halliburton Hiring Frenzy at Houston Hotel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)

Sucking on the Pipe

While you won't notice any difference when reading TAM, it's sole editor/writer/publisher/bad marketer/mediocre evangelist--ME--is feeding from the data trough at blazing speeds. The cable guy (no, not that one) came today and set me up with broadband. Already, I've downloaded an entire Metallica concert (They may have gotten this whole Internet thing.), and I'm streaming some electronic music from Epitonic. Now, I'm wandering around looking for (legal) audio and video just to see what's out there. It's only been a few hours, and I know I'll never accept dial-up again.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:36 PM | Comments (2)

Potter-mania Hits Brew City

Milwaukee gets ready for Harry Potter. Bookstores and publishers hope the book juices up the industry:

The publishing world is hoping to ride Harry's Nimbus 2001 flying broomstick out of what has been shaping up to be a dismal bookselling year. Sales of hardcover books have slid more than 20% in the first quarter, according to the Association of American Publishers. So, the thinking goes, if the new Potter brings hundreds into bookstores, chances are they might also buy other books besides J.K. Rowling's.

Book sales in the Milwaukee area have mirrored the national numbers. David Schwartz, owner of the Harry W. Schwartz Bookshops, said sales have declined in each of the first three months of the year.

It will be wild tonight.

"The Phoenix Rises"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 03:52 AM | Comments (0)

Questions Answered

Frank answers a pressing question about a Rumsfeld vs. Hulk battle:

That's a hard one. One is a boiling pot of rage that thinks of nothing more than destruction, and the other is large and green. Personally, I'd put my money on Rumsfeld… as long he took his arthritis medicine before the fight.

Then he answers a question about keeping women barefoot:
Giving women shoes is a big mistake. As soon as they have shoes, they might feel safe venturing outside the house. And if they're out of the house, who will bring you your beer when you are watching football? And next thing you know, women may use the freedom of shoes to go out and vote, and that's how people like Bill Clinton got elected. Even Dole would have won against him if men had just kept their women barefoot and in the kitchen.

Some women might just accept being barefoot if it prevents another Clinton from reaching the White House.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:36 AM | Comments (0)

Jay's New Home

Jay Solo has swanky, new digs. Change links accordingly.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:28 AM | Comments (0)

Sulu in DC

There will be a movie about President Bush and September 11. Here's a portion of the Washington Post story:

The two-hour film, to air around the second anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, stars Timothy Bottoms as Bush, reprising a role Bottoms played for laughs on the short-lived Comedy Central series "That's My Bush!," which went off the air a week before the Sept. 11 attacks. Many of the movie's secondary roles, such as Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, are played by obscure New York and Canadian actors. Among the familiar faces in the cast are Penny Johnson Jerald (she plays the president's ex-wife on the Fox series "24"), who appears as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and George Takei (Sulu on the original "Star Trek" series), who plays Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.

George Takei is working again. Great. At least he gave up on future Star Trek cameos.

"D.C. 9/11 Spins Tale of President on Tragic Day" [via Begging to Differ]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:09 AM | Comments (0)

Harry Potter Review

The AP is detailing the plot of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. How did they get a copy? Will J. K. Rowling and Scholastic sue them like they're suing the NY Daily News? And where are the thousands of books stolen in England earlier this week? So many questions. One thing I do know is lots of people will be buying the book at the stroke of midnight Saturday morning, and I'll be there to give you a taste of Potter-mania.

"Harry Potter Series Keeps Getting Better"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:46 AM | Comments (0)

Moral Hazzard

Here's some common sense from Cerebral Soup:

Almost every product you buy has some kind of warning on it. I sometimes read them for amusement - "You're telling me not to do what? What kind of moron would think to do that?" I often speculate.

And just when will it end? Honestly the human race has managed to survive for thousands of years - so why suddenly are there so many laws now to prevent us from hurting or killing ourselves accidently? Shouldn't we let evolution follow it's course and weed out the stupidity (~^)?

What about diminished responsibility? The more laws and warnings we get the less responsibility we take for ourselves. The government becomes a Nanny state making sure we're not sticking forks into the power outlet. If something goes wrong it's not our fault - it's somebody else's for not telling us that we shouldn't do that. And dammit we're gonna make sure they pay for not telling us!

"Protecting People from Themselves"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:39 AM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2003

Oprah's Picking Books Again

The female billionaire, pop culture icon restarted her book club with Steinbeck's East of Eden. Now, I won't be cringing when women who haven't read anything serious since college come in asking for the book.

"Oprah Revives Book Club With Steinbeck"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:49 AM | Comments (2)

June 18, 2003


Walter Williams reviews Eco-nomics by Richard Stroup. The book is an example that those who reject radical environmentalism don't necessarily want dirty water and air. It's just that we realize all decisions involve trade-offs. Free market environmentalists understand this while the socialist zealots don't or don't admit it.

"Protecting the Environment"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:29 PM | Comments (0)

Show Me the Moneyball

The more reviews I've read of Michael Lewis' Moneyball the more interested I get. Stephen Silver is no exception. He writes,

What the neo-conservatives of the Bush Adminstration are to foreign policy, the sabermetric movement is to major league baseball: a movement that has existed and gradually gained steam for years, and now has finally broken through and more or less been accepted by those in power. The sabermatricians' Weekly Standard is the Baseball Prospectus; their Scoop Jackson Bill James, and their Axis of Evil is baseball's traditional scouting establishment. And their George W. Bush is Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane: a longtime insider who has embraced the movement's long-held ideas and applied them on the main stage.

"Moneyball by Michael Lewis"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

Harry's Free!

In about 50 hours, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be unleashed upon the world. Stores will be open late or opening early. People, like Greg Packer, will be in line for hours just to be the first to get their copy of the book. Kids will stay awake reading it until their eyes are just too heavy to be kept open. There will also be parents complaining to stores about there not being enough books for them even though they could have pre-ordered the book months, even years, in advance.

The story of the NY Daily News publishing portions of the book in advance doesn't surprise me. News about something with this much popular interest is bound to seep through any embargo a publisher will put on it. Information does want to be free, or at least people want information to be free.

From working in the bookselling trade for a while, I do know the health food store that sold the book before 6.21 will have little chance of getting copies of Harry Potter #6.

Now let me comment a little on the store owner's explanation for breaking the embargo. He got four books from a wholesaler. He put them on sale immediately because "didn't receive notification that I should hold off until the 21st." It's possible the wholesaler forgot to tell him about the embargo, or it got lost in the mail. Things like that happen. What I can't believe is the store owner didn't know anything about the sale date. He's sold book previously so he can't plead complete ignorance about the book trade. If people who only want to buy a copy of the book knew the exact moment the book would be released, a fairly intelligent store owner would know too or contact the publisher if he had any questions. Maybe this guy's ineptitude is just a symptom of consuming too much organic food. Since that stuff is grown in natural fertilizer (i.e. manure) who knows the possible medical side effects. Where's the FDA when you really need them?

"Here's First Look at What Happens"

"Hocus-pocus! We got Harry"

"Harry Potter Publisher Sues NY Newspaper" [via Cam Edwards]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

RSS Questions

I'm curious about this whole RSS thing. TAM has a feed, but I really don't know what to do with it. Also, last year I used an RSS aggregator (don't remember what one), but didn't really know what that was for either. What's the best one out there? Any advice on either question is welcome.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 08:12 PM | Comments (3)

Our Protectionist President

President Bush is not helping his record on free trade. I like low-priced computer chips and catfish. (Who knew Vietnam had catfish, let alone exported them?) Who ends up hurt the most are American consumers who will pay more for the stuff. Don't expect a swell of public outcry. While consumers as a whole will be hurt, that pain is spread out over millions of people. It ends up being pennies to an individual. On the other side, the few American chip makers and catfish producers will get more concentrated benefits. Thus they have a greater incentive to complain to the government about "unfair" trade practices.

Jane Shaw delves into this phenomenon with her primer on public choice economics.

"Tariffs Ordered on Catfish and Computer Chips" [via Baloon Juice]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 08:08 PM | Comments (2)

Want to Use MT?

For those of you who are tired of Blogger and Blogspot problems or had enough of sitting on the sidelines and want to get your weblogging feet wet TokyoShoes has a tutorial for beginning Moveable Type users. One suggestion I didn't see is to get have a friend available who's installed and used MT. That way you have a quick resource if (when) problems come up and you won't have to rely on MT's forums.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 07:42 PM | Comments (3)

Palestinian Axis of Evil

Hamas and Islamic Jihad in political union with the PLO? It sounds like an Axis of Evil in the making. Also, if we thought (hoped) that the installation of Prime Minister Abbas meant Arafat fading away, we would be wrong:

The joint leadership suggested by Abbas would be headed by Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and operate under the umbrella of the PLO, according to the official Palestine Media Center.
[Emphasis mine.]

Tit-for-tat has gone on between Israel and the Palestinians for a long, long time. Talk and peace plans haven't brought peace any closer to reality. Benjamin Netanyahu is right on the money when he said, "Someone has to wipe out the terrorist groups. Either Abu Mazen will do it, or we will have to do it."

President Bush, can you please take the pressure off Sharon and let him destroy those groups waging war on his country? It's about time we finally have a winner.

"Abbas to Militants: End Attacks on Israel"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)

Blaster Has Moved

Blaster's Blog has dumped Blogspot and is now MT powered. Change links accordingly.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:07 PM | Comments (0)

Magic Segway Theory

Bush's critics call him dumb and simple-minded. Yet our President found a way to liberate Iraq, break the U.N.'s monopoly on humanitarianism, shake up the international order, and show the world that France no longer is a U.S. ally.

Now, there's talk about Bush's supposed manipulation and fabrication of intelligence data to make Iraq seem more dangerous than it really was.

But this next conspiracy involves the most talked about whiz-bang tech item in years: Dean Kamen's Segway. Last week, Bush fell off a Segway. Ok, he's just a klutz. At least that's what most people would think, but not USA Today's Kevin Maney. Since "[i]t's nearly impossible to fall off a Segway," Bush's tumble must have been his way to scare off future buyers of the scooter. Bush did it to protect his oil buddies in Texas. That's what Maney thinks.

Maney writes:

And if the future veers toward little two-wheeled electric-powered personal transporters, where does that leave ExxonMobil and Halliburton and the rest of the oil industry President Bush adores? Probably in the same sad league as the old Pennsylvania coal-mining companies, with Houston as the next Wilkes-Barre.

Bush knows the possible effect of an image of the nation's commander in chief nearly doing a face plant because of an odd new contraption. In 1899, William McKinley became the first U.S. president to try an automobile. Freelan Stanley took big ol' McKinley for a spin in a Stanley Steamer. Imagine if McKinley fell out. The pro-horse contingent would've been in PR paradise.

Maney admits mass Segway use seems "unlikely." Who's going to hop onto their scooter for their 30 mile commute going 8 miles/hour? What about when it rains? Will there be local crack downs if people start getting into accidents on sidewalks?

Maney also forgets that even if millions of people ditch their cars for Segways, they're going to have to get the electricity to power them from somewhere. Since there hasn't been a new nuclear power plant built in decades in the U.S. fossil fuels like coal, natural gas, and--you guessed it--oil will have to be burned.

I wonder if Maney also thinks Bush got the NY Times to hire Jayson Blair just to destroy the reputation of the Old Grey Lady?

"President's Segway Tumble Seems a Tiny Bit Suspicious"

UPDATE: Right Wing News goes off on Kevin Maney.

"USA Today Tries To Appeal To The Kook Set"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 04:37 PM | Comments (2)

NR, CIA Front?

That's what Thomas DiLorenzo kinda claims with his critique of NRO's pledge drive.

He also claims The New Yorker and Harper's make money. If that's the case, then why is Harper's owned by a non-profit foundation? As for The New Yorker, last year, it earned a profit for the first time in 17 years. DiLorenzo is flat-out wrong.

DiLorenzo is also calling the kettle black. I highly doubt [Anarchy] LewRockwell.com is a profit-making enterprise. I also know for sure the Mises Institute is an operation funded "entirely by voluntary contributions, from individuals, businesses, and foundations."

TAM is always interested in keeping up with the latest conspiracies. If you know about this supposed NR-CIA link, leave a comment.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 02:43 AM | Comments (1)

O'Reilly Bashes Net and TAM Doesn't Care

I'd almost care about the hullaballo surrounding Bill O'Reilly's rant about the Internet, but that would require me to read his column, listen to his radio show, or watch his television show. (I find the O'Reilly Factor/Hannity & Combs prime time to be the most boring span on Fox News.)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:04 AM | Comments (3)

June 17, 2003

Greg Does It for the Fan Mail

Greg Packer, the NY Times' favorite "man on the street," waits for hours in lines all over the New York City area just so he might get fan mail. Who would want to send an overweight no body fan mail? But then, Scott Peterson is getting fan mail.

"Long Island Man Sows His Platitudes Widely" [via PrestoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2003

Near Death Experience

John at Right Wing News almost bought the farm. Thank God he only ended up with some cuts.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

Rowling and the Child's Mind

Whatever you think of the Harry Potter books, J. K. Rowling has certainly tapped into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of kids all over the world. Despite critic Harold Bloom's prediction that the books will be relegated to dust bins, stories that cross so many national, cultural, and demographic lines must possess some transcendent quality.

"The Real Magic of Harry Potter"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 07:36 PM | Comments (2)

Web Wanderings

Here's a few hops through my blogroll:

Matthew of A Fearful Symmetry had the same reaction as I did to Sen. Leahy's (D-VT) letter to President Bush.

Fredrik Norman warns us that he's headed for the States.

Howard Owens lists the lies the anti-war/Bush crowd told us.

Craig of mtpolitics.net and his wife just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary. Yeah!

Greg Ransom, the PrestoPundit, is a posting machine. And he worries about Calblog taking time to "have a life."

Mike brought home a bouncing "noisemaking machine."

Brink Lindsey lists the books he's read in the last year. It's too bad he's gone on a (permanent?) weblogging vacation. [via Virginia Postrel]

And finally, Matt, for commenting on so many posts, here's a little linky love. Now, just post something. For instance, why does Linux suck?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2003

The Real World of Politics

Sean Duffy, the lumberjack from Real World: Boston might challenge Rep. David Obey (D-WI) next year.

Sorry to say, but there's a reason Obey's been representing northern Wisconsin forever: he's a good politician.

"MTV Alum to Run vs. Obey in 2004"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)


Thanks to MediaReview for linking to TAM.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:11 PM | Comments (0)

New Blog Showcase

Here are TAM's votes in The Bear's New Blog Showcase:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:52 PM | Comments (2)

News Alert: Sun Warms Earth

It seems the sun might play a major role in global climate change. Here's a blurb from Scientific American:

Humans may be shouldering too much of the blame for global warming, according to a new look at data from six sun-gazing satellites. They suggest that Planet Earth has been drenched in a bath of solar radiation that has been intensifying over the past 24 years--an increase of about 0.05 percent each decade. If that trend began early last century, it could account for a significant component of the climatic warm-up that is typically attributed to human-made greenhouse gases, says Richard C. Willson of Columbia University's Center for Climate Systems Research in Coronado, Calif. Willson concedes that the climate's sensitivity to such subtle solar changes is still poorly understood, but the evidence merits keeping a close eye on both the sun and humans to better gauge their relative influences on global climate. "In 100 years I think we'll find the sun is in control," he says.
So, why should we bother with radical, statist solutions like the Kyoto Protocols when scientists aren't even sure Man is the source for global warming?

[via Mullings]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 10:36 PM | Comments (2)

WI Dem Convention

From the reports on the Wisconsin state Democratic convention, party activists are tired of their candidate moving to the middle. One attendee said, "Moving to the center may have been the right thing a decade ago, but not now." He also said, "Trying to please everybody never works for Democrats. You have to stand for something."

That feeling is how Howard Dean won the straw poll. But winning it hardly matters since few delegates voted (the DNC discourages straw ballots), and state straw ballots have a history of indicating nothing.

Based on the number of energetic supporters, Dean was the winner from this convention. This from a Wispolitics.com story:

Dean supporters were in full force, with a sea of signs, cheers and even a cowbell. Dean’s speech got a good reception and created a lot of convention buzz due to a large organized presence. Senate Minority Leader Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, endorsed Dean and other Dane County elected officials privately offered good words.

Dean Dudes, don't get your hopes up. Remember, Alan Cranston did well here in 1983, and now he's dead.

"Wisconsin Democrats Eager to Challenge Bush"

"Straw Poll Victory May not Signify Much for Dean"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:31 PM | Comments (0)

Lousy Spokesman


According to ScrappleFace, there's been a backlash to those Woody Allen ads promoting France.

"People are calling up to cancel previously-planned French vacations," said one unnamed travel agent. "As soon as they hear Woody Allen talk about kissing his wife they suffer from mental images that only time can heal."
"French Tourism Plunges After Woody Allen Ads"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:12 AM | Comments (2)

June 14, 2003

New Criterion Weblog

Of all the magazines out there, The New Criterion was the last I would have expected to have a weblog. (Commentary and City Journal are still so 20th Century.) Heck, I'm surprised they have so much of the stuff from the monthly on their website. Fitting a magazine that discusses ideas at a very sophisticated level, I can't pronounce Armavirumque, the weblog's title. Despite that, it's immediately on my blogroll.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:47 PM | Comments (0)

First in Line

Greg Packer isn't just an endless quote machine for the NY Times or an object of weblogging fun. He also has a compulsion to be first in line at events.

If I had the power, I'd immediately fire the professor who compared Packer's obsession to studying English literature.

"First in Line Guy: Obsession or Art Form?" [via The Agitator]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

VH1's Greatest Songs

There's something wrong with a best song list when Britney Spears tops Bruce Springsteen. I'm not a fan of The Boss, but come on. "Born in the U.S.A." is powerful, a timeless anthem. Britney's "... Baby One More Time" is bad singing combined with bad lyrics that sound like they should be an S&M anthem.

There's more I can complain about. Nine Inch Nails' "Closer" isn't even Trent's best song. "Head Like a Hole" is his definitive song. The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" isn't as good as "We Are the Normal." Anything by Eminem or Nelly should be rejected immediately. Finally, picking Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit" continues the trend of making Kurt Cobain's band the most overrated in recent history.

Mark "Welcome to Wisconsin" Hasty has a list of his own. He immediately gets kudos for putting Sugar's "Helpless" on his list (#24). Sugar was my favorite band of the 90's even if they only put out 4 CDs.

I may just put together a list of my own. No promises. I might get distracted with something else. It happens all the time to me. And the list might not be 100 songs, but I think I've got enough CDs to dig through to put something together.

"VH1's '100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years'"

"100 Greatest Songs of the Past 25 Years"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:36 PM | Comments (3)

Metallica Uses Lo-fi and High Tech

There have been complaints that Metallica's St. Anger sounded like it was recorded quickly in a "shoebox." Well, that's not that far from the truth:

Metallica achieved the primitive sound and schizophrenic vibe of St. Anger by combining old recording technology with cutting-edge editing software. While Rock had previously rigged Lars' kit with multiple modern microphones and dampened the bass drum with pillows, spending as much as a week perfecting a snare sound, this time Rock spent five minutes setting up the drums and recorded the rest of the band with a combination of cheap PA mics and vintage microphones.

With the bare-bones recording equipment in place, Metallica started coming up with riffs together and rocked them out like a group of friends hooking up just to mess around. Once they'd concocted rhythms they liked, they'd combine them and record long jam sessions. Lyrics were written by the entire band moments before a song was recorded, and Hetfield's vocals were recorded in one or two takes to capture the immediacy of the moment, glitches and all.

"There was really no time to get amazing performances out of James," Rock said. "We liked the raw performances. And we didn't do what everyone does and what I've been guilty of for a long time, which is tuning vocals. We just did it, boom, and that was it."

After recording it was off to the computers. Slicing and dicing went into effect. As producer and bass player, Bob Rock put it, "I've spent 25 years learning how to do it the so-called right way. I didn't want to do that anymore."

But is it any good? I'm still determining that. Let's just say, so far, it isn't bad.

Even if you don't find St. Anger to be that good or are in the mood for Kirk Hammett guitar solos, getting it to access the Metallica Vault may be worth the price. It's full of mp3s from three concerts. Included is ex-bassist, Jason Newstead, singing "Seek and Destroy."

"What's Up With The Sound On The New Metallica Album?"

UPDATE: It's not about St. Anger, but Metallica's drummer, Lars Ulrich is mad that the Army isn't using music heavier than theirs when interrogating prisoners in Iraq.
[via astralpunch]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:20 PM | Comments (1)

Weblogging Tips

For newbie webloggers or for veterans like myself, here are some weblogging tips I've found.

John Hawkins is a generous guy for offering these tips. His best one is to drop Blogspot and/or Blogger. I haven't use the latest version of Blogger so I can't say if it's better or worse than before. But having weblogging software on one's own server is nice. It feels better not relying on a server out of your control. Even with the frustration I initially had with MT, my set up hasn't let me down yet.

Then there are Rebecca Blood's tips. Her big one is to "become an active part of the community." That means commenting on other's posts and submitting comments. She also recommends find a niche that interests you and become the "expert." [WARNING: Rebecca's a little weird. She has her very own favorite information architect. I guess it isn't that weird, because I have my very own fave economist. Don't you?]

And if you've tried everything, there are Frank's tips. Make note of the first one: "Don't f**k with me. I will destroy you."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)

"Man" on the Street

Ann Coulter found another black mark on the Old Grey Lady. In an amazing bit of synchronisity, the NY Times always seems to interview the same "average" NY guy.

Another average individual eager to get Hillary's book was Greg Packer, who was the centerpiece of the New York Times' "man on the street" interview about Hillary-mania. After being first in line for an autographed book at the Fifth Avenue Barnes & Noble, Packer gushed to the Times: "I'm a big fan of Hillary and Bill's. I want to change her mind about running for president. I want to be part of her campaign."

It was easy for the Times to spell Packer's name right because he is apparently the entire media's designated "man on the street" for all articles ever written. He has appeared in news stories more than 100 times as a random member of the public. Packer was quoted on his reaction to military strikes against Iraq; he was quoted at the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Veterans' Day Parade. He was quoted at not one – but two – New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square. He was quoted at the opening of a new "Star Wars" movie, at the opening of an H&M clothing store on Fifth Avenue and at the opening of the viewing stand at Ground Zero. He has been quoted at Yankees games, Mets games, Jets games – even getting tickets for the Brooklyn Cyclones. He was quoted at a Clinton fund-raiser at Alec Baldwin's house in the Hamptons and the pope's visit to Giants stadium.

It's amazing. That guy is everywhere. He must have gotten really chummy with all the Times reporters. I wonder if they exchange Christmas gifts?

What's left that's pure for the Times? Will we soon find out the crossword puzzles are rigged?

"True Grit" [via Cam Edwards]

UPDATE: Greg Ransom is holding a Greg Packer caption contest. By the way, Packer thinks TAM is "almost as good as the Yankees winning the World Series." Don't believe me? Just ask this guy.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 08:03 PM | Comments (2)

Saddam Still a Pain

Here's Patrick Ruffini, using Daniel Henninger as a spring board, on the post-war evaluation of the need for war:

I don't think that "imminent threat" is an appropriate standard to apply when deciding to wage war, or in this case, deciding whether the war was just. Either someone is a threat, or they're not. Either someone has the intent to harm you or they don't. September 11th, and to some extent, the fluctuating threat levels since, shows us how tricky it is to project just how "imminent" a threat is. Is an attack coming three days down the road, or three years? It's almost impossible to tell. This is why it's incoherent to say Saddam was a threat, but not an imminent threat. As September 11th showed, one can have vague chatter one day and planes crashing into buildings the next. At what point did we understand an attack on such a scale to be "imminent?" Never, and even if it were possible, it would be for a vanishingly short moment at one minute to midnight. Do we really want to let things slide that far?

The best defense is a good offense.

It still requires that evidence of Saddam's weapons programs must be found, or he wasn't really the threat many like me thought he was. But reasonable people can't claim Saddam never had WMD. U.N. inspectors knew about his programs since 1991.

Based on Henninger's sensible analysis, we won't get the people who know where the weapons are, the scientists, talking until Saddam is captured or killed. Maybe that's what this week's Operation Pennisula Strike is about?

President Bush was wrong to declare the war over. It won't be over until Saddam is found dead or alive. Until then, he'll be a thorn in our side.

"Where's the 'Intelligence'?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2003

TAM is "Adorable"

TAM is no longer a flappy bird. It's evolved into an "Adorable Little Rodents." I hope that's not a reference to prairie dogs. I only live in this state; I didn't start the monkeypox outbreak.

[via PoliBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

Israel/Hamas Death Match

Kris Lofgren is right on the money when he writes,

Once Palestinians understand that supporting Hamas in droves and encouraging their teenage children to walk onto a Jerusalem bus as a suicide bomber and kill a dozen people is a detriment to their long term goals of freedom from Israeli oppression, the sooner there will be peace. Until then, all 'roads' lead to a dead end.
That means Prime Minister Abbas might have to risk Palestinian civil war by going after Hamas if he really wants peace. Peace there won't happen as long as Hamas exists.

"Israel, Hamas Vow Fight to the Finish"

"Hamas Member Killed, Sharon Offers Truce"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:17 PM | Comments (1)


It seems our President had a little trouble with a Segway. [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 05:12 PM | Comments (0)

St. Anger's Violent Tendencies

I've been getting a bunch of referrals from Blogcritics on St. Anger. I'll return the favor with a reviewer who put is plainly: "this CD just punches a listener in the face." It's a forceful jab to the mouth, but it doesn't quit.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)

Praise Those Firemen

I found this last Peggy Noonan piece [boo!] via Oscar Jr. He notes the argument over whether to put a statue at Ground Zero honoring the firemen. Noonan writes,

And there is the declaration of the organizations of World Trade Center families-of-victims that there should not be a statue of the firemen at the WTC memorial site. Three hundred forty-three of them died that day, but to commemorate their sacrifice would be "hierarchical." They want it clear that no one was better than anyone else, that all alike were helpless, victims.
But that is not true; it is the opposite of the truth. The men and women working in the towers were there that morning, and died. The firemen and rescue workers--they weren't there, they went there. They didn't run from the fire, they ran into the fire. They didn't run down the staircase, they ran up the staircase. They didn't lose their lives, they gave them.

This is an important disagreement, because memorials teach. They teach the young what we, as a society, celebrate, hold high, honor. A statue of a man is an assertion: It asserts that his behavior is worthy of emulation. To leave a heroic statue of the firemen out of a WTC memorial would be as dishonest as it would be ungenerous, and would yield a memorial that is primarily about victimization. Which is not what that day was about, as so much subsequent history attests.

Radical egalitarianism has gone so far as to negate the heroic actions of those hundreds of men and women who saved thousands of lives. What they did was important. At that place and time, what they were doing was more important than what anyone else was doing. They were saving lives.

However, radical egalitarianism rules Ground Zero. We are not to remember the greatness of American commerce, its workforce, or its heroes. Instead, pain remorse will be enshrined in Libeskind's crystal palace of spikes and harsh edges.

"September 11 Today"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:34 PM | Comments (4)

Wisconsin Matters

This weekend, Wisconsin Democrats are holding their state party convention. In years past, this wasn't a nationally significant story. No body outside the state cared about the inner workings of state party. Since next year's Presidential primary has been moved up to February, Wisconsin is now in the crosshairs of Presidential wanna-be's.

"Wisconsin Could Be Crucial in 2004 Democratic Race"

"Don't Take Straw Polls Seriously"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2003

Internet-Assisted Suicide

Like everything in life the Internet brings good and bad. Quick communication and access to vast amounts of information are great. Tools like e-mail, the Web, chat rooms, and message boards also can help people end their lives as in the case of Suzy Gonzales. Those who hound websites like the one Gonzales frequented have taken moral relatvism to a new low. It's not enough for moral relativism to equate all cultures and their behaviors as morally equal. The philosophy is now at the point where ending one's life is morally equivalent to living one's life.

Should we be surprised that some people treat human life as just another consumable product? Should we really be surprised when some people treat suicide as another acceptable lifestyle choice? We're living in a culture that for 30 years has accepted the legalized killing of unborn children. We're at a point where new mothers and fathers receive little jail time for killing their newborns. A woman in New Jersey got only three years for killing her son.

This wanton disregard for human life will not end until we accept the basic humanity of all people regardless whether they're born or not. A place to start would be nixing Roe v. Wade.

"A Virtural Path to Suicide"


[Thanks to The Eye for the link.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 02:04 PM | Comments (5)


Congratulations to Mike and Dineen on the birth of their son, Alex.

I just hope they don't get too carried away with weblogging his life. We do want a second-generation weblogger.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2003

Hillary Potter

Here's the intro paragraph to a Washington Post story on Hillary's book sales:

For booksellers, this will always be remembered as the June when Hillary met Harry.

I know where that came from, but, as a bookseller, Living History will disappear from my memory. Since it's poorly written and laughable, Harry Potter-maina will dominate in my mind.

I wonder if Linton Weeks was auditioning for Hillary's speech writing staff. It sure sounding like fawning to me.

"'Hillary Potter'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:52 AM | Comments (3)

More Wreckage at Ground Zero

Lynn correctly described Libeskind's plan for Ground Zero as "a stylized representation of wreckage." Only the best non-transcendant, post-modern architecture for us.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:03 AM | Comments (2)

Paleo-Marxist Conspiracy and Secession

I must do more Paleowatches. That way I can give you more wacky nuggets like Jim Grichar's economic explanation for Big Business wanting a one-world government. He offers no evidence that this is the case. He just offers a list of reasons why Big Business would support a one-world state. Ironically, for being a rabid free marketer (he is writing on Anarchy Lew's weblog), his analysis is awfully Marxian where economics determines politics.

Then there's Marcus Epstein's comment on the Free State Project. It's skeptical about it. Instead of having limited government-types use the democratic process to shrink government, he prefers secession. Yeah, it seemed to work for a few states back in the 1860s.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2003

Iraqi Civilian Casualites

The AP tried to figure out how many Iraqi civilians were killed in the war. Their number is 3,240 and "sure to be significantly higher" because if they couldn't find hospital records to determine civilian versus military deaths, then they weren't counted. Their number also doesn't count victims who were never brought to hospitals. The AP's methodology seems sound and errs on the conservative side.

"AP Tallies 3,240 Civilian Deaths in Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 11:20 PM | Comments (1)

Happy Anniversary

Jim has been weblogging for a year. Congrats.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:49 PM | Comments (0)

Please Don't Eat Me

V's coming back.

"They're Back: V to Invade NBC Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:54 PM | Comments (3)

Hillary Can Sell Books (Even Bad Ones)

Hillary's book sold more than 40,000 copies across the vast Barnes & Noble empire making that a record non-fiction book for the company. While not giving out anything specific, at my store, the sales for Living History were brisk. The media attention worked, but I wonder how sales will do if more reviews like Michiko Kakutani's come out. About the book she wrote, "Overall the book has the overprocessed taste of a stump speech, the calculated polish of a string of anecdotes to be delivered on a television chat show."

"Hillary Clinton's Memoirs Selling Well"

"A 'Zone of Privacy' With Calculated Polish"

UPDATE: Steven at Poliblog links to a Susan Estrich column where she thinks Hillary's book is designed to damage Democratic Presidential hopes.

"Hillary's Tell-All Motives"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)

Go to RWN (Again)

A way to garner attention on the Internet is to give stuff away. But what do you do if you're an non-profit weblogger? What do you give away? Well, John Hawkins, the marketing genius that he is, is giving away links. It's the Link RWN & Win #2. I hope TAM has better luck this time.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:43 AM | Comments (0)

Iraqi Museums Not Ransacked

Remember the looting of Iraqi museums. Remember the outrage that history and culture were lost because ignorant American military men didn't risk their lives for clay tablet and old vases. Well, instead of the 170,000 items originally reported to have been stolen, American authorities have dropped that figure down to 33. That's it! Iraq's cultural heritage remains intact despite years of Saddam's oppression. Will we hear apologies from the anti-Bush crowd? I'll let you guess.

"All Along, Most Iraqi Relics Were 'Safe and Sound'" [via Right Wing News]

UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds found this Guardian analysis. My conclusion is that Dr Donny George, the Iraqi National Museum's director of research, is a Ba'ath shill, and anti-Americans fell for his lies.

"Lost from the Baghdad Museum: Truth"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2003

Hillary's Banal Book

I've been saving this post until today when Living History came out. All this is are two sentences from the book. The first one is the first one in the book. These are the first few words Hillary (and here ghostwriters) wrote to draw you in. Get ready, get set, hang on to your chair:

I wasn't born a first lady or a Senator. (p. 1)

That bit of banality begins this heralded tome. Hillary wasn't bestowed by birth to importance. What a shock! Most of us weren't either.

Farther into the book there comes the events with Monica Lewinski. Here's what Hillary, et. al. wrote:

Bill told me that Monica Lewinsky was an intern he had befriended two years earlier when she was volunterring in the West Wing during the government shutdown. (p. 441) [emphasis mine]
How are we supposed to read this sentence with a straight face knowing how much a cad Bill Clinton is? Maybe the only way to get through this book is to take every mention of Bill as a double entandre.

"Hillary's Memoir Hits the Shelves"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)

Abbas Caves Already

I was hoping Abbas might help things. He wasn't Arafat and not a terrorist. But he won't stand up to Hamas, et. al. any more than Yasir. Until the Palestinians reject terrorism and snuff it out, Israel has no choice but to fight fire with fire. If attacking Hamas means Palestinian civil war, then so be it. To echo Abraham Lincoln, a house divided (half terrorist, half civilized) cannot stand. A Palestinian state where terrorist organizations are allowed to exist will never bring peace and prosperity to the region.

"Israel Dismantles Uninhabited Settlement"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)

Armchair Analyst

Thank you Michael for the link to TAM and congratulations on graduation from UIC. You weren't the only one smiling about the Cubs.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

The Substance of Style

Virginia Postrel has a tentative book tour schedule to promote her new book coming out this fall. She'll be in Chicago, but I know of a certain bookstore in Milwaukee where a great admirer of hers works.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 03:20 AM | Comments (0)

Lots of Letters: WMD & Now I

Either I've turned the corner on the whole "where's the WMD" game, or I've realized Bush's opponents have gone loony in seeing this as their big chance to get the President. Robert Kagan states that if Bush is lying he's "part of a vast conspiratorial network of liars that includes U.N. weapons inspectors and reputable arms control experts both inside and outside government, both Republicans and Democrats." Kagan continues,

Maybe former CIA director John Deutch was lying when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Sept. 19, 1996, that "we believe that [Hussein] retains an undetermined quantity of chemical and biological agents that he would certainly have the ability to deliver against adversaries by aircraft or artillery or by Scud missile systems."

Maybe former defense secretary William Cohen was lying in April when he said, "I am absolutely convinced that there are weapons. . . . I saw evidence back in 1998 when we would see the inspectors being barred from gaining entry into a warehouse for three hours with trucks rolling up and then moving those trucks out."

Maybe the German intelligence service was lying when it reported in 2001 that Hussein might be three years away from being able to build three nuclear weapons and that by 2005 Iraq would have a missile with sufficient range to reach Europe.

Maybe French President Jacques Chirac was lying when he declared in February that there were probably weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that "we have to find and destroy them."

Maybe Al Gore was lying when he declared last September, based on what he learned as vice president, that Hussein had "stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Finally, there's former president Bill Clinton. In a February 1998 speech, Clinton described Iraq's "offensive biological warfare capability, notably 5,000 gallons of botulinum, which causes botulism; 2,000 gallons of anthrax; 25 biological-filled Scud warheads; and 157 aerial bombs." Clinton accurately reported the view of U.N. weapons inspectors "that Iraq still has stockpiles of chemical and biological munitions, a small force of Scud-type missiles, and the capacity to restart quickly its production program and build many, many more weapons." That was as unequivocal and unqualified a statement as any made by George W. Bush.

Everybody, the Germans, Russians, even the French were all in cahoots to start a war in Iraq and create a new era in international relations. If sounds like it's too much to believe there's a pretty good chance you shouldn't.

Despite John Dean's first mention of the "i" word from a pundit (it will be the buzz for the next news cycle) we're no where further than where we started. People are still looking for Saddam's WMD and Bush's opponents are desperate for anything to attack him with. In this instance, Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO), a Presidential candidate, didn't take a shot at his possible opponent, but said, "There is long, consistent, clear evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And I'm still convinced that we are going to find them." Maybe guys like Paul Krugman could learn from Gephardt's example.

"A Plot to Deceive?"

"Powell Slams Media on Iraq WMD Reports"

UPDATE: Dean Esmay gives us some needed recent historical perspective.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:50 AM | Comments (5)

June 07, 2003

Child Tax Credits

Brad at A Taxing Blog links [here and here] to two stories on child tax credits for the working poor. The Senate passed a bill and it's off to the House. I still can figure out how refundable tax credits to poor people who don't pay income taxes is different from a welfare check. I understand the theory is in the relm of the negative income tax, but the tax code is a roundabout way of income redistribution.

"Negative Income Tax"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:53 PM | Comments (1)

Stealing Hurts the Artist

Tony Rosen has a sensible view of music "sharing" (i.e. stealing). And you don't need a legal degree with emphasis on intellectual property to understand it.

[via Tiger]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:44 PM | Comments (1)

Howdy Neighbor

In a bit of sheer "brillance," state officials placed a convicted child molester next door to a shelter for sexually abused children. Something about a fox and a hen house comes to mind. The shelter's owner said, "Somebody is not talking to somebody. Somebody wasn't paying attention." Yup. Nuff said.

"Morford Home Near Abused Children"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:07 AM | Comments (0)

Linking Tips

Jay has posted the longest comment in the history of TAM. Golf clap for Jay. It deals with how he and the Right We Are! gals got a whole lot of links. You can either read Jay's comment for this post or read it on his weblog (be warned, it is a Blogspot permalink)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:30 AM | Comments (0)

Hope in France

If people like 21-year old Sabine Herold get into power, then France's economy could actually be reformed and U.S.-France relations could be repaired. She supported the war in Iraq, has been reading classical liberal thinkers like F. A. Hayek, and is appalled by her country's poor work ethic. "There is no value put on work in France. I've just come back from Hong Kong where people love to work. In France they are always looking for a way to get out of it," she said.

"The New Joan of Arc on a Crusade to Stop French Unions Causing Misery to Millions" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

P.B. and P.J.

Lots of posts on music recently, and here's another one. Pearl Jam has evolved from a alt/classic rock band and into a jam band with the requisite devoted fans. If it wasn't for groups like the Dave Matthews Band and Phish, Pearl Jam would be considered this era's Grateful Dead (and the remnants are still touring w/o Jerry Garcia). Eric Olsen wonders what the implications will be with Eddie Veder and the gang leaving Epic.

Now, if only Eddie would lay off the Bush bashing and they could make some good songs like they did on Ten and Vitology.

"The Music Biz in a Pearl Jam"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:14 AM | Comments (0)

Thanks Guys

Shout outs go to Dave Tepper, James at Outside the Beltway (who I've linked to a bunch of times), Matthew at A Fearful Symmetry (even if it is on Blogspot), Oscar Jr., Greyhawk's Mudville Gazette, Spiced Sass, Chris at painfultruth.org, and the ladies of Right We Are! (do they know any single women who would be interested in a guy who's intellectual hero is F. A. Hayek?). They've all linked to TAM.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:31 AM | Comments (5)

June 06, 2003

St. Anger

Thrash is back.

UPDATE: There are conflicting reviews of the album on Blogcritics. Ian Jeffs called St. Anger "one of the best Metallica albums" he's heard in years. Then there's Chris Puzak who thinks it's a "wasted opportunity."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2003

Living History

This New York Observer story makes it seem like Sen. Hillary Clinton's book, due out on 6.9, is being smothered in secrecy. Well, it may have been at the Simon & Schuster warehouse, but I was paging through the index (looking for Barry Goldwater references) a couple of nights ago at the bookstore I work at. If S&S really wanted to keep the lid on stuff in the book, they should have at least told bookstores to keep things under wraps. A bunch of copies are just sitting in storage areas across the country with nothing to stop a person like me from getting a head start on the public. There will be more concern when the new Harry Potter book arrives at stores.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:32 PM | Comments (0)

TAM is Flapping Away

According to N. Z. Bear's ecosystem, TAM is a "Flappy Bird." Up from being a "Slithering Reptile." I would like to thank all the members of the blogosphere who have made this possible. *sniff* *sniff* You like me! You really like me! At least a little.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:49 PM | Comments (1)

A Story of the Gulag

Keven Holtsberry reviews One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. A fitting book with the recent release of Anne Applebaum's Gulag.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 08:46 PM | Comments (0)

Running Back Treats Wife Like Linebacker

Micheal Pittman, running back for the Super Bowl Champions rammed his Hummer into a car carrying his wife, son, and baby sitter. This is his fourth arrest for assaulting his wife. Probation and a treatment program obviously didn't tone down this guy's rage. Some jail time could certainly do the trick.

To show that I'm not just pointing out a bad apple from a team that beat my beloved Packers last year, there's the story of Joe Johnson and the mysterious marijuana. He was arrested on May 22 along a highway in Georgia. On Monday, Johnson talked to reporters with his explanation summarized by a Journal Sentinel reporter:

He said the marijuana did not belong to him. He said his only connection to the marijuana was that he owned the vehicle in which it was found. He said he was in the area of the car at the time the marijuana was discovered and that he had driven the car at some point, although he didn't specify when.

Johnson must think Packers fans are a dumb as the foam cheeseheads some of us wear (myself excluded).

"Tampa Bay Running Back Charged with Assault"

"End Discusses Arrest"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)

Soak the Rich Again

The Raines-less NY Times cries tears for the poor not getting tax credits. How tax credits differ from welfare payments, I don't know, since the poor hardly pay any federal income tax.

Later on in the editorial, there's worry about the "deficit damage" from three years of GOP tax cuts. Oddly, there's no mention that Congress should cut spending, only that taxes on the rich should be raised.

"The Poor Held Hostage for Tax Cuts"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:29 PM | Comments (2)

Infosphere Not Planned

Glenn Reynolds feels the spirit of F. A. Hayek possess him and writes:

The Web, Wi-Fi, and Google didn't develop and spread because somebody at the Bureau of Central Knowledge Planning planned them. They developed, in large part, from the uncoordinated activities of individuals. Why can you find all sorts of stuff, from information about the Hephthalite huns to recipes for brewing beer and even recipes for cooking squirrel, on the Web? Because people thought it was cool enough (to them) to be worth the effort (on their part) of putting it online. We didn't need a thousand librarians with scanners, because we had a billion non-librarians with computers and divergent interests. Wi-Fi is springing up the same way: not as part of a national plan by the Responsible Authorities, but as part of a ground-up movement composed of millions of people who just want it.

Structures like the Web, Wi-Fi networks, or the Market in general grow from the ground up because the knowlege to do it consists of "dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess."

"Horizontal Knowledge"

"The Use of Knowledge in Society"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

Zeppelin #1

Led Zeppelin's How the West Was Won debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's album chart, and the DVD did pretty well too. Here's a Tom Johnson review if you can't decide if you should get it.

"Led Zeppelin - Winning the West Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

Raines on Times' Parade

With the resignations (firings) of Howell Raines and Gerald Boyd, the MRC's Brett Bozell wants the NY Times to end its "left-wing advocacy agenda."

If the Times' mess works the way most scandals work in American, both Jayson Blair and Howell Raines will write books. I think they should do a joint bio titled The Slave and the Slave Master. Mr. mtpolitics suggested Uncle Howell's Cabin.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)

The Mastermind of the United States

My week-and-a-half obsession with not finding Iraqi WMD may have come to an end thanks to Tony Blankley's excellent piece. He notes that the same critics of President Bush who claimed he was dim-witted, black-and-white, moralizing, Christian cowboy is now a "devious mastermind of a mind-bogglingly complex plot to deceive the world into thinking Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons." Bush's critics are so worked about all his successes that they're willing to drop any pretense of intellectual honesty in order to tar him.

"George 'Machiavelli' Bush? Nah" [via Power Line]

UPDATE: More thoughts over at Ipse Dixit. [via RAA Blog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 05:04 PM | Comments (0)

Lutheran Doesn't Believe

No, this post's title has nothing to do with ELCA. Instead, it deals with Thorkild Grosboel, a Danish minister who said, "is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." Not surprisingly, Grosboel was suspended by his bishop. Bishop Rebel did say Grosboel could return to his duties, but he would have to "consider making significant concessions, clarifying that he did not want to sow doubt about the Church's confession, but rather trigger a debate." I thought the debate over the existence of God was pretty much settled among Christians. It's kind of hard to believe in Jesus as your Savior if you reject his divinity.

To show how empty Danish Lutheran theology is, a leader of a Danish theological college thought Grosboel's comments were "refreshing." Heresy is more like it.

"Doubting Danish Priest Suspended" [via Best of the Web]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

June 04, 2003

Reductio's Trackback

Kevin installed a Trackback plug-in for his Nucleus-powered weblog. This post is a test for him. Just ignore if your eyes glaze over when the innards of weblogging software is discussed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:55 AM | Comments (1)

Economic Communication

The reason I like reading David Warsh's weekly Economic Principals column is he pulls back the curtain of the academic economics profession. In his latest, Warsh writes about what economists actually do. Even though the field is filled with intellectual problems (the substitution of mathematics for verbal logic is one), we get a glimpse at how economists talk to each other and share ideas.

"How to Play It Straight"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 03:06 AM | Comments (0)

Zinn the "Historian"

Dan Flynn offers plenty of reasons why you should not read Howard Zinn's A People’s History of the United States.

"Master of Deceit"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:26 AM | Comments (0)

Unequal Media

Because of Monday's FCC ruling, Clay Shirky writes about media concentration and compares Big Media to weblogs. The conclusions are astounding. A free media is very unequal.

In the last few years, however, we have had a clean test, and it's weblogs. Weblogs are the freest media the world has ever known. Within the universe of internet users, the costs of setting up a weblog are minor, and perhaps more importantly, require no financial investment, only time, thus greatly weakening the "freedom of the press for those who can afford one" effect. Furthermore, there is no Weblog Central -- you do not need to incorporate your weblog, you do not need to register your weblog, you do not need to clear your posts with anyone. Weblogs are the best attempt we've seen to date of making freedom of speech and freedom of the press the same freedom, in Mike Godwin's famous phrase.

And in this free, decentralized, diverse, and popular medium we find astonishing inequality, inequality so extreme it makes the distribution of television ratings look positively egalitarian. In fact, a review of any of the weblog tracking initiatives such as Technorati or the blogging ecosystem project shows thousand-fold imbalances between the most popular and average weblogs. These inequalities often fall into what's known as a power law distribution, a curve where a tiny number of sites account for a majority of the in-bound links, while the vast majority of sites have a very small number of such links. (Although the correlation with links and traffic is not perfect, it is a strong proxy for audience size.)

The reasons for this are complex (I addressed some of them in Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality), but from the point of view of analyzing the FCC ruling, the lesson of weblog popularity is clear: inequality can arise in systems where users are free to make choices among a large set of options, even in the absence of central control or manipulation. Inequality is not a priori evidence of manipulation, in other words; it can also be a side effect of large systems governed by popular choice.

This is F. A. Hayek's "spontaneous order" in action.

"The FCC, Weblogs, and Inequality"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:40 AM | Comments (0)

BT News

I like to consider myself a person with rather eclectic musical tastes. Last week, I was gung-ho about the new Led Zeppelin CD set (still digesting it; a review someday). The week before, I was surprised that King's X came out with a new album (that too I'm digesting). Yesterday, while looking through the hundreds of concerts set to have Milwaukee's lakeshore rocking later this month, I found BT will be manning the wheels of steel on July 4. If that wasn't enough, the Summerfest website linked to a BT weblog where I found out about a new single (streaming audio is found at the weblog) and upcoming album.

You may ask, "Who's this BT gent?" At least you might ask that in that way if you're some well-mannered Brit. BT is a one of the bigger names in electronic dance music. For a person who cut his teeth on late 80s hair metal and Led Zeppelin moving from rock to dance can be quite a shocker. But the trend from metal to dance music started with the industrial metal of Nine Inch Nails. Discoverning the art of the remix led to the Chemical Brothers and the Crystal Method which led me to the trance music of John Digweed, Sasha, and BT. I haven't lost my love of for the energetic beat of rock, it's just that my tastes have broadened.

Back to BT. He's been making dance music for over ten years (he has a greatest hits album). His break came with a remix of Tori Amos' "Blue Skies." Other people he's remixed include Sarah McLachlan, Depeche Mode, and Madonna.

His sound has ranged from the dreamy melodic trance of "Flaming June" to the urban funk of "The Hip-Hop Phenomenon" to the alt-rock of "Never Gonna Come Back Down." His production work on *NSYNC's Celebrity album was described as "dirty pop." The song "Pop" was filled with instruments and vocals digitally chopped up and distorted. While it made for a mildly interesting listen, the song is by *NSYNC with all their flaws.

Well, I now know where I'll be July 4th.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:22 AM | Comments (3)

WMD Was the Reason for War

To reinforce my claim that the administration went to war because of Iraq's WMD is this comment from Paul Wolfowitz while in Japan:

But there should be no doubt whatsoever this was a war undertaken because our President and the Prime Minister of England and the other countries that joined with us believe -- and I think they believe correctly -- that this regime was a threat to our security and a threat that we could no longer live with. It is also the case that, beyond a shadow of any doubt whatsoever, this regime was a horrible abuser of its own people and that there is no question the Iraqi people are far better off with that regime gone.

It's important to know if intelligence was wrong or *shudder* even manipulated. WMD and terrorism was the reason we went to war. Daniel Pipes can't go back and change the past.

And to demonstrate I'm not turning against the war, I'm linking to Hussain Hindawi's and John Thomson's article offering enough logical explanations to keep me a patient and hopeful observer.

Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Media Availability at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo

"Cracking the WMD Case" [via Reductio]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:01 AM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2003

Metallica Thursday

The cynical Mr. Tom Johnson isn't thrilled with the new Metallica album coming out a few days early, but for me, this is turning out to be a summer packed with interesting disks. I am a little worried that I saw big promotional posters for St. Anger in Wal-Mart of all places. And I don't mean in the music section. I saw them over by the cash registers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Cam Edwards on WMD

Why Cam Edwards isn't in my blogroll yet, I don't know. But his thoughts on WMD (see Cam, no "s") have earned him a place on that vaunted pixel strip of HTML.

"Where Are the WMD?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

Blogging Songs

Cam Edwards inspired this idea with his comment from the mainstreaming of weblogs, "As soon as someone writes a song about it (i.e. "Convoy", "Email my Heart") then you know blogging has gone mainstream."

Here are some song titles:

  • "This is Blogged to the One I Love"
  • "Blog in the Name of Love" (it's probably happening right now)
  • "Kickstart My Blog" (for all the Motley Crew fans out there)
  • "Stairway to the Blogosphere" (for the classic rockers and dedicated Led Zep fans)
  • "Block Blogging Beats" (for the ravers)
  • "Where Ever I May Blog" (for the wi-fi Metallica set)
  • "Shake, Rattle, and Blog"
  • "Blog As You Are" (for the aging grunge crowd who still can believe Kurt's gone)
  • "Blogger Boi" (for the teen psuedo-punk crowd)
  • "Ring of Blogs"

Feel free to add your own via the comments or e-mail. No prizes, just plenty of ego-boo.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)

Committees to Look at WMD Claims

Committees in the U.S. and U.K. will be investigating the evidence and reasoning behind going to war in Iraq.

It's not enough for Bush critics to use the fact that few indications of Iraqi WMDs have been found. They have to put together some explanation of why Saddam would snub his nose to U.N. inspectors for years resulting in economic sanctions when all he had to do was let inspectors in and embarass the U.S. Doing that would have make Saddam a huge hero in the Muslim world.

"British Lawmaker Panel to Probe Iraq War"

"US Congress to Probe US Intelligence on Iraq's Alleged WMD"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

Pipes on WMDs

Daniel Pipes chimes in on the lack of discovered WMDs. He's not worried because that wasn't the reason for going to war.

The campaign in Iraq is ultimately not about weapons. It's not about the United Nations. And it's not about Iraqi freedom.

It is about keeping promises to the United States - or paying the consequences.

And I thought it was about U.S. national security. This feels very disingenuous, almost bait-and-switch like. Before the war, I never heard anyone claim we had to topple Saddam because he broke his post-Gulf War agreement. No, it was about violating U.N. resolutions (which I cared little about), having WMDs, and links to terrorism. Pipes' new reason for war feels way too much like him covering his arse.

Adam Kushner at The Filibuster characterizes my unease. He has two problems with no finding WMDs even though he's happy Iraqis are free:

I happen to agree, but here are two major problems: (1) "The right thing to do" argument was never the primary motivation of the Bush administration, as even the president acknowledged. If it were, we would have to deal in earnest with humanitarian crises around the world (Congo, anyone?). The war was framed from the start as a national security issue: stop WMD development and end support for anti-liberal terrorism. (2) How can we trust the motives of certain Anglophone administrations if it turns out that their most salient arguments are based on spurious lies?

Not finding WMDs is a matter of trust with the government. I still trust that WMDs will be found. But if they aren't, it's going to take a lot of convincing should they decide another military excursion (Syria, Iran, North Korea) is in order.

"Iraq's Weapons & the Road to War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 05:11 PM | Comments (0)

Weblogs Go Mainstream

John Dvorak predicts weblogs will explode onto the pop culture.

Let me stop here for a moment and make some specific predictions. Within the next year, both David Letterman and Jay Leno will make jokes about blogs and even discuss them. "Nightline" will do an entire show on blogging. San Jose journalist and blog promoter Dan Gillmor will be a guest for the episode. This is the point where blogging will become mainstream. Shortly thereafter, we will see blogging millionaires, as venture capitalists figure out ways to make money from the trend.

How many television news stories will Glenn and Andrew be interviewed on? Will there be a running total, a kind of race to see who can beat the other? Which weblogger will get their own show? It sounds like something TechTV would try. Will any of the many, many minor webloggers get some substantial buzz? Will this whole phenomenon just get too big and collapse upon itself going the way of the CB radio fad?

"Blogs: The Next Big Thing" [via Right Wing News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:34 PM | Comments (3)

June 02, 2003

Reflections on WMDs

You've noticed I'm a little conflicted over the Iraq's WMDs. The best evidence has been two mobile bioweapons labs that look just like the ones Colin Powell described in his U.N. speech. That says to me Saddam had an active weapons program. What that doesn't tell me is did Iraq have the sort of weapons available to make them a threat to the U.S.? Being an evil, brutal regime that slaughtered its own people isn't enough justification for war. That isn't enough to send American men and women overseas to die. I didn't support NATO's bombing to defend the Kosovars because I didn't see any U.S. interests at stake. There are a lot of bad countries in the world that are no threat to the U.S. Venezuala is an example where an elected president decided he wanted to consolidate power and clamp down on opponents. Venezuala even has oil, and there's been not one scrap of talk from any Bush official that the U.S. should force regime change.

The buzz in Washington has been about Iraq's WMDs and a possible intelligence hoax.
William Safire writes in his column that the allies had to be conservative in their intelligence conclusions. They had to err on the side of caution. He writes,

When weighing the murky evidence of an aggressive tyranny's weapons, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair were obliged to take no chances. The burden on proof was on Saddam. By his contempt, he invited invasion; by its response, the coalition established the credibility of its resolve. There was no "intelligence hoax."

Then there's Tony Blair who is adamant that WMDs will be found. Politically, he has more to lose if the WMD claim was a hoax. His government could fall. He insists "Over the coming weeks and months we will assemble this evidence and then we will give it to people."

And I shouldn't forget to mention that anti-war countries like France, Germany, and Russia never claimed Saddam didn't have WMDs. Their complaint was going to war without their approval. Sean Penn can crow that he was right, but those who had a better opportunity of really knowing never challenged the allies on this point.

I'm more sanguine about the war than my past posts have shown. Seeing millions of people gulp freedom's sweet taste for the first time does that to you. But my support of this war was predicated on Iraq having WMDs. If we find out they didn't then either the administration lied to the world or the U.S.'s and U.K.'s intellegence services are incompetent (even including Kevin Whited's note that "is an imprecise business").

[Kudos to James Joyner for the Safire link.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:11 PM | Comments (0)

TiVo Selling Data

TiVo has to be very careful about selling tv viewing data. They have great technology that I can't imagine living without, but if they sell out the privacy of their customers by selling personal viewing habits, then many will move to ReplayTV.

"TiVo to Sell Customer Viewing Data"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2003

WMD Evidence Has Been Found

Thanks for Power Line for linking to a story where President Bush reminded us that two trailers have been discovered in Iraq that appear to be mobile bioweapons factories. Let's let the President speak for himself:

You remember when [Secretary of State] Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them.

"Bush: 'We Found' Banned Weapons"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)