July 31, 2003
Snazzy Packers Tickets
Alright, I should be asleep, but the good-looking Packers tickets have to be mentioned.
"Packers Tickets Sport a Makeover"
Neppie inspired me to list a few "best" movies to supplement my list below.
Best Drama: Citizen Kane--Kane is so complex. You love, hate, pity, and want to be him all at the same time.
Best Comedy: Ghostbusters--It has my favorite line, "Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!"
Best Movie I Should Have Never Seen: Mr. Smith Goes To Washington--I was waiting months to rent this and had my hopes up. It was ok, but too hokey. Maybe I just don't appreciate Jimmy Stewart as much as I should.
Best Sci-Fi Movie: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back--This has all the action, laser blasts, flying, and explosions a kid (or kid at heart) could want.
Best Non-Sci-Fi Action Movie: Die Hard--John McClane didn't really stand a chance against a bunch of terrorists-turned-thiefs, but he killed them all off and looked good doing it. Just fast forward the scene where he's pulling the glass pieces out of his feet. Ick!
Best Western: Unforgiven--I don't like the genre, but this movie kind of stands out. I know it's not much of a defense.
Best Sports Movie: Bull Durham--Funny, sexy and passionate about baseball.
Best Really Long Movie (3+ hours): Giant--The canvas director George Stevens paints on is huge cinamatically and temporally. The story intertwines economics, racism, and love. James Dean also steals the show.
I have to call it a night, but I want more catagories. Offer one up (give me some strange ones), and I'll see if I can come up with a movie.
Sign Up for BloggerCon
To get an invitation to BloggerCon sign up here and get the bulletins. I plan on being there, will you?
On a technical note: I want w.bloggar to have a trackback feature. Right now, I'm pasting the trackback URL into my post and fixing it in MT, but sometimes (as in this case if you caught it) I forget.
More PAM Support
James Pethokoukis provides some real examples of event markets at work. He also takes a great shot at Sen. Clinton (D-NY) the Queen of Futures Markets in the Senate.
French Biffed It
A French citizen was being held by Colombian rebels. Here's what the French did:
A Hercules C-130 transporter landed in Manaus, the closest large Brazilian city to the Colombian border, but Brazil ordered it out, saying France had given no warning over the mission's nature.
But here's the kicker:
Ms Betancourt was not freed and the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) group, which has been holding her for more than a year, denied it was intending to free her.
And now France had to apologize to Brazil. No wonder the French oppose unilateralism, they can't do it right themselves.
For full disclosure, here are my picks for the best movies of all time (in no particular order) as given to John Hawkins for his list:
I have to second Michele's comment that "Those of you who rank Star Wars: A New Hope above ESB are just plain old crazy."
I will now open it up to my audience of three: me, myself, and wandering flake looking for Ann Coulter porn. (My, was that a bit of Google-whoring?)
Kate also links to a story on a surgeon who has come up with some stories for why color-blindness, left-handedness, and homosexuality are characteristics still present in some members of the human race.
A problem with these sociobiological stories are simply that they are only stories. At least in the small article Dr. Leonard Shlain offers no evidence that his stories are the explanation for those traits. Give me a little time and I can come up with stories that are just a plausible and differ significantly from Dr. Shlain's. What's his plan to prove his stories are true? It might be found in his book Sex, Time, and Power.
"Being A Color-Blind, Bald, Left-Handed Homosexual Man Has Evolutionary Benefits"
WMD in Iraq
Kate is confident that WMD will be found in Iraq:
After the flak after Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. in February, and all of the false-positives on various items discovered since the start of the war, I have no doubt that any case presented to the world will be iron-clad. My guess is that we'll not only have located the actual weapons and tested them, but we'll have pulled in quite a few intelligence agencies from other countries to perform their own verifications; we'll have videotaped and written statements by Iraqi scientists and military leaders; we'll have photos, sat photos, maps, charts, graphs, and every other piece of documentary evidence that you can imagine.
She's absolutely right on her last post.
"Don't Be Surprised"
Webloggers Pick Movies
Right Wing News, the VH1 of the Blogosphere, has posted the Greatest Movies of All Time. Being the Internet, Star Wars got the top spot.
"Bloggers Select The 15 Greatest Movies Of All-Time"
July 30, 2003
The fantasy football league is half-way filled. There are still 5 spots remaining. Go here for the vital info.
For those of you who have joined and noticed some weird line-ups, that was just me not thinking clearly when I set up the league. If you have any concerns leave a comment or e-mail me.
Price Must Equal Costs, But What Costs?
James DeLong writes on how the idea of marginal costs have been taken from their theoretical context and distorted as weapons in policy debates. Here's a key paragraph:
The axiom "prices must equal marginal cost" does not tell you whether the relevant time dimension is a decade, a year, or an hour, which makes it into a meaningless statement. So to set up an identity between marginal cost and price, without a tight specification of the assumptions about time, or to assume that short-term marginal cost is the ticket, produces nonsense.
Quote of the Day
Saddam Hussein is no longer bad news. He's a piece of trash waiting to be collected.--Colin Powell
Name Wasn't PAM's Problem
Let me respond to James Joyner's critique of PAM:
Indeed. But this is yet another case (TIPS being the most obvious previous example) of a potentially useful program being killed because the geniuses behind it decided to play cloak and dagger with it rather than being up front. Had they approached it differently--and come up with a better name--they might have headed off the objections at the pass.
What better name could they have come up with? It was a futures market for terrorist events. The name was the marketing problem--Policy Analysis Market is pretty innocuous. No, the government should have made an attempt to argue PAM's benefits. After a day of reading weblogs, officials could have put together a few good talking points.
Raimondo Sees No Distinctions
Justin Raimondo compares Israel's building of wall between itself and Palestine with the Soviet's building the Berlin Wall, then goes on to compare Israeli actions to defend itself against terrorists with Nazi efforts to wipe out Jews. Disgusting.
Weird Recall Ruling
This judge's ruling, like many from the Left Coast, makes no sense. U.S. District Judge Barry Moskowitz ruled that voters can choose the successor to Gov. Gray Davis even if they don't vote on whether he should be recalled. This judge is allowing people who can't make a simple yes/no decision to choose the next governor. If you don't know if Davis should be kicked out of office how would you know who would make the best successor? It also doesn't make sense for someone who doesn't want Davis recalled to pick his replacement. This is goofy and could only happen in California.
And how did this become a federal case? How was this unconstitutional?
"Federal Judge Strikes Down Portion of State's Recall Law"
Noah Shachtman has a story on PAM defenders. There are plenty of examples in it where markets are pretty good predictors. Noah's weblog also has links to other PAM stories [here and here]. What really caught my eye are links to markets predicting future homeland security alerts and the extend and duration of SARS outbreaks. Does Sen. Wyden (D-OR) think this is "grotesque?"
For some academic thinking into events markets, Robin Hanson has a page with links to his own research as well as other documents.
"The Case for Terrorism Futures"
One Cool Mag
The NY Times Book Review reviewed Gary Wolf's Wired. David Carr writes that the book isn't so much a romance as the subtitle states as a "theological autopsy of a religion that flourished and went away in less than a decade."
"Wired: The Coolest Magazine on the Planet"
10 Worst Songs
UPDATE: I forgot to mention THE worst song I have ever heard. Even if I think about it I cringe. That song would be Styx's "Mr. Roboto." It's bad Queen, bad Broadway, and has insipid lyrics. So that means I have 11 worst songs.
Michele's post makes me glad I don't remember my dreams.
"This One Time, at Blogger Camp..."
An electronic market where traders would buy and sell futures on economic, civil, and military events was a great idea. Too bad the Pentagon caved in to some Congressional pressure.
The premise was to use markets to gather dispersed information into a form policy makers and strategists could use to base their anti-terrorism plans. Sounds goofy? How could millions of people possibly know if Jordan's monarchy was about to fall in a coup? Participants in the market would presumably read newspapers, books, websites, watch television, or even talk with people who have insider information. With the explosion of media sources no one person can possibly read and listen to everything. People will following little snippets of the whole story. The market comes in to give people an incentive to make their educated guesses profitable. If there were rumblings within the Palestinian Authority, Policy Analysis Market (PAM) activity in an Arafat assassination future could catch policy makers' attention. Just like CNBC reports talk to corporate officials when their stocks make unexpected moves, officials and the media would get curious over futures activity.
F.A. Hayek wrote on how the market allows dispersed information to be used to generate economic activity. PAM would have served a similar role in terrorism analysis. Hayek writes on the economy, but it can be applied in our current situation:
The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequesntly contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.
In a press release, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said, "We need to focus our resources on responsible intelligence gathering, on real terrorist threats." That is what PAM would have done. With the enourmous quantity of data flooding our intelligence agencies officials need some way to distill it. Supercomputers and lots of human analysts are one way, and using dispersed knowledge and the profit motive is another.
Should U.S. policy be determined only by the results of an events market? No, what PAM could have offered was an innovative mechanism for evaluating global threats. Since humans operate in markets and they're fallible market information won't be perfect. What PAM would have done process information human eyes might never see.
How an events market can guide policy makers toward the correct decisions is explained by Hayek:
The most significant fact about this system [the market] is the economy of knowledge with which it operates, or how little the individual participants need to know in order to be able to take the right action. In abbreviated form, by a kind of symbol, only the most essential information is passed on and passed on only to those concerned. It is more than a metaphor to describe the price system as a kind of machinery for registering change, or a system of telecommunications which enables individual producers to watch merely the movement of a few pointers, as an engineer might watch the hands of a few dials, in order ot adjust their activities to changes of which they may never know more than is reflected in the price movement.
"Real intelligence" is knowing what's going to happen in the future. PAM would have helped.
Democrats and Bush bashers went ga-ga over PAM. Kris Lofgren's freaking out. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) called the events market idea "wasteful" and "repugnant."
Since people already profit off weather futures and Presidential elections a terrorist events market doesn't seem that bizarre. But it does to people who don't appreciate the information-gathering abilities of markets.
Wyden and Dorgan won. The PAM website is down and with it went an innovative way to predict future crises.
UPDATE: Tyler Cowen compares PAM to Las Vegas odds-makers.
UPDATE II: John Cole at Balloon Juice calls the PAM cave-in "disgusting."
AfricaBlog has a laudable goal:
The goal is to create a site that focuses on the challenges faced by the West in developing policies that help lift the continent of Africa out of the political and economic strife that has plagued the continent.
There's already a discussion on some of the root causes for Africa's political economic problems. It will be interesting to see what's posted.
[via Jay Solo]
July 29, 2003
Bring It On!
ScrappleFace's post on airline commuters telling terrorists to "Bring it on!" is funny but also true. Passengers won't sit quietly if their plane gets hijacked. They'll fight back because a possible alternative is certain death. If the Pentagon wouldn't have wimped out on their terrorist futures market, I'd have recommended shorting September 11-style attacks.
"Airline Passenger to Al Qaeda: 'Bring it On'"
A Director is Born
"Ode to Rachel Corrie" is an original web movie by Michelle.
Fantasy Football Options
Fantasy football players have plenty of options for Internet leagues. Here are some well-known options:
I've compared these services solely on price. Most of my experience has been with ESPN.com and Yahoo so I can say anything on how nice SportsLine.com is.
Bum for Governor
OTB links to a story on some of the people running for California governor. The entrance fee is pretty low. You only need 65 signatures and $3500 or 10,000 signatures and no cash. That's not a lot, but how can "Homeless Navy vet Jerry Morissette (I) -- the adopted caretaker of an I-280 highway rest stop garden" afford to enter? If he has $3500 why is he homeless unless he chooses to be? Or will he harass thousands of people who come to his rest stop to sign his petition? Will he threaten to breathe on people if they don't sign?
This is turning into a British election with every Tom, Dick, and Harry jumping in the race.
Thanks to Firefive for putting TAM on his blogroll.
Only 21 days until Webloggers draft day. Only three teams have signed up so there's plenty of room left. Just go to Yahoo's page and register. Here's the league info:
The draft is at an odd time of the day. If you can't make the live one, you can still play. Just fill out your player rankings and they'll be automatically picked (if still available).
When GenCon moved from Milwaukee to Indianapolis, the news coverage moved with it. Instead of the special section the Journal Sentinel use to give before the convention started, they're now down to one story printed after the con ended.
By the way, doesn't Stanley Miller II look a lot like Oliver Willis?
"High-Tech Fantasy Enchants Traditional Gamers"
Messed Up Priorities
California is suffering the worst budget crisis in its history. It's gotten so bad, voters will decide if they want to recall their governor this fall. While all this is happening, the legislature is poised to heavily regulate phone companies. Poor phone service is the last of California's problems right now.
In a Weekly Standard interview (sorry, not online) Dennis Miller said California was turning into Sweden. This "Bill of Rights" certainly demonstrates that.
"Telcos Scowl at 'Bill of Rights'"
TAM: Readers' Blog
Oscar Jr. has confirmed my suspicion that TAM is a "readers blog" as opposed to a "bloggers blog." According to his analysis, TAM gets "47 more visits per day than would be predicted giving the number of inbound links to, and the age of, your site." I noted in a comment on his site that on most days TAM's biggest referrer is bookmarks. That piece of information backs up Oscar's analysis.
The easiest conclusion I can come to is my audience contains many people who don't have weblogs of their own. If they did then TAM would have more links and fewer bookmark referrers. My audience either doesn't have time to write to their own weblog or just use TAM as part of their daily info fix.
Why TAM draws readers and not webloggers, I don't know. Any ideas from the peanut gallery?
Fisking Tom Tomorrow
Radley Balko rips apart a cartoon on libertarian ideas. Great effort.
July 28, 2003
Bob Hope R.I.P.
Bob Hope died today. He was 100. Since I wrote a little on him when he turned 100 a few months ago, I'll just quote myself:
Today's Bob Hope's birthday. Many thanks should go to a very funny man who devoted so much time to entertaining our soldiers here and abroad. One World War II veteran wrote to him, "We are grateful we had someone who cared enough to come to the danger zones. You deserve to be an honorary veteran."
"Entertainer Bob Hope Dies at 100"
Vote for the Gipper
Fantasy Football League
Attention football fanatics! I challenge readers and fellow webloggers to a season of frantic, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and, at times, hilarious fantasy football. For those of you who don't know the game, it doesn't involve Hooters' girls putting on pads every weekend. It's a simple, yet sophisticated game of drafting players, picking a line-up each week, and hoping the Metrodome's astroturf doesn't tear up your star running back's knee. There is a total of 10 teams in the league, so space is limited. To join, go to Yahoo! Fantasy Football and register. Here's the info for the Webloggers League:
If space runs out and there are people interested in joining a league, I'd consider joining an ESPN or Sportsline league.
Going to California
Sharp legal minds are needed to determine the residency requirements to run for California governor. Here's what I have from Rich Galen:
The California constitution requires five years of residency to be Governor but a footnote says "it is the opinion of [the office of the California Secretary of State] that this provision violates the U.S. Constitution."
If the Secretary of State is right, then forget 2008 and let's get Glenn on the ballot in California. If he won, I'd take some boring highway commission post just to post on all the corruption and waste taking place.
Wish Kevin and his family God's blessings during this hard time.
July 27, 2003
My sister saw Seabiscuit and loved it. It's her "favorite movie of all time." She also wants me to get the book for her. There might be a few left at my store. It's been selling very well.
"Seabiscuit Overtakes Hard Times, Sprints Home"
Michele is "too old for this shit," but you know she'll do it again next year.
Laurence wins the TAM Dedication Award. He weblogged for 24 hours straight and goes to work at a new job tomorrow. You're co-workers will just love your Monday morning demeanor.
Joni listed her food and drink consumption for the past day. You know you're desparate for posting material if you're down to that.
And speaking of desparate, Kevin was desparate enough to post a lesbian picture. When all else fails, think with the groin.
Good job all. You survived and lived to post about it.
If Maryland school were actually businesses (and not just "run like businesses") there would be a few bankrupt ones. Why? Because they're paying teachers $110,000 to teach phy ed. For that kind of money, there shouldn't be any obese kids at that school.
"$110,000 to Teach Phys Ed"
Bucks Coach Candidates
For the three people who read this that care about the Milwaukee Bucks, here are some rumored replacements for George Karl's job:
On the early list of candidates for the Bucks job is Hawks interim coach (and former Milwaukee assistant) Terry Stotts, whose falling out with former Bucks coach George Karl remains a mystery. Other possibilities are Pistons assistant Mike Woodson, Kings assistant Terry Porter, Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni and Bucks assistant Sam Mitchell. Milwaukee would like a coach who can identify with and grow with its young roster.
Of those listed, I like either Stotts or Porter. Stotts is a well-respected up-and-comer while Porter has local connections and his court savy could fare well with a young team.
"Inside Dish: Hawks Shed No Tears over Robinson's Departure"
Ambassador to France
I've been nominated for Ambassador to France. I'm honored. If Glenn's elected and the Senate confirms me I'll do my best to bug the hell out of them while sampling as much of the fine cuisine the French would offer to butter me up (and they are French so lots of butter would be used). I would give lots of pro-Israel speeches at synagogues and help pro-democracy Iranian dissidents. I would also visit lots of American institutions like McDonalds and Euro Disney. Finally, I'd try to get Paris a NFL Europe team.
After about 10 hours away from the computer it's time to check on our Internet money-making friends.
From these cam shots I'll be nice and say most of them look like hell.
Kevin has pleasantly forced me to listen to cool 80s tunes.
You know Laurence has been up way too long when he's publically fantasizing about ACME products.
Michelle was desparate for material so she told us her dream about a member of Slayer.
Last, but not least, Joni posted on her cat whisker collection.
Keep it up guys. You don't have that much longer to go. What am I saying? You guys have HOURS TO GO!!! Are those eyes getting heavy? I promise not to dream about you when I'm catching my Z's. Good night.
July 26, 2003
Blogathon is Go
America's Defining Events
Kate got all hacked off at John Hawkins' greatest Americans list so she decided to put together a list of her own: the 50 Most Defining Events In American History. When I think of "defining" I look at events that have caused important trends--both good and bad. Here are some events just off the top of my head.
Legal Downloads on Campus
Finally, Big Music is looking for some model beyond selling CDs. The industry is talking to colleges about legal media downloading services that would be similar to cable television. This won't stop the lawsuits because legal downloads would still leak out onto illegal file-trading systems.
"RIAA, Colleges Seek Piracy Fix"
July 25, 2003
Call Me Darth Sean
Thanks to resurrectionsong for the link.
July 24, 2003
No, you're not tripping on some bad batch of acid. The picture is real. Give him a green tummy and we'd have a living, breathing Barney. Scary.
Duck Wins Nomination
At least that's what Hugh Hewitt predicts:
John Hawkins: In a related question to that, who do you see coming out of the primaries for the Democrats in 2004?
There's plenty of other good stuff in John Hawkins' interview with Hewitt. Read it all.
Rich Galen has a great story on a re-count way back in 1984 that led to the GOP take over in 1994 and the political hardball of the 2000 Florida re-count.
"The Thomas-Crowd Affair"
After reading this Wired News story I did a quick Google search for fantasy football weblogs and came up with one that hasn't been updated since last year. This is a niche that could garner a lot of traffic. If there is any interest I'd be willing to start up a group weblog on my server. Just leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
"Divvying Up the Pigskin Pie"
Bush Action Figure
President Bush now has his very own action figure. Not bad, but it should have had him in his flight suit.
The company is taking votes for their next figure. Right now, Bill Clinton is leading. He can't win. We don't need a toy that bites his lip along with female victim's. Would there be a cigar accessory along with it? Vote early, vote often and do your part to make sure Clinton doesn't win.
What Toypresidents should come out with are X-Presidents action figures.
We'll Be Korea Soon
For a glimpse of what a truly wired America will look like, there's this Forbes.com article on South Korea where 70% of homes have broadband connections.
"Korea's Weird Wired World"
A Google Browser?
Anil Dash on Mozilla and Google's new business focus:
Since Google's all but announced that they're no longer "just search", I'd probably amend my qualms about lack of focus and say that if Google wants to own the entire area of information innovation, they need to be significant contributors to the evolution of Mozilla.
A browser hooked into Google sounds good. But imagine if Microsoft did something like this? There would be screaming from geeks across the globe. We would here stuff like, "That monopolist is using their brower monopoly to extend it to their other businesses. Gates must be stopped! Call your Congressman! Elliot Spitzer, file a lawsuit!" Yet that's what Anil suggests Google do.
If Google went down this path, I'd have no problem with it, just like I'd have no problem with MS doing something similar. There isn't a browser monopoly. Many different products are available and anyone can learn a programming language and write their own browser. I'll just keep this post tucked away for the next time MS does something "monopolistic."
July 23, 2003
So, if you post some stuff about Kobe Bryant's rape case you get a flood of trolls. It's been said that any publicity is good publicity, but on the Web any traffic isn't necessarily good traffic.
"Your Search Cannot be Completed"
Only When a Democrat is President
The Washington Times reminds us that Sen. John F. Kerry's Iraq War complaints are nothing more than Presidential politicking:
But let's revisit Nov. 17, 1997, when nobody else in Washington except the Inside the Beltway column led with an item headlined, "Finish the mission."
Laurence has posted an invitation to the world's second-most-wanted man:
OPEN LETTER TO SADDAM HUSSEIN:
There's still a few days left until Blogathon 2003. Sadly, TAM will not be participating. I'll be earning money to fix the AC in my new (used) car. It was a steal so I have no problem putting a little money into it.
As a show of solidarity here are a few webloggers who will be posting 24-hours straight for some good causes:
Support them. Them's good people, and none of them are posting for some lame Lefty cause.
We Shouldn't Have Killed Them
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) sounds like he prefered that Uday and Qusay Hussein, two of Iraq's chief brutalizers were still alive. Instead of praising the work of U.S. troops on vanquishing those evil men, Rangel mocked them by saying, "I personally don't get any satisfaction that it takes 200,000 troops, 250,000 troops, to knock off two bums." At least he had enough moral sense to call Uday and Qusay "bums."
In Iraq, instead of indignation, there was jubilation.
As word spread of the deaths of the feared and ruthless brothers, celebratory gunfire crackled across night-time Baghdad.
UPDATE: It's informative to write an article on how the U.S. has been ignoring the (stupid) ban on political assassination; but George Gedda makes it look like the U.S. were the bad guys here. Remember, we didn't start this war, and I have little sympathy for the deaths of those two tyrants.
Somehow Teapot Dome came up in a conversation with a friend last night. So, as a service to you, I offer this brief article on the Watergate of the 1920s, Teapot Dome. Politics, bribery, scandal, and Congressional investigations--and it didn't involve the Clintons.
July 22, 2003
Michelle's a Packers Fan
Michelle has the best Packers story I've ever read in the Blogosphere. Why she hasn't been on it before I don't know, but she's earned her way onto my blogroll.
"Answering Steve's Burning Question: Why do I Root for the Packers?"
My music tastes are a bit out of the mainstream. So if I could find some stuff I wanted the selection should be enough for the average Joe. I looked up King's X. Great, there were six albums listed. Not bad since their other albums are through independent labels. I clicked on Faith, Hope, Love and discovered I could almost download the entire album. All the songs are available except "Faith, Hope, Love." For the Gretchen Goes To Nebraska album two songs can't be downloaded. I'm guessing BuyMusic.com couldn't get all the proper permissions from artists, companies, and songwriters for every song, and that's why it's unavailable.
Then there are the restrictions. Some albums and songs only allow a limited number of downloads, transfers to music players, and CD burns, while others allow you unlimited transfers and burns. Rush's greatest hits collection Chronicles lets you have unlimited transfers and burns. That's great, but even better is the price. For only $9.99 you get 28 songs. If you went to a store, you could easily pay twice as much. So without having to hunt through used music shops or wait for your used copy you bought through Half.com to arrive, you can be listening to Rush's greatest hits.
A way around the burning restriction (if the song has any) is to burn the song onto a CD then rip it back onto your computer as an MP3. I can't think of a reason why that wouldn't work.
You also have to use Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player 9. If you don't like that, you'll have to wait until iTunes comes to the PC.
BuyMusic.com also has some quirkiness. You can download U2's Wide Awake In America for $9.99, or you can download the four individual tracks for $0.99 each. And I can't believe they really are selling a KISS 4-CD box set for only $9.99. If I'm wrong, my cable modem will get quite a workout tonight.
What isn't available? There's no Janet Jackson, but there is Michael Jackson (not all songs off Thriller are available). No Beatles, Led Zeppelin, or the Rolling Stones, but there's plenty of Elvis. There's a lack of dance/electronica music. Showing no catagory tipped me off, but I did some searches anyway. There's nothing from the Chemical Brothers, John Digweed, Prodigy, or Sasha; and only a anthology from Moby.
BuyMusic.com has a service that looks to be a serious alternative to illegal music downloading.
In a related story, Michael Jackson doesn't want online music pirates to go to jail. Let's see, would we be better off filling jails with Kazaa users or with real threats to society?
"Pop Icon Michael Jackson Comes out Against Locking up Music Pirates"
I'm looking for suggestions on news aggregators. Feedreader is ok, but it's alpha software with lots of eccentricities. I'd think about Sharpreader but I'd have to download the .NET framework. I don't want to do that if it will end up messing up my pretty stable OS (Win ME).
Bonfire of the Vanities
John Forgets Packers
John at Right Wing News listed his top athletes. There isn't a single Green Bay Packer on the list. Shame, shame. Here are some suggestions:
Dingell vs. Connerly
Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) sure got snippy at Ward Connerly for having the audacity to promote a colorblind society in Michigan. In a letter to Connerly, Dingell called Connerly's efforts "ignorant meddling in our affairs." Also, Connerly's "brand of divisive racial politics has no place in Michigan, or in our society." Odd since he's calling for Michigan to end racial preferences. Here's a killer line from Connerly's response:
Ironically, your advice is the echo of southern segregationists who sought the comfort of states' rights to practice their discrimination against black Americans. Have you learned nothing about "civil rights" from that horrible chapter in our nation's history?
"Taking It to Michigan"
BuyMusic.com wants to be the iTunes for the PC. If this works as well as iTunes does, this could be a winner. The price sure is right: $0.70 a song. Since the company couldn't get uniform licensing deals with Big Music like Apple could there will be different restrictions on different songs.
As of this moment it isn't up yet, but later today I'll see what this service has to offer.
"New Music Download Service Launches"
With music being made with computers and the ease of releasing stuff on file sharing networks, studios are employing new security methods to keep working projects from leaking out to the public.
"Web Music Leaks Spur Studio Clampdown"
July 21, 2003
Greatest Americans II
When readers ask, TAM delivers...sometimes. The Eye asked for my picks of the greatest Americans. Well, here they are:
Rob Dreher, formerly of National Review is now posting at the Dallas Morning News' new editorial weblog.
John at Right Wing News certainly can conjure up hooks to get everyone to read his weblog. His latest is sure to climb the charts of blogdex and Daypop. [Have I just made the first blogospheric comparison of those two indexes with the music charts? Probably not. The chattering of a few million people in the Web makes a truly original idea rare.] The list of the greatest figures in American history is pretty good. With the voters being mostly webloggers of the Right (including me), it's not a surprise that Ronald Reagan tied with Thomas Jefferson for first. My only serious qualm is with Teddy Roosevelt. He was a big government Republican (later Progressive Bull Moose) who had an unhealthy passion for war.
"Bloggers Select The 20 Greatest Figures In American History"
Reality Meets Fantasy
"Sony Breaks Ground With New PDA"
July 20, 2003
On a good local sports note, Randall Simon went 0-4 with a strikeout in Saturday night's game, and he didn't play on Sunday.
Guerilla War Planned
From a Iraqi memo discovered by Al-Hayat the guerilla warfare happening right now was the plan should Saddam fall.
[via Oscar Jr.]
Reading the Speech
I may not be as sharp as usual today (lack of sleep can do that), but James' examination of the State of the Union speech (including those sixteen words) blows Bush bashers' criticisms right out of the water.
Canada: Land of Mediocrity
According to Perry Michael Simon, Canada isn't the place where success is nurtured and glorified:
I've known several Canadians who told me the same thing about their country. They all love it, but they all feel that in order to really make it in their work, they have to move south of the border. I asked one guy why he felt that way, and he said "Canada has a weird mindset. They don't want you to succeed too much. You're not supposed to get too big, too successful. And there are plenty of people up there who are content to stay there, be medium sized fish in a medium-sized pond. If you have a creative or enterpreneurial bone in your body, you get out as soon as you can. You don't want to, you have to."
[via Cam Edwards]
Clash of Civilizations
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad seems intent on starting an arms race between the Muslim world and the West (i.e. the U.S.). He sees it as a "clash of civilizations."
Echoing the military philosophy of Ronald Reagan (peace through strength), Mahathir told the AFP,
This idea of striking fear into the hearts of enemies is part of the teachings of the Koran.
If the Muslim world wants to play the game of military tit-for-tat let them. Even with a flat economy the West could still out spend and build a mightier military force than the Muslim world. I'm not just talking about the U.S. If Europe, with all its problems, were willing to spend money on the military she could out do the Muslim world. That's because the West has a (relatively) free economy from where technological advances can be developed.
One last item to point out from Mahathir's interview: his inability to grasp the Israel-Palestine situation. He believes Muslims are the ones being targeted. He should tell that to the Israeli families of victims of Palestinian homicide bombers. The situation is pretty clear. On one side there is a free state defending itself from terrorists while on the other side is an entire government led by a terrorist. Mahathir picked the Palestinians. He chose the unfree side. He chose to side with religion over liberty.
"'Clash of Civilizations' Looms Between Islam and West"
Beatallica is in the same vein as Dread Zeppelin. They take two styles of music and slam them together into something unique. Imagine if John, Paul, George, and Ringo lived in San Francisco in the early 80s surrounded by the embryonic speed metal scene while hanging out with Weird Al. You'd end up with Beatallica. Let's call it a mash-up with instruments. The lead singer and drums are dead on Metallica while the songs are Beatles. And the lyrics constant call for beer is a riot.
There's even a Flash music video.
With George Karl getting the axe, Milwaukee can lay claim to two of the most screwed up teams in sports. But at least the Brewers are making some progress. The team is playing hard for Ned Yost. As for the Bucks, with no-names like Brian Skinner and Eric Strickland pencil them into the lottery already.
All this doesn't matter because Packers training camp has started! Go Pack Go!
"Karl Out as Bucks Coach"
Training Camp Starts
Yes, yes yes! Packers training camp has started. That means football season is only six weeks away. But poor Brewers. With real football stuff happening in Green Bay it will be all Packers all the time for Wisconsin sports fans.
"Training Camp Report - July 19, 2003"
July 19, 2003
Serenade to Econ
Jane Galt reminds me that serious economic thinking requires more than Google:
But how do I do that, I hear you cry. Why, it is difficult, my little chickadees; that is why people have to get PhD's and things. It is so difficult, in fact, that when you see a blogger who has claimed to prove some grand theory, such as the superior economic performance of their political party, or the ability of budget surpluses to generate astonishing rates of growth, using only numbers they can find on the internet in fifteen minutes or less, you should be very, very suspicious.
And that, my friends, is why TAM isn't a place for daily economic forcasting. Sorry to tell you, but just because I did study a lot of economics in college it doesn't mean I know if the Fed's Japanese-style rate cuts will really rev up the economy. I also don't know how consumption and saving will be affected by Bush's mostly back-loaded tax cuts.
Besides, economics is so much more than GDP, unemployment rates, and budget deficits. It's a study of how people organize themselves to satisfy their wants and needs. It's a facinating examination of how disparate people all over the world somehow work together to let us live our lives. Institutions have developed, customs evolved, and rules made to foment self-interested cooperation. My love of economics is seeing the wonderous miracle of a complex society without intentional organization.
"The Dangers of Data Mining"
I thought it was pretty cool that the movie Mr. 3000 was being shot in Milwaukee. Now, I've found out Bernie Mac plays an Brewer. The movie's much cooler now.
And no, yours truly will not be making his Hollywood debut in this movie. Instead, I will be earning some cash to fill up my bank account after buying a car this week.
"Filming of Mr. 3000 is a Hit with Fans"
Big Music's Gift to Lawyers
While it's important for businesses to protect their intellectual property, Big Music's hunt for illegal traders is turning into lawsuit mania.
The RIAA's subpoenas are so prolific that the U.S. District Court in Washington, already suffering staff shortages, has been forced to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork, said Angela Caesar-Mobley, the clerk's operations manager.
About 75 subpoenas a day are being approved. There's going to be a lot of lawsuits filed. Since many music traders are also webloggers when the summons are delivered we'll all be reading about it.
From a cost benefit perspective, this approach looks like a loser. Big Music will file suit and suit and hackers will write new programs to hide their music trading. The industry ends up losing and further angering customers. I'm usually the last person to call for a tax, but maybe the answer to online file trading is to tax Internet connections. The tax would go to copyright holders, and people would be able to trade as much as they pleased with no fear of lawsuits.
"Music Industry Targets Users for Illegal Music Sharing"
Release of NIE
What we've learned from the White House's release of a portion of last October's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is that government officials disagreed over the extent of Iraq's African uranium attempts. Wow, smart people disagreeing on facts, analysis, and conclusions. We've also learned that the charge of lying to go to war has an even shakier foundation than before.
"Warning in Iraq Report Unread"
July 18, 2003
No Randall Simon update tonight. He didn't play in Pittsburgh's 7-2 win over Milwaukee.
If you don't have a TiVo, go get one. They're just that cool. If you do have one or are thinking about this wonderful bit of technology, there's PVRblog.
July 17, 2003
Impeach Bush II
In New Hampshire, Sen. Graham Cracker (D-FL) reiterated his call for impeaching President Bush. Now, the Reuters story states "Graham did not call for Bush's impeachment" by putting together statements given at the NAACP convention there can be no other conclusion. Sen. Cracker is trying to be even more anti-war than Howard the Duck. Desparate times call for hyperbole.
Donkey Kong Fixed
Laurence discovered an evil Japanese conspiracy and isn't happy.
"You Can't Win"
Graham's Other Campaign
Sen. Graham Cracker (thanks Eye) hasn't decided if he's running again for his Senate seat. That's understandable, he probably doesn't know how long he has left. All those numbers get confusing.
"Political Notebook: GOP Advice on California Recall; Metzenbaum on Dean, Kucinich and Springer; Another Democrat Eyes Florida Seat"
Even though the Brewers beat the Pirates, I'm bummed Randall Simon went 2-4. At least it was fun watching him get caught running to third.
Kudos to The SmarterCop for blogrolling TAM.
Reggie Calls Jesse on Shakedown
Reggie White is not the best person to be commenting on someone's use of donations. In 1996, his church in Tennesee was burned down. Thousands of gracious Green Bay Packers fans gave thousands of dollars to rebuild it. It never happened. Later, White's friend and fellow pastor was convicted of running a cocaine ring out of the church.
"Football Legend Accuses Jesse Jackson of Wasting NASCAR's Money"
"Minister at White's Church Sentenced"
Limbaugh on ESPN
Rush yapping about football is great. But the price is losing Sterling Sharpe. For a guy who hated the media as a player, Sharpe turned out to be a pretty good commentator. And boy was he one hell of a receiver. His hands were like super glue, and after the catch, he ran like a running back.
Caught Using Word
Besides the obvious interplay between the pharmaceutical and the Traditional Values Coalition., what caught my eye was the information found in a Word file. If you're anyone who wants to hide your connections to another group don't use Microsoft Word.
Do other word processing programs keep information like who created the file like Word does? How about open source efforts like Open Office?
July 16, 2003
North, South, and Slavery
So what if this post is over a week old. I saved it for a reason. It's Eugene Volokh reminding us that despite the best efforts of paleos slavery can't be ignored when discussing the Civil War.
Anyone care to nominate me as an "Innovator"?
Ed Koch scolds those Bush bashers who have attacked him so viciously over the uranium charge:
For me, it comes down to this: If Bush actually did lie to the American public -- intentionally stating as the truth that which he knew to be false -- then he should be impeached and removed as President. However, if Bush did not lie, and I do not believe that he did, then Americans of all political persuasions should defend our country's reputation for fair play by displaying their indignation at those who bear false witness.
Koch believes the President. His confidence is based on the fact that Tony Blair still stands by the uranium charge.
Graham's Problems with Basic Skills
Sen. Graham still can't count as demonstrated in this story on his campaign fundraising:
He also pointed to the success of his Bobcat program in which supporters sign up to raise $1,000 on his behalf. "We have several thousand people who are participating in that," he said, but when he asked his aides exactly how many Bobcats had signed up, his spokesman said the most recent number is 600.
Now, was Graham lying or wrong?
"Political Notebook: House GOP Outraises Dems; Graham Steps up Fund-raising; Sharpton Heading to Liberia"
Battle of the Economists
USA Today run a cliche story: Battle of the Economists. Every once in a while a media outlet runs a story pitting one group of economists with another on some issue. This story is on the effects of ballooning budget deficits. There is one group who has no problem running deficits when there is "economic slack and the job market is not recovering." Then there are those, like Henry Aaron (no, not that one), who blasted Bush's tax cuts. Aaron suggested the suspension of tax cuts that haven't taken effect. No where does he suggest the elimination of Bush tax cuts that have already taken place--advocate a tax increase--nor does he talk about stopping the government's spending spree.
"Economists Defend Deficit Spending at White House"
CIA Should Use FedEx Next Time
In another twist to the already complicated Iraqi uranium charge, the CIA didn't get the forged documents until after President Bush's State of the Union speech. It offers some strength to the admistration's argument that the uranium claim was based on more than the Niger letter. But it also the White House was sloppy by including a charge that wasn't well supported by intelligence data. That doesn't make Bush or any of the people under him liars. It just shows that really smart people can make mistakes too.
"CIA Didn't Get Disputed Documents until after Bush Claim"
Health Care Canada-Style
Steve Linnwood points out that a single-payer health care plan is already being tested in the U.S., and it's results aren't pretty.
TAM's a Carnie Now
Going through it I found Kevin Murphy's take on experienced racism and population proportion to be insightful. It gave me one of those "ah-ha" moments.
Terry Teachout, Weblogger
Graham Sponsors Truck
Then there's ScrappleFace right on top of it with Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) response.
"Graham and NASCAR"
July 15, 2003
Quote the Press Release
Hey, boys and girls! It's time for every weblogger's favorite game of Quote the Press Release. It's a pretty simple game where the contestant (me) points out some interesting items from press releases. Hence the name.
Our victim of the moment is Presidential candidate Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) who wants to impeach President Bush over a remark in the State of the Union speech. At the time, here's what he had to say about the speech:
I think the President moved forward tonight and presented some new information. The test is going to be whether he is persuasive enough to cause a significant number of other countries to join us in an alliance. We don’t want to be in the situation of waging the military action alone, and then undertaking the reconstruction of Iraq alone.
Note that Graham was the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. It's a good assumption that he was aware of the possibility that Iraq was trying to get uranium from Africa. If Graham then thought the intelligence was bogus, he didn't mention that in his response to the State of the Union.
Then in a 2.05.03 statement, Graham praised Colin Powell for his presentation to the U.N. Security Council. He also said,
Since October, the American intelligence community has been warning us that, when Saddam Hussein is on the verge of being toppled, he will be the most dangerous, including striking out against Americans here in our homeland and abroad.
Saddam was toppled yet he didn't strike out against Americans here or abroad. Was Graham lying when he made this statement? No, he was just wrong. And that's an important point that has to be emphasised when Bush bashers hyperventilate with their cries of "Bush lied!" The Bush administration has conceded that the uranium charge wasn't substantiated enough to be put in the State of the Union.
Now, onto Graham's speech he gave before the Senate during the Iraq war resolution debate. He called the resolution "timid" and wanted the President to have broader authority to wage war "against all international terrorists groups who will probably strike the United States as the regime of Saddam Hussein crumbles."
Most interesting in the speech are these sentences:
Now, there are good reasons for considering attacking today's Italy, meaning Iraq. Saddam Hussein's regime has chemical and biological weapons and is trying to get nuclear capacity. But the briefings I have received have shown that trying to block him and any necessary nuclear materials have been largely successful, as evidenced by the recent intercept of centrifuge tubes. And he is years away from having nuclear capability.
How much did Graham know about Iraq's attempts at getting nuclear material out of Africa? As a member of the Intelligence Committee, he's in a position to know if the President's claim was true or not, yet he said nothing in his post-State of the Union statement. He also didn't state that he considered the uranium charge to be "new information."
Based on the intelligence, Bush was wrong; but Graham was wrong about terrorist attacks, and no one is calling for his head. Well, let me be the first. As long as he thinks Bush should be impeached for coming to a wrong conclusion, I think Graham should resign or be recalled. At a minimum his selective memory as a Intelligence Committee member is being used to advance his Presidential campaign.
"Graham: Bush Still Needs to Make Case on Iraq"
"Security Must Be Bolstered Before War, Graham Says"
Senator Graham's Floor Statement on the Iraq Resolution
Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL) became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to be in favor of impeaching President Bush for his "deception" on Iraq. At the NAACP convention he said,
If the standard of impeachment that the Republicans set for Bill Clinton -- a personal, consensual relationship was the basis for impeachment, would not a president who knowingly deceived the American people about something as important as whether to go to war meet the standard of impeachment?
Graham also said he wouldn't use the word "lie" in reference to Bush's Iraq claims. He told reporters,
I would not use the three-letter word. I would use the five-letter word: deceit. That he deceived the American people by allowing into a State of the Union speech at a critical point when he was making the case for war with Iraq, a statement that he either knew was wrong or should have known was wrong.
Let's look at his phrase "should have known was wrong." President Bush's decisions are only as good as the information he has. Garbage in, garbage out. Unless something about the uranium charge just jumped out at him that it couldn't possibly be true, then how should have he known it was wrong? What's really interesting is the Brits haven't dropped the uranium claim.
But what's really irritating is how myopic Graham and the Bush bashers are. They've taken one portion of the administration's war argument that was found to be problematic and decided to make political hay from it. We all know if it wasn't the uranium claim, the critics would have pounced on something else. What that tells us is Bush's opponents will use anything to knock down a popular President.
UPDATE: John Hawkins posts that the public is ignoring Graham et al.'s cry wolf slogans.
White House Wants to Cut Deficit in Half
Scott McClellan said today, "The deficit certainly remains a concern, but it is one that is manageable and it is one that we are addressing ... Over the next few years we will cut this deficit in half." How, by wanting a prescription drug entitlement to Medicare that would be the largest expansion of the program in years? Or is the White House putting together a list of substantial budget cuts to give to Congress? Or do they think the back-loaded tax cuts will really juice up the economy?
"White House Says It Will Cut Budget Deficit in Half"
Kennedy's Claim of Iraqi "Tragedy"
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) shot his mouth off over Iraq:
The great tragedy would be that American servicemen are risking and losing their lives in Iraq based on flawed, distorted and failed intelligence.
Other than the uranium charge, what bad intelligence was used? Have we now learned Saddam didn't have WMD and didn't have a program to develop them? Have we now learned that Saddam was actually a benevolent leader who treated his people with love and respect? Have we learned Saddam didn't pay the families of Palestinian homicide bombers? Have we now learned that Saddam didn't really wage two wars against his neighbors but was really a sweet, caring man who had a mild obsession with putting his image everywhere in the country?
Kennedy may think we'll focus on the uranium issue, but I won't.
"Kennedy Says U.S. Policy in Iraq is Tragedy"
UPDATE: Steve at ESR Musings has some questions too.
Congratulations to Greg Ransom on becoming a father for the second time. He writes, "blogging will be intermittent here at the PrestoPundit site for the week or so." All that could mean is he'll only post 10 items a day. He certainly is prolific.
To any TAM readers that think they might go postal in the near future Joni has some good advice.
Bonfire of the Vanities
July 14, 2003
African Uranium and Faking WMD
There are two good posts at the Reductio Ad Absurdum Blog (not to be confused with Reductio Ad Absurdum). First, Kevin points out that Tony Blair isn't stepping back from accusing Saddam of trying to get uranium from Africa. Then Rob explains how to make it look like Saddam has WMD even if he didn't. Here's his conclusion:
So, Bush lied about the WMD? Bull. The longer we go without finding WMD, the more convinced I am that he didn't lie. There were WMD in Iraq, I know this for a fact, almost as first-hand information. They're gone. They need to be found.
I missed them both because Reductio's server was cracked.
Baker, Rocker, Simon, and Welch
Matt Welch notes baseball's double standard when it comes to racial speech:
It is heartening that Baker hasn't been officially punished for saying what he believes, but for now it proves nothing about the colorblind exchange of ideas. John Rocker -- an individual performer, not a manager of men -- was suspended for 63 days three years ago after complaining that a New York City subway ride could mean sharing space with "some kid with purple hair next to some queer with AIDS right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids," and for describing an overweight dark-skinned teammate as a "fat monkey." That former teammate, Randall Simon, was just suspended for a grand total of three days after swatting a 19-year-old woman with a baseball bat. Until a white player or manager can say something more or less equivalent to Baker's comments and avoid punishment, we won't know whether sticks and stones will finally be valued by Major League Baseball as more hurtful than names.
On a bad note, Randall Simon went 2-4 in Pittsburgh's loss to Houston. Don't worry. I won't start calling Randall Simon a "fat monkey." I just want him to go hitless for the rest of the season.
July 13, 2003
Not So Bright
I've only glanced at the "bright" meme that's taken hold in some corners of the blogosphere. There's not much I can say because I feel, like Steven (and here and here), that declaring yourself a bright is awfully arrogant. The implication is that since I believe in the existence of a supernatural God, then I'm not bright, I'm dim. Well, since most of Western Civilization the Brights love was built on the ideas of the Dim, they should give a little more respect to us Theists.
Calling yourself a Bright is not a way to win public sympathy. At least when gays use the term gay, they don't mean that heterosexuals are sad.
Happy B-Day, Joni
You still have a few minutes to wish Joni a happy birthday. I have to be extra nice to her for having her put up with a cranky weblogger when he was making the transition to MT. She's also pretty good at design.
Stephen Hawking: Horny Physicist
Stephen Hawking was spotted in a English strip club. He was there for five hours and thought a woman named Tiger was "wonderful." I could go in a whole bunch of directions, but TAM is reasonably family friendly (I'm sure plenty of people with families have read TAM), and I don't want to pick on a genius who's done so much trapped in a broken body.
Another Wired Review
Reason's Tim Cavanaugh reviews Wired. He writes, "Wolf's book rescues the myth and brings it back as vibrant, crucial history."
Those Wild and Crazy Republicans
This ruckus at a Young Republicans convention brings back fond College Republican memories of nit-picking through Robert's Rules of Order, party infighting, and the binge drinking when it was all over. Ah, the good old days.
Fredrik Norman on despots and national interest:
Indeed, tyrants and despots have no right to stay in power, Blair is absolutely right on that account. But similarly, the West has no "duty" to depose them and "save" their peoples, despite what I expect Blair would suggest. Such "altruistic" interventions are dangerous and uncalled for.
I agree. It starts with the premise that a proper function of government is to protect its citizens from outside invaders. What September 11 showed us too graphically is that terrorists can move easily and silently when they have another country as a staging area. That's why we invaded Afghanistan and knocked off the Taliban. We would no longer allow that country to be a training camp for terrorists. Invading Iraq was based on stopping Saddam from using Iraq's resources to threaten the West directly or indirectly. To drop the firepower of the U.S. military on another country, it's not enough for it to be ruled by a horrible man. If that was enough justification Cuba would have been de-Castro'ed years ago. The targeted nation has to be a threat to the U.S. Iraq met that standard and so does North Korea. Unfortunately for Liberia, it doesn't rise to that level of importance.
Jimmy Eat World Weblog
allrockalert.com is Jimmy Eat World's "Studio E.zine." One element is a weblog. Nothing but an intro post, but it will be a neat way to follow a good band as they work on their next album. For access, all you have to do is sign up for the JEW e-mail list by going to JimmyEatWorld.com.
July 12, 2003
In a twist only PETA could add to Simon's Sausage Swat, here's a portion of a letter to the Milwaukee Brewers:
"Violence is violence, whether it’s toward ‘sausages’ or living animals," says PETA’s Sports Campaign coordinator, Dan Shannon. "Putting a veggie dog in the Sausage Race would help stop the violence and make animals ‘safe’ in the baseball world."
First, PETA is run by idiots too lazy to do a quick search through the Brewers' website to find out who they should contact. Wendy Selig-Prieb no longer is president of the Brewers. That would be Ulice Payne Jr.. Selig-Prieb is Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Second is Dan Shannon's claim that Randall Simon might have been "expressing his frustration at the fact that the vegetarian hot dog was not allowed to compete." Yeah, Simon's swing was for animal liberation.
Wurst Baseball Commissioner
In Bud Selig's vision of baseball players are given passes when assaulting people in costume (a new victim group?) but raked over the coals for saying politically incorrect speech. Selig also has a racial double standard. Selig permits racist words from blacks that he would never accept from whites. Selig's value system sees words as more harmful than physical actions and racism from whites as more harmful than racism from blacks.
Randall Simon got a three-game suspension for swatting a sausage. If you or I would have struck someone at our workplace, we would have spent the night in jail, and our employer would have fired us. Simon takes a few days off--that he wouldn't have played anyway since he's in a hitting slump--and pays a few dollars in fines.
Sammy Sosa was suspended for eight games earlier this year for corking his bat. All he did was get caught cheating and got a severe punishment. All Simon did was wack another person in the head with a bat.
Then compare Simon to the way John Rocker was treated for saying some harsh words about foreigners and gays. He was suspended for two weeks. All he did was say a few things that ticked off people. He said politically incorrect speech, and baseball hammered him. Rocker didn't hurt anyone when he made his bigoted remarks and was suspeded for two weeks. Simon swung a baseball bat a another person and was only suspended three games. It makes no sense. Who actually did more harm?
You could say that Simon didn't intend to hurt Mandy Block, the woman in the Italian sausage costume, but so what? I may have not intended to hurt anyone if I (hypothetically) drank too much, got into a car impared, and hit someone. Just like a drunk driver, Simon irresponsibly put himself into a position where someone could have gotten really hurt.
But I could also turn it around by saying Rocker didn't intend to hurt anyone when he made his remarks. He was just telling a reporter why he didn't like New York. His intent wasn't to hurt or offend even though it did. Intent isn't as important the possible harm the action could cause.
Now onto Selig's racial double standard. Dusty Baker shared his opinions to reporters about the difference between races:
Personally, I like playing in the heat, you know. It's easier for me. It's easier for most Latin guys and most minority people because most of us come from heat. You don't find too many brothers from New Hampshire and Maine and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, right?
Imagine the suspension if Rocker would have said what Baker said. Even if he still could throw a strike he might not be playing. Other than public embarassment, Baker hasn't been punished for his racist statements.
But we don't have to imagine what would happen to a white person. We have Marge Schott who was forced to sell part of the Cincinati Reds because of her racist statements. But if she would have swung a bat at a mascot, she might have survived (unless the person inside was black). Also there's the incident when ex-Dodgers general manager Al Campanis said blacks weren't capable of managing. He was quickly fired.
When it has come to punishing players, managers, and owners, Selig has taken the politically correct route of making symbolic gestures by punishing certain speech from certain people while letting speech from others off with nothing.
Selig needs to take Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Had a Dream" speech to heart. He's judging by the color of people's skin instead of the content of their actions.
Is Selig going out of his way to embarrass his city and his team? Is making Milwaukee the nation's laughingstock his way of proving he's a fair commissioner showing no bias toward the team he used to run? There was last year's failure to finish the All-Star Game in Milwaukee, and then, almost on the one-year anniversary, Simon gets away with swatting a sausage.
"Simon Suspended for Three Games"
"Baker May be Misinformed, but He's not a Racist"
"Welcome to the Blogosphere"
If the source of this story proves accurate forget about having to find WMD in Iraq. If a clear link between Saddam and Osama bin Laden is made then anti-warriors will be left silent with their jaws dropped.
Lollapalooza and Sausage Swat
I just got back from Lollapalooza. Even though I'm starting to get into more organic, roots music (like John Hiatt, the Thorns, and the Jayhawks), I'm glad to know I could still enjoy a bunch of loud, high energy rock and roll.
I'll post a review later along with some Selig bashing for letting Randall Simon get away with assault.
July 10, 2003
With its heady mix of libertarianism, modern liberalism, day-glo graphics, and in-your-face attitude (anyone remember the Push cover?) Wired was the monthly manifesto of the Digital Revolution. Reading it today at times the articles are interesting. It feels more like a travel journal of what tech is doing now instead of where it could be going. For a history of a magazine that documented it times there's Gary Wolf's new Wired: A Romance.
"Wired: Mixing Romance and Tech"
There is something interesting about Howard the Duck's presidential campaign besides his unique "decentralized paternalism." And that's how his supporters are organizing through the Internet. There are already 55,000 Meetup.com Duck backers, and now techie Duck lovers are building a node structure under the umbrella Americans for Dean. Once up-and-running Duck supporters will be able to communicate and collaborate with fellow local supports or unite in larger groups. It will be interesting to see how effective an ad-hoc political campaign does in caucus states (Iowa) and primary states (New Hampshire). It will also be interesting to see how well Duck controls his message when there are thousands of supporters who will be encouraged to modify and manipulate his media. Such a structure could be highly influential on more formal organizations like corporations.
That should satisfy my one-nice-thing-about-Duck quota for the year.
"Netizens Rally for Dean Team"
Tech Helps Gourmet Foods
Business Week has a story on how technology is allowing gourmet food makers to make more high-quality speciality items. The end results are greater availability of gourmet food while producers can make more while still retaining high standards.
"More Delicious Delicacies, Thanks to Tech"
Pillaging Pirate Gets Away with it
Simon tried to justify his swing by saying he was just playing around. "That wasn't my intention in my heart for that to happen. I was just trying to get a tap at the costume and for her to finish the race." Simon has an unsual way of tapping. It involves swinging a baseball bat at someone's head. If I did that at a local softball game, I would be arrested if not beat up by my target and his friends.
Since local authories won't punish Simon, Bug Selig has a big responsiblity to demonstrate that using bats as weapons is unacceptable behavior for players. Sammy Sosa got suspended for corking his bat. He was punished because cheating damages the integrity of the game. John Rocker was suspended for two weeks for derogatory remarks about gays and foreigners. Not severely punishing Simon would mean Baseball considers cheating to be more vile than physical assault or some bigoted remarks. Sosa's and Rocker's behavior didn't harm anyone while Simon's swing could have hurt Mandy Block.
On a lighter note, ESPN's Page2 has the police report on "Sausagegate."
And then here's what happened at today's Sausage Race:
Later that day, four new people were inside the costumes, and Pirates players moved into the dugout and away from the field during the race.
As a service to my readers, Milwaukee Brewers fans, and those that think Simon got soft treatment, I'll be following the rest of his season hoping he strikes out at every at-bat and bobbles the ball every time he's playing defense. Today, Simon didn't play in Pittsburgh's 5-4 win.
"Pirates Player Hit with Disorderly Conduct in Sausage Swatting"
"Simon Won't be Charged after Hitting Mascot with Bat"
RFID chips would be perfect for today's huge bookstores. By searching in a computer a bookseller would not only be able to check the store's inventory but also know the location of an individual book. People like me wouldn't be running around checking shelves, then tables, and then the back stock looking for a customer's misplaced order.
But privacy concerns have to be paramount. People won't want to purchase a product if they think it doubles as a tracking device. Whether companies and government can do this is irrelevant. Just the appearance would scare many--look at Europe's fears over genetically modified (GM) foods when there's been no evidence that any of it is harmful. RFID is promising but retailers have to make sure the chips are turned off after purchase.
"Wal-Mart Cancels 'Smart Shelf' Trial"
Capitol Hill Blue Corrects
Doug Thompson admits he's been the victim of a 20-year con. Will we ever read something like this piece from the publisher of the NY Times? I'm won't hold my breath.
"Conned Big Time"
Pirate Pillages Sausage
Going to baseball game you'd expect to see some good pitching, some good fielding, even a home run or two. But no one would have expected to see a baseball player with a bat hit a woman in a costume. That's what Pittsburgh Pirate first baseman Randall Simon did during the famous Milwaukee Brewers' Sausage Race. This video shows Simon delibrately swung at the sausage. It wasn't a case of him just poking his bat at her. Maybe he thought he was being funny, or maybe he just doesn't like Italian sausage. As a result of his clubbing two women went to the stadium's first aid station, while Simon was taken into custody by Milwaukee police.
WWII Bad Guy
In a perfectly sensible article on the economy William Anderson had to go off on a tangent about World War II:
One hopes that the Bush Administration does not seek to emulate FDR, although, like Roosevelt, this administration has forced through huge increases in government expenditures and with the recent Medicare bill, has dumped a gargantuan unfunded liability upon U.S. taxpayers. (At least FDR did not send the armed forces all over the world – at least during the 1930s. In the 1940s he helped launch the biggest and most destructive war in world history.) [emphasis mine]
Note that Anderson fails to mention that Germany started the war with its invasion of Poland, and Japan brought in the U.S. with its attack on Pearl Harbor. In his world, the U.S. was the bad guy. Uncle Sam was the reason millions died and entire nations were shattered. Tell a few million free Europeans and Japanese how horrible the U.S. was in WWII.
"Recovery or Boomlet?"
Duck and Edwards Not Ready for Prime Time
Richard Reeves writes,
The Democrats are no longer seen as a party ready to govern. Whatever one thinks of the very decisive George W. Bush's personal capabilities, he has inherited impressive Republican governance, beginning with the kids of the Nixon administration, Vice President Richard Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld among them. They know what they're doing, even if what they are doing may turn out to be spectacularly wrongheaded.
He compares Duck and Edwards (he's needs a nickname) to Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.
"Why I am Against Howard Dean -- and John Edwards, Too"
The Oxymoron Candidate
Arnold Kling read through some of Howard the Duck's positions and found him to be a decentralized paternalist.
"Walden Puddle's Candidate"
July 09, 2003
Horowitz on Treason
It's not good for a conservative book to be looked down on by David Horowitz. But that's what he does with Ann Coulter's Treason. Ann messed up her credibility in the same way Michael Savage messed up his brief time on MSNBC.
"The Trouble with Treason"
July 08, 2003
Baseball's Soft Spot
The winner of the cute-story-of-the-day goes to Atlanta Brave Robert Fick who has a new pet.
"Tiny Kitten Found Next to Braves Dugout, Finds New Home with Fick"
True, oh so true.
Vote for Jenkins
For you Milwaukee Brewers fans, Geoff Jenkins needs your help. The final roster spots for this year's All-Star Game will be determined democratically. There's no Electoral College or the Supreme Court to make the final decision. All you have to do is vote on Major League Baseball's website. Since the game will be in Chicago next week, the saying "Vote early, vote often" perfectly applies.
Summer reading lists are the fad-of-the-moment in weblog world. Kevin Holtsberry links to a number of webloggers (including himself) so I won't repeat his effort. I wonder why the lists came out now? Since I consider summer to start at the beginning of June, we're about half-way through. But with the weather finally getting hot here in SE Wisconsin it's finally started to feel like summer. So to follow the flock here are some books I might consume during some warm, lazy days away from the computer:
Illegal Art would be better titled "Illegal" Art since the show has not gotten into any legal trouble. An even better title would be Bad "Illegal" Art. Just browsing through the visual pieces you start with mildly cleaver, to banal, to just plain grotesque. The theme of these pieces is the adolescent need to irritate others. These artists didn't get enough satisfaction from needleing their parents while children so they continue with sniping at grown-ups through art that makes no attempt at lifiting up the human condition.
"Artists Just Wanna Be Free"
BoDeans to Play County Fair
Here's hoping I don't have to work on 7.26 (screw the Blogathon). The BoDeans will be playing at the Washington County Fair. Who cares, you ask? Well, admission will only be for entry into the fair. That means you'll be able to see one of Wisconsin's best bands and a national act for only $5 before 4 p.m. and $8 after. This is the deal of the summer.
"BoDeans to Play at County Fair"
Feel the Burn
For something that's pretty much a complete waste of quality Internet time, Kevin has posted the inaugural Bonfire on the Vanities. It's a collection of the worst of the Blogosphere. Do not confuse it with the Carnival of the Vanities or Silflay will get mad. Here's a little piece of advice: never anger a person who has a first name you can't pronounce.
"Bonfire Of The Vanities - Week 1"
Dorothy Rabinowitz thinks Ann Coulter, the "Maureen Dowd of the conservatives," is a bit off on her attempt at redeeming Sen. Joe McCarthy in her book Treason.
"A Conspiracy So Vast"
July 07, 2003
A question comes about often when discussing conservatism: "What do conservatives want to conserve?" Since most conservatives don't back the socialist, anti-tech agenda of environmentalists, critics say conservatives don't want to conserve our natural resources. Most conservatives believe adhering to traditional morality is best for a well-functioning society. Along that line, I'll quote from this Eve Tushnet post:
Marriage has developed over time (ooh, Hayek would like this!) to fulfill several specific needs that hold society together: couples' need for a promise of fidelity; children's need for a father and for stability and security; young people's need for a tie to the next and the previous generations; young people's need for a transition to adult womanhood and manhood; men's (women's too, but especially men's) need for a channel for sexual desire that is fruitful, not destructive.
A long time ago--probably back when TAM was on Angelfire--I linked to an essay by David Boaz that called for the government to get out of the marriage business. It parallels Michael Kinsley's column on same-sex marriage. Privatizing marriage would certainly take the issue of gay marriage off the table (but we'd have to endure months of Andrew Sullivan posts on how his wedding plans were going). It may not be as disasterous as Eve would think. Since marriage is an institution that has grown deep roots in our culture, privatizing marriage wouldn't immediately destroy it. I do think there would be many people in the short-term who would forge some pretty bizarre and radical unions (how about three women, two men, and a 21-year-old son of one of the men?). The results of such a free-for-all would victimize many--especially young children.
I'm currently reading Modern Sex and what caught my eye and tugged at my heart is the tremendous amount of cynicism people have toward love, sex, and relationships. If you haven't read the book or read any of the essays when they were originally published in City Journal then just watch an episode of Sex and the City. Today, we can have consentual sex with whomever we want. The Sexual Liberation movement reached it goal, but we're not any happier. We're learning the hard way that sex does not equal love nor does it ensure happiness.
As we strip marriage of its societal honor, its special status, and the various features that helped it fulfill its complex functions (and I really think its restriction to opposite-sex couples is one of these features), we make it much, much harder for love to make the world go 'round. We make it much harder to link eros and responsibility. We make it much harder for adults' desires and children's interests to line up--thus forcing unnecessary tragic choices between adults and their own children. We also, I note for the libertarians in my readership, weaken the societal infrastructure that makes limited government possible.
The big question is would privatized marriage dramatically change society for the worse. No body knows that answer. Not the gay marriage advocates, not the Religious Right, not the social libertines. Because of this, the conservative response is to back the status quo instead of jumping head-first into the cultural unknown.
Can't Blame French on this One
Therefore, I'd say my initial trouble at the sight of this empty golden base and this empty space is now dissipated. There was indeed something missing, it was indeed the US flag and it was missing for a good reason.
Summerfest Day 11 Reviews
The Summerfest's attendence was down 11% from last year. This year's attendence of 905,135 was the lowest since 1996. Summerfest executive director, Bo Black, blamed the economy. "I thought people who come maybe four times might come one or two times this year," she said. If family issues and work wouldn't have conflicted, I would have been down at the lakefront more than once. Having fewer people attend was nice for those that came. They didn't feel like sardines in a can. A little more space let's people enjoy the music.
Summerfest can't grow every year. There just isn't enough room on the grounds. Around 950,000 feels like the right amount to target every year. With that many people, you can draw good acts while giving people room to have a good time.
Here are some reviews of last night's shows:
With the festival over the focus goes onto Bo Black's future. The Summerfest board has refused to give her a contract extension. I haven't read or heard anything about the board being disatisfied with Black. For almost 20 years, she's made Summerfest Milwaukee's main event every year. It's one of the best things about Milwaukee, and Black has consistently kept it succeeding. Losing Black would be great loss to Southeast Wisconsin.
"Attendance at Summerfest Drops"
John Hawkins pulled out some choice quotes from Ann Coulter's Treason. Now I don't have to buy the book. Coulter's hot in an anorexic kind of way, but after a few bomb blasts, I got bored. She's good for a column or 10 minutes on a cable news show, but the "Democrats are dumb traitors" line got old fast. Be assured Treason won't make the TAM Book Awards.
"The Best Quotes From Ann Coulter's Treason"
These signers of the BuzzFlash Declaration of Independence "pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor," but are they willing to go to war for their cause just like our Founding Fathers? I won't be expecting any domestic insurrections anytime soon.
July 06, 2003
I'm a Bush Man
Thank goodness I found SelectSmart.com to reaffirm my choice for President. Oh the power of technology. Those thousands of words defending Bush the Candidate and Bush the President weren't for naught.
To provide ample watercooler talk, here's SelectSmart.com's rankings of Presidential candidates for me:
I'm guessing the percentages mean how much I agree with the candidate on the issues. If so, Lyndon LaRouche and I really wouldn't get along. We disagree on so much that we'd probably end up agreeing. As for Howard the Duck, we're not seeing eye to bill.
Thanks to Chris at painfultruth.org for having the good sense to link to TAM. He has a whole category devoted to "Idiot Liberals." This is a man who pulls no punches.
Summerfest Day 11 Preview
If only I didn't have to work or else I'd be down at the lakeshore listening to a whole lot of good bands. This year's Summerfest is not ending with a whimper.
Headlining the Marcus Amphitheater is Good Charlotte with opening act Hoobastank starting at 7:30
At 6:00, Dread Zeppelin plays their weird combo of Leppelin, reggae, and Elvis at the Piggy Wiggly MusicMarket.
Local boy and ex-Genesis guitarist Daryl Stuermer plays at 7:30 on the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage.
Alice Peacock plays the North Shore Bank Landing at 8:00.
The Thorns (Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, and Shawn Mullins) do a 21st Century version of Crosby, Stills, and Nash on the Piggy Wiggly MusicMarket at 8:00.
At 10:00, Los Lobos plays the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage.
At the North Shore Bank Landing at 10:00 Jakob Dylan and his Wallflowers perform.
Finally, the Jayhawks play at the Piggy Wiggly MusicMarket at 10:00.
Two shows you should avoid are Mrs. Fun at the Cingular Wireless Gardens Stage and Dennis DeYoung at the Miller Lite Oasis. Mrs. Fun is a local band who's avant-garde clanging and cacophony sound as bad as their name. As for DeYoung, well, he is the ex-lead singer for Styx. Can you say "Mr. Roboto?" 'Nuff said.
July 05, 2003
Another milestone for modern art: a human egg in a jar labled "Chrissy Caviar®." What's next, sperm in a tooth paste tube? Oh, hush! I won't want to give any aspiring modern artist any ideas.
[via Venomous Kate]
On-the-Scene Summerfest Day 9 Review
Last night was hot but satisfying. But all good things have a downside. For me dancing from 8:00-11:00 means my legs will be really sore when I wake up to go to work.
The Summerfest grounds weren't crowded like I expected. Either the acts playing didn't draw listeners, people decided to go to local Fourth of July gatherings, or people thought the weather wasn't good (too hot or early morning power outages due to storms). Walking from one end of the grounds to the other was easy with no chance to bump into people or feel claustrophobic.
My wandering led me to Fab Feno & The Last Tranzaction Band. They were a bit rough with Fab untangling his way out of cords, but the band was playing funky blues that felt so right in the hot late-afternoon sun.
But my goal was dancing, and for that I had to go to the North Shore Bank Landing. All throughout the day DJs were spinning and people were grooving. When night arrived the bigs names came out, and by big, I mean big. BT and The Crystal Method are two of the biggest American acts in electronic dance music. (Throw in Moby and you have the three-headed American monster.)
BT plugged his notebook computer (a thin Power Mac) into the sound system and began with a remix of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Boy, did that get the crowd jumping. He went on to play his "Dreaming" for what seemed like 10+ minutes. He also "spun" a remix of his latest single "Somnambulist" and "Flaming June." While every song was playing, BT tweaked and manipulated the sounds. He tossed in climatic snare drums to throw us off of incredible peaks. At one point, he was remixing Coldplay's "Clocks" in real-time, and I heard three parts of the song playing simultaneously. Music geeks must have had orgasms listening to him work. I just pumped my hands in the air like I just didn't care.
After a too brief encore, BT turned it over to The Crystal Method. They started out with a remix of New Order's "Crystal." Then they continued their spinning (they used old-school vinyl) of break beat and big beat. This stuff was different from BT's trance because it was a little slower and the break beats cut things up. Think of this style as speeded up hip hop but without the rapping. It was still good, just a little harder for me to dance to. As a treat, TCM played a song from their upcoming album Legion of Boom. From a first listen, they've got a winner. It's more danceable and less rock oriented like the songs off Tweekend. They finished with Underworld's "Rez."
Someone who did care about BT's high tech wizardry was Scott Kirkland, one half of The Crystal Method. Near the end of TCM's set, he went off on how they used good old fashion records instead of a computer. "All we need are two turn tables, a mixer, and a crate of records," Kirkland told the audience. He also said some expletives about BT and computers. I couldn't catch what he said, but let's just say that a BT/TCM collaboration won't be happening anytime soon.
Kirkland's computer complaints are strange since TCM used computers on their last album. Why should he complain about computers used in the performance of music and not the creation of it?
Country is the big ticket with Kenny Chesney headlining the Marcus Amphitheater. Opening for him are Keith Urban and the lovely Deana Carter. That starts at 7:30.
80s nostalgia is a theme with David Lee Roth trying to hit the high notes of old Van Halen songs at the Miller Lite Oasis. Morris Day and the Time "do the bird" at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse. Both shows are at 10:00.
July 04, 2003
Summerfest Day 8 Reviews
Summerfest may have started out slow attendance-wise, but as of yesterday, they're running ahead of last year's pace. They may top one million for the third straight year. Now, here are some reviews from last night's shows.
President Bush's July 4th Message
From part of President Bush's July 4th message:
America is a force for good in the world, and the compassionate spirit of America remains a living faith. Drawing on the courage of our Founding Fathers and the resolve of our citizens, we willingly embrace the challenges before us.
[via Brothers Judd]
John Hiatt Time Change
Hiatt wants more time to perform to his fans so he'll be starting at 9:30 instead of 10:00 at the Piggly Wiggly MusicMarket.
Summerfest Day 9 Preview
Santana is the at the Marcus Ampitheater with Angelique Kidjo opening at 7:30.
Arrested Development, led by Milwaukee-native Speech, performs at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse at 8:00. Following them are Black Eyed Peas at 10:00.
Washed-up hair metal band Quiet Riot plays at 10:00 on the Mountain Dew Rock Stage.
Collective Soul hit the Miller Lite Oasis at 10:00.
Last but not least on the North Shore Bank Landing will be THE place for dance music along the lake shore. The last few years there was an entire stage devoted to dance music, but with problems with kids acting up, that was changed. But while going down in quantity, Summerfest is making it up in quality. There will be DJs spinning all day, but it will get really exciting when trance god BT plugs his laptop into the soundsystem at 8:30. After him, it doesn't let up. The Crystal Method bring down the house with their breaks, electro hip-hop, and big beats.
The Great Anniversary Festival
Below is a portion of John Adams' "Great Anniversary Festival" Letter:
But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.
Note that Adams was a tad bit early with his celebratory date. The Declaration of Independence ended up being distributed on July 4. That's why we celebrate the fourth, not the second. Also notice when he writes, "I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States." At the time, Adams was referring to war with Britain, but the same feeling can be applied today. Since we are currently at war--with Islamist terrorists--sacrifices of lives and money are needed to protect our country and allow us to live under the principles of the Declaration.
This leads to the most important aspect of the letter. Adams wanteds his young nation to celebrate its birth. We have taken Adams to heart. Tomorrow, there will be parades, picnics, cookouts, baseball games, concerts, and fireworks. As for me, I'll be at Summerfest.
Happy Birthday, America! May God bless you for another 227 years.
I'll be linking to other weblogs' tributes to America
Here are some more weblog tributes:
July 03, 2003
Jonah Goldberg on Berlusconi's Nazi comment:
As far as I can tell, what Berlusconi said was stupid. But as several readers have commented, it's pretty hard not to notice the contrast in outrage when you compare this episode to when the German Cabinet minister compared Bush to Hitler. Back then most of "enlightened" Europe thought Americans overreacted when Bush was compared to a genocidal murderer. What was the big deal? they kept asking.
"E.U. Parliament Ponders Demanding Apology from Berlusconi"
Bonfire of the Vanities
The converse to the Carnival of the Vanities is Wizbang's new Bonfire of the Vanities. I've never entered anything into the Carnival, but I'm jumping all over the Bonfire. This is a pretty lame post on Hooters Air.
The Real Smokers Debate
Jonathan Wilde at Catallarchy.net gets to the heart of the debate over smoking in public places:
The debate is not about smokers vs. non-smokers, although in the binary left-right axis of modern political culture, it is no surprise that it is conceived that way. Rather, the debate is about control of an individual's property by himself vs. by the mob. The real question is, "Should owners of private property be able to decide whether or not their guests are allowed to smoke on their property?"
"Smoking and the Harm Principle"
Let's Help Kwame
Kwame James helped protect an entire airplane from terrorist Richard Reid's deadly plans. As payback, he's having immigration trouble. Helping James looks like a perfect way webloggers can "flood the zone." A nice e-mail to your Congressman and Senators along with one (scroll to the bottom) to the BCIS (formerly the INS) wouldn't hurt James' cause.
Howard the Duck
Henceforth, TAM will refer to Howard Dean as "Howard the Duck." Why? Because our fine feathered friend is all wet when he thinks he can get away with supporting troops in Liberia but not in Iraq. Aaron the Mad writes,
You dismiss the importance of our presence in Iraq, then you turn around that and tell us that we need to haul our ass over to Liberia because of a civil unrest. And if there is a case to go to Liberia, your case is as bad as the "lack of case" that you claim about President Bush. You never really state why the severe humanitarian crisis in Liberia is more important than the possible (now former) security risk of Iraq.
A Duck Presidency would look a lot like Bill Clinton's. The U.S. would be involved in areas where she has no significant interests while avoiding areas where we do. I'd feel so much safer.
"Iraq War Opponent Dean Seeks Liberia Intervention"
Celebrate Safety on the 4th.
One thing to celebrate about our country is our balance of freedom and security. As Orin Kerr notes, "There have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. And despite all the news coverage to the contrary, there have been no major losses of civil liberties, either." Thank God, our leaders, and every citizen who watches out for our liberties.
New Weblog Showcase
In the New Weblog Showcase, I'm voting for HD Blog's "Ethics & Genetics." In this post, Dave writes about maintaining a watchful eye on those who are willing to use unethical short-cuts in genetic research.
I'm also voting for ThePopulist's "The De-Evolution of Warfare." Scott Piraino writes that small-scale warfare will be the norm, and that the kill-and-run attacks in Iraq are a reason why we shouldn't have invaded.
Sorry ladies, but GOP heart throb, George P. Bush is no long on the market. But feel free to continue drooling over the Right's version of JFK, Jr.
In stereotypical Republican fashion, they met when he asked her to go golfing.
"Bush Bachelor to Wed"
Welcome to America
Strom-Puff Marshmallow Man
What a way to remember Sen. Strom Thurmond: him sitting down surrounded by marshmallows.
Summerfest Day 8 Preview
Today may have the biggest attendance of all the days of Summerfest. Today is July 3 when Milwaukee has its fireworks display in celebration of Independence Day (not to be confused with the Big Bang which celebrates the start of Summerfest). Thousands are going down to the lakeshore to secure a good seat for the light show tonight. It will be packed up and down the shore. This isn't to disuade you from heading down to the fest because they're are plenty of good acts to see. It's just a warning that there will be lots of people there. Now, on to the preview.
Local folk/blues singer Melaniejane performs at the Cingular Wireless Gardens Stage at 3:30.
On the Marcus Amphitheater, Wisconsin's favorite band, the BoDeans make their annual Summerfest appearance. They have a "Best of" album out now with a new disk planned for this fall. Opening for them is Boston's Guster. Mark Saleski reviewed Keep It Together calling it "consistently interesting and well-constructed." The show starts at 7:30, but Guster will be signing CDs in the Virgin Tent at 4:00.
The North Shore Bank Landing has a solid one-two punch tonight starting at 8:00 with the power pop of Fountains of Wayne. Bill Sherman reviews Welcome Interstate Managers. Then at 10:00 Wilco play Beatle-esque alt-country from their highly acclaimed Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Robert M. Centor reviews it for Blogcritics.
At 10:00 it could be tough to decide what to listen to, but the beauty of Summerfest is you can mix and match what music you listen to. It's a buffet for the ears. On the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, George Thorogood and The Destroyers will be playing classic rock. At the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard Michelle Branch will show if she's a one-album-wonder or if she has staying power. (Her new album is Hotel Paper.) And at the Miller Lite Oasis, Jonny Lang will show off his white-boy blues licks.
Somehow, if all that music bores the fireworks will start after 10:00.
Summerfest Day 7 Reviews
Here are some reviews from last night's shows:
July 02, 2003
Summerfest Day 7
Today, two local traveling bands will be performing. Local see both these bands at festivals all over the area each summer. Barry's Truckers will be at the North Shore Bank Landing at 4:00. Pork & the Havana Ducks will be at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse at 5:00.
Toby Keith headlines the Marcus Amphitheater. Opening for him is Blake Shelton. That show starts at 7:30.
At 10:00 Ben Folds rocks the suburbs at the Piggly Wiggly MusicMarket; Reel Big Fish play ska at the North Shore Bank Landing; Mudvayne look all weird at the Mountain Dew Rock Stage; and the Reverend Horton Heat plays the Miller Lite Oasis.
BT will be spinning on July 4. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interviewed him. Here's my fave quote:
A friend will say he's some kind of electroclash, post-house progressive trance musician, and I just say, "Dude, get over yourself. You make electronic music, and so do I."
Emotional Technology will be out in August. The single "Somnambulist" is out now.
"Technology Captures Latest Stage in DJ's Life"
Summerfest Day 6 Reviews
Here are some reviews from Day 6:
July 01, 2003
Another French Black Mark
The U.S. flag is missing from the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy.
My personal ban of French wine feels sooooo good right now. I think I'll pop open some of Australia's finest.
Those selfish R.E.M. bastards!
They want to control what music their fans can trade on computer networks.
A prime example is the service run on R.E.M. fan site Murmurs.com. "Give It Away," named after one of the band's songs, is a peer-to-peer network that uses WinMX software to connect R.E.M. fans and allow them to trade live and unreleased music by the pop/rock veterans. The service was launched in October 2001 and its creators say it averages about 170 gigabytes of regularly traded material.
And how is this different than Big Music being opposed to the stealing of music?
There IS a Conspiracy
This is the funniest Weekly Standard parody I've ever read. I would even say it's Onion-material.
I am afraid of the "neocon hot bikini contest." I have no desire to see her in anything less than a pant suit.
[via Catallaxy Files]
World's Longest French Fry
Kevin Holtsberry hosted a weblog (I still refuse to use the word "blog") symposium. Participants include Jonah Goldberg, Matt Welch, and Nick Gillespie.
"Blogs and the Media Symposium, Round Two"
Summerfest Day 6 Preview
This preview is late, so it might not be of much help for those who already left to go to the lakefront. Family matters and catching up on sleep were the priority. So, let me jump right into it.
The Dead come to the Marcus Amphitheater tonight. The big question will be if Deadheads will swamp the festival grounds, or has the (Grateful) Dead following disappated. Opening for The Dead is country legend, Willie Nelson. If I were going, I'd see Willie and leave, but that's just me. This concert starts at 5:30, not 7:30 as most shows at the amphitheater start.
Summerfest isn't all music. Commedian Will Durst comes to entertain at the Hyundai Big Easy Club. He'll perform at 7:00.
Every once in a while a local band will get a big recording contract. The latest is hard rockers The Buzzhorn. Their major label debut is Disconnected. They'll play on the Moutain Dew Rock stage at 8:00.
Buckwheat Zydeco brings his foot-stomping, body-moving roots music to the Potawatomi Bingo Casino Stage at 10:00.
India.Arie (what's with that period, a dot-com thing?) sings songs from her latest Voyage to India at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse at 10:00.
Also at 10:00 The Fabulous Thunderbirds play on the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard.
Last but not least, Paul Cebar & The Milwaukeeans will be performing at 10:00 on the North Shore Bank Landing.