[star]The American Mind[star]

August 31, 2003

Hog Heaven

Tonight, Harley-Davidson's 100th birthday finished up with a free concert. Tens of thousands of people came to Milwaukee's Veteran's Park along the shore of Lake Michigan. The Doobie Brothers performed with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, but H-D kept the big names secret. All week, there were rumors of who would play the show. U2's name floated about. Bruce Springsteen was mentioned even though he's playing Giants Stadium tonight. Most people's hopes were for the Rolling Stones.

Around 7:30 MC Dan Akroyd introduced Tim McGraw as the first act. Near the end of his set, Kid Rock came out to sing with McGraw. Kid then did his own set. McGraw came out again to do some more songs. After this Wynonna sang her song "Freedom" while motorcycles flashed across giant video screens. The stage then went dark. A piano melody swept over the crowd that could only come from the British piano player himself, Elton John.

Some concert goers were disappointed with the line-up. After McGraw took the stage thousands of people left Veteran's Park. Some wanted to get an early start to where ever they call home. Some didn't like country music; and some just got angry with Tim McGraw's selection. A woman interviewed on the radio called McGraw the "antithesis" of the H-D lifestyle.

A line-up of Tim McGraw, Kid Rock, and Elton John isn't small potatoes; but given all the secrecy surrounding the show, it's a let down. You can't please all the people all the time. Nevertheless, announcing the acts beforehand wouldn't have stopped many people from showing up. What H-D unfortunately did was set really high expectations that would have been almost impossible to meet.

Out of an entire week of motorcycles rumbling all over southeast Wisconsin, tonight's concert let down was the only minor glich. This was a week where Milwaukee showed itself off to people from around the world. The city and its people were gracious and enthusiastic guests. We got to show off our community and feel a lot of pride for being blessed with H-D. Thousands of people will be going home knowing they had a good time, and that Milwaukee is a pretty cool place. Beer, cheese, the Packers, Harley-Davidson, and its people: these are the five things that make Wisconsin famous.

"Clad in Leather, a Harley Mainstream Rides"

"Heaven is a Harley-Davidson!"

"World Watches as Harley Parties"

"The Day Milwaukee Roared"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

August 30, 2003

U of Michigan's Spending Overkill

Here's how college tuition skyrockets. The University of Michigan changed their undergraduate admissions process to conform to a recent Supreme Court ruling. Here's the key paragraph from the Washington Post story:

As a result of the changes, officials said, they are hiring 16 part-time readers to review applications and five additional full-time admissions counselors, at an expected added cost of $1.5 million to $2 million next year.

Let's assume the part-time readers will work half time. Meaning I'll consider them the same as 8 full-time workers. Add to that the five new admissions counselors, and that comes to 13 new hires. Divide the number of new hires by the conservative estimate of the cost ($1.5 million) and it comes out to over $115,000 per full-time hire. If using the higher estimate it comes out to almost $154,000 per full-time hire.

"U-Michigan Reveals New Policy

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 03:04 PM | Comments (1)

Clark for President

Don't worry. I'm not endorsing the ex-NATO general. Today, while shopping in West Bend, WI, I saw a group of 5 people on a street corner holding signs saying "Clark for President." Since my area is solidly Republican that means the every area Democrat (all five of them) doesn't want any of the current candidates.

"Ex-NATO Chief Mulling Dem Presidential Run"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Humor is Profitable

The Onion makes money by not spending wildly and maintaining the integrity of the brand.

"The Onion: Funny Site is No Joke" [via The Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)

Jabba: One l33t Hacker

Jeffrey Lee Parson, the creator of one of the Blaster viruses, being the fat slob that he is will receive more combined ridicule for the rest of his life than the poor Star Wars kid. There's already been a mention of Jabba the Hutt.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 02:44 AM | Comments (1)

Top Linkers to TAM

Since August has already been the best post-Elian Gonzalez month for TAM traffic-wise, I want to thank the top five webloggers who drove the most traffic here.


  1. ScrappleFace
  2. Armavirumque
  3. Outside the Beltway
  4. Venomous Kate
  5. VodkaPundit

I might list the top five again next month. It's easy to make the list. Just link to TAM early and often.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:35 AM | Comments (0)

The Duck May be Dr. Death

Diana West wants to know since Howard the Duck did a medical residency with Planned Parenthood did he perform an abortion?

"A Dean's List of Questions" [via Stephen Silver]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2003

Kerry's Economic Plan

I've had so much fun picking on Howard the Duck and Sen. Bob "Numbers make my head hurt" Graham (D-FL) that I haven't offered anything on Sen. John "I was a Beatles groupie" Kerry (D-MA). With the Senator offering an economic plan, that will now be rectified.

There's no need to bother reading the speech since Kerry's website has his plan laid out full of bullet-point goodness.

First, Kerry wants to "jumpstart job growth today." According to the Senator "The Bush economic approach has left states with nearly $90 billion in budget deficits, forcing lay offs, education cuts, and tax increases." Actually, state governments' problems rest with a mild recession early in Bush's term and their own overspending. The wizards at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) declared the recession to have started in March 2001. President Bush was in office six weeks when the recession began. Kerry is being intellectually dishonest in blaming Bush for an economy he had no ability to affect.

In his speech Senator Kerry said, "We're not just in a temporary downturn. America is in a fight for our economic future." Once again, Kerry is being intellectually dishonest. In July the NBER wizards declared the recession to have ended in November of 2001. That means the "Bush recession" was a whole eight months long. Now, it is certainly justified to question the thinking of a panel that took a year-and-a-half to determine the end of the recession. Despite the mainstream's love for mathematics, economics is an inexact science if it can even be called such, but sometimes we're left to play the cards we're dealt.

Then there's the "unfortunate" (for Kerry) news that manufacturing is recovering. The monthly purchasing managers index for Chicago showed a fourth straight month of manufacturing expansion. Economist Andy Kish said, "This bodes well for the domestic labor market since manufacturing layoffs have been the main impediment to generating positive job growth." When you put this Chicago news together with a recent report from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve you see that manufacturing is coming back. Even if Kerry tries to pin the loss of 2.7 million manufacturing jobs on Bush, recent news has made that more difficult.

Kerry's "State Tax Relief and Education Fund" ends up being a bailout to the states for spending too much. Can you say, "moral hazard?" States would have less of an incentive to maintain fiscal discipline if they knew the feds would eventually come around and hand them some money. What Kerry's fund also is is redistribution from disciplined states to undisciplined states.

The section "Using American Ingenuity to Create a Strong Economic Future" includes controlling "rising health care costs by helping pay for catastrophic care cases." With Medicare's and Medicaid's costs rising yearly, having the government involved with funding catastrophic care looks like a money hole that will never be filled. Kerry also sees government, not private, research planning as the way to "pave the way for industries of the future." Then there is his ridiculous notion to produce "20 percent of all our electricity from renewable sources by 2020" with no mention of how to prevent local residents from stopping the installation of windmills and solar panels.

In the section "Making Four Years of College Affordable" Kerry wants to offer tax credits covering four years of college. Allowing people to keep more of their money is a good thing, but Kerry wants to make the credit refundable so those that don't pay taxes could still receive the credit. That's not a tax credit, it's a subsidy. That amounts to welfare, middle class welfare.

In the section on tax relief, Kerry would keep Bush's tax cuts for the middle class. That includes capital gains and dividend taxes. Later on in his budget balancing section the Kerry plan would boost revenues by repealing "Bushís special tax breaks for Americans who make more than $200,000."

The Kerry economic plan amounts to soaking the rich, bribing the middle class, and micromanaging business. If you're in the middle class you might get some benefits: college tuition credits, health care subsidies, and no tax hikes; but if you happen to do well and become rich or start a business you will fall under John Kerry's watchful eye.

"Democrat Kerry Unveils Jobs, Economic Plan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:06 PM | Comments (0)

Al Franken's Crack Up

Al Franken lost it while hosting CNN's Crossfire (a worthless excuse for a "news" show) and babbled near the end of the program. All the attention has gotten to him. Maybe that way Fox News'/Bill O'Reilly's plan all along to stop Franken. They sued him so he would garner so much attention that he'd eventually crack. Since Al did so badly on this show imagine if he ever did become the flagship talker on a liberal talk radio network. He'd pass out on-air the first time a smart conservative got on to challenge him. He needs to go back to the quiet confines of Harvard and be waited on by 14 research assistants.

"Al Franken Flips Out on CNN" [via Boycott Hollywood]

trackback:
http://www.boycott-hollywood.net/mt/mt-tb.cgi?__mode=view&entry_id=596

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

Harvard's Lowered Standards

Matthew joins me in loudly declaring displeasure that Harvard wasted research money to fund Al Franken. He writes,

In their asinine lawsuit against Franken, Fox may have perfected the anti-publicity stunt, but that doesn't validate Franken's volume as a piece of "journalism" worthy of a Harvard fellowship, particularly when Franken used his Harvard resources to lie to the people he's "exposing." The news that Franken's fellowship was used to make his book begs the question: did the Shorenstein press center directors who granted Franken the fellowship know the direction of his resulting work, or did Al Franken con them -- as he attempted to do to others -- into thinking he was doing the work of a serious journalist?

Officials at the Shorenstein Center need to be held accountable to donors and alumni. Any Harvard TAM readers? I would like to talk to you.

"Al Franken, Con Man?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:38 AM | Comments (0)

Only No. 2

What's with those Madison college students? They must be sluffing off with their binge drinking and carousing. How else can the University of Colorado Boulder beat them out as the top party campus? When you go to school in a state known for its beer you have to take that reputation seriously. Colorado may be good at drinking, but the scoreboard showed who had the better football team down in San Antonio last December.

"Study Ranks University of Colorado No. 1 for Partying"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:27 AM | Comments (0)

The Mercenary Business

Private military companies (PMCs) are a big business and will only grow.

"Security for Sale"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

Album Sales Up in UK

This will put a wrench in the works of Big Music who think downloading is hurting music sales. Note that sales rose because prices went down.

"Singles Market Crashes by 41 per cent, Album Sales Up at All Time High" [via Techdirt]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

Greetings Vodkapundit Readers

Thanks to the link and kind words from Stephen Green TAM had its best traffic day of the week. A little over 300 visitors came yesterday. My goal of 5000+ visitors for August will now easily be reached. That will make August the biggest traffic month since ElianWatch way back in 2000. Thank you all for reading, leaving comments, and coming back.

This is as good a time as any to thank the weblogs that have recently linked to TAM:

I still get many of my visitors from bookmarks and favorites lists. If you have a weblog consider putting TAM on your blogroll. You won't be sorry.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:20 AM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2003

Learning from Their Mistakes?

This is a sign that the Bush team is beginning to understand that good economics is good politics:

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, Commerce Secretary Don Evans and other economic advisors want President Bush to roll back tariffs he imposed on $3 billion in steel imports, people familiar with the matter said.

Bush's economic team will argue that the tariffs ended up hurting U.S. manufacturers such as Caterpillar Inc. more than they helped steelmakers such as U.S. Steel Corp., said administration officials and outside advisors who requested anonymity.


Now, our pocketbooks can only hope they realize that controling government spending would not only tone down the huge budget deficit projections, but would take away an issue from the Democrats.

"Bush Team Is Said to Seek Lower Steel Tariffs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:58 PM | Comments (1)

McKinney at Cornell

Almost as goofy as Harvard giving Al Franken a fellowship (with 14 fact-finding assistants) is Cornell giving race-baiting, conspiracy nut Cynthia McKinney a visiting professorship. My already low opinion of Ivy League schools drops daily.

"Outspoken Bush Critic, McKinney, Named Rhodes Visiting Prof" [via The Volokh Conspiracy]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)

North Korea Crazy Game

Stephen Green writes on the North's strategy for telling everyone they have nukes and the means to deliver them.

"Tick"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Perle Admits Mistakes

Richard Perle, a key cheerleader for war, told a French newspaper that "mistakes have been made" in Iraq. His solution is to create an Iraqi government as soon as possible. An Iraqi constitution is not even in an embryonic state so any kind of permanent government structure is months or even years away. And would a quick transfer of power to Iraqis only make the new government the target of attacks to undermine it? And what would happen if a new Iraqi government decided that the U.S.'s time was up and wanted them to leave. Would Bush remove the troops if Iraq wasn't yet stable and on the path to democracy? Perle's been right on many elements of this war, but not in this case.

"Perle Cites Errors in Iraq, Urges Power Transfer"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2003

Unborn Has Rights in Mississippi

Last week the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that a mother could go forward with wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of her unborn child. In the ruling Justice Jim Smith wrote,

Tucker's interest is to protect and preserve the life of her unborn child, not in the exercise of her right to terminate that life which has been declared constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In essence the right to life of an unborn child rests solely in the intent of the mother. Only the mother can decide when her child can live or die. Under this jurisprudence one person determines the human rights of another. If that's not akin to slavery, I don't know what is.

"Mississippi Supreme Court Rules Unborn Child is a Person"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 02:12 PM | Comments (3)

Think Switzerland

It's official: In this weblog "war" TAM is the founding member of the Neutral Until Bribed Coalition [look down the left sidebar]. I have received no contact from either Frank J or Glenn so TAM's status looks to be the same for quite some time.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:05 AM | Comments (0)

Low Riders

Being the good parent that she is, Michele asks this question:

Oh and mothers of teenage girls: Why do you let your daughters walk around with pants so low that you can practically see what their natural hair color is? Not only is it disgusting and whorish looking, but the fact that most of these girls were with their mothers and/or fathers made me want to stab those parents in the eyes. Three times.

"What I Did on the Last Day of My Vacation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:48 AM | Comments (2)

Boeing's Corporate Welfare

The Congressional Budget Office has determined that it would cost taxpayers $5.7 billion more to lease and buy 100 new refueling planes than to just buy them. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the Senate's loudest critic of the Air Force plan. He's called it a sweetheart deal for Boeing. To an extent it is. What it definitely is is corporate welfare. Since the September 11 attacks the airlines have suffered major economic hardship. That has forced them to cancel plans to buy new planes. This deal would give Boeing a large amount of money without the company specifically asking Congress for a bail out. It's not just bad for taxpayers, it's just plain dishonest.

"Report: Leasing Boeing Tankers Costs More"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:33 AM | Comments (0)

Mission Accomplished

Lt. Smash is home. Hoorah!

"The Long Road Home"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:25 AM | Comments (0)

Commiewatch

I may have the occasional Paleowatch, but it's nothing compared to ex-Communist Greg Yardley. He has turned his hobby into a full-blown weblog.

commiewatch [via Wizblog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:53 AM | Comments (0)

Another Fantasy Game

Yahoo's got another free fantasy game. This one has a twist on the basic "predict a winner" game. Each week you pick a team. If they win, you survive to the next week; but if they lose, you're gone. The catch is once you pick a team you can't pick again. That means you can't pick the Texans or Bengals every week. This is a good game for football fans who don't have the time or desire to run a fantasy team. All you have to do is pick one team to win each week.

If you're interested in joining the Webloggers Survival league here are the important details:


Group Name: Webloggers Survival
ID#: 2385
Password: nfl2003

If you have a free fantasy football league you need another player for feel free to drop me a line. Just leave a comment or send an e-mail.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:07 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2003

BOTV 8

Tell your friends, family, and neighborhood dogs that the latest and worst Bonfire of the Vanities is up. Just please avoid my "recall election stalking."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

Brits Not Backing Down

The Brits aren't backing off their claim that Saddam could have launch chemical weapons in 45 minutes.

"Brit Spy Chief: WMD Claims Valid" [via Electric Venom]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 06:06 PM | Comments (2)

One Popular Duck

If you're a Democratic Presidential candidate, you know you're in trouble after you read this:

"Holy cow!" were the first two words out of his [Dean's] mouth at a rally in Seattle that drew an estimated 10,000 people. It was his fifth stop on a 10-city marathon dreamed up by his young staff.

I haven't heard of anyone getting that many people out to a political rally since the fall of 2000. We're still five months away from the first caucuses and primaries and the Duck is generating lots of energy. Karl Rove better not take the Duck lightly.

"Holy Cow! Democrat Dean Shocked by Campaign Crowds"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

Slept in Today

Today I have a day off. Since I wasn't feeling well last night (upset stomach) I slept in most of today to let my body fight the bug and to avoid the August Wisconsin heat. (It's almost September. Will it finally cool off?) I'm back for most of the afternoon and evening to comment more on Terrance Cottrell Jr. as well as anything else that catches my eye.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:32 PM | Comments (1)

SportsBlog is Born

[trumpet fanfare]

Here ye! Here ye!

Ladies, gentlemen, and gifted animals for your sports reading pleasure Kevin, a few of our favorite contributors, and I offer you SportsBlog!

[more trumpet fanfare]

In a couple weeks we will have NFL kickoff weekend. Some of you fantasize about this time of the year. Some of you have a satellite dish just to have NFL Sunday Ticket to watch as much football as humanly possible. Then there are some of you who think you can run a team as well as the real guys so you play fantasy football. For all of you SportsBlog is the place. With our vast (and growing) number of contributors SB can cover the NFL at the speed of the Internet. There will be news, opinion, and analysis. And if that isn't enough for you, there are forums to yap with for fellow football freaks. SportsBlog takes America's love of sports and gives it that extra high-speed kick that only a weblog can do.

We're looking for more contributors to SB. The nice thing about a weblog is writers can be as broad or as narrow as they like. With SB you can post on the injury to your favorite teams second-string QB or complain about kickers jumping around like they're on fire just for kicking a 30-yard field goal. SB will not be successful unless we have contributors. For those of you who just read weblogs and aren't sure about starting your own, SB can be your way of dipping your big toe into it. Joining is easy. Just send an e-mail to admin at sportsblog dot org.

Now, are you ready for some football!?!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:27 AM | Comments (2)

August 25, 2003

Autistic Boy Crushed

Police said Terrance Cottrell Jr. died last Friday because Ray Hemphill sat or laid on his chest during prayer sessions to rid the boy of "bad spirits." Hemphill was arrested and is in custody on suspicion of physical abuse of a child. The district attorney's office has yet to charge him for Cottrell's death. Part of the delay is because of a Wisconsin law that deals with "treatment through prayer."

"Boy's Death Ruled Homicide"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:41 PM | Comments (1)

Autistic Boy Dies

In bad local news an autistic boy died during a prayer service. Few details are known as to what happened. Serice participants admit the boy's hands and feet were held during the service and a sheet was place over the boy's hands.

"Church Expects Clearance in Death"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)

B-Days

Not mine, but Rollie Fingers' birthday is today. He was a great relief pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. That American League pennant hanging inside Miller Park could have been accompanied with a World Series banner if Fingers wouldn't have been injured in the 1982 series against St. Louis. I was eight at the time and ticked that my dad went to one of ALCS games against the (then) California Angels. But oh did I cheer and cheer.

Oh, and it's Michele's birthday and wedding anniversary too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)

Worst People of the 20th Century

John Hawkins, the VH-1 of the Blogosphere, has struck again with another list. Find out who right-wing webloggers picked at the worst people of the 20th Century.

For conversation purposes here's my list. It was done quickly and in no particular order. Many deserving people didn't make it (the Clintons not included):


  • Josef Stalin
  • Adolph Hitler
  • John Maynard Keynes
  • Mao
  • Michael Foucult
  • Lenin
  • Pol Pot
  • Idi Amin
  • Tojo
  • Fidel Castro
  • Margaret Sanger

I would have put Karl Marx on the list since I consider him to be the most influential person of the 20th Century. But it's John's list and I wasn't going to quibble with putting an person who didn't live in that century on it.

"Conservative Bloggers Select The Worst Figures Of The 20th Century"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)

Rubber Check

Bouncing a $1 check is not a good sign that your project has much of a chance.

"Duluth Nonprofit Buys Building for $1, but Bounces Check" [via The Eye]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2003

Fake Blackout Picture

Snopes.com has the details on the the fake blackout picture I tried to pass on to you. Me bad.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

Notebook Ideas

A notebook computer would be really nice for BloggerCon in October. WiFi will be available for that day. I don't own a notebook capable of WiFi. And since I spent a whole lot of money fixing my car (it's still a bargain) I don't have much cash. Any suggestions as to the minimum specs I'd need (processor, RAM, etc.) for my searches on Half.com and eBay? How much do you guess I would have to spend? What about putting Linux on it? How difficult would installing the OS and getting WiFi working with it? Would anybody put something in a tip jar if I put one up?

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

Gods-Eye-View of Blackout

Jim at Unix, Music, and Politics posted a pic showing North America the night of the blackout. That black void isn't the East Coast being swallowed up by a black hole created by incessant liberal taxation. That's what happens when you have a problem in Ohio that cascades east. Look just south of Florida. That's Communist Cuba. Fidel's Workers' Paradise had more lights on than the East Coast. How embarassing!

UPDATE: Matthew at A Fearful Symmetry tells me the pic is probably photoshopped. Looking at it more closely I see New Jersey is blacked out while Detroit and Canada are lighted. That doesn't make jive with the stories I read.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:21 AM

Jimmie Walker's Weblog

Jay linked to Jimmie Walker's weblog. I've only read a few posts and I know he's cool. His television watching is much like mine ("C-span, Fox News and Sports"), and there's his view on affirmative action:

Affirmative action was very necessary at the the time, but like "the lava lamp" , "the hula hoop", and "the eight track tape" affirmative action's time has passed.

There aren't permalinks so scroll down, nod your head in agreement (or roll your eyes), and laugh.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:05 AM | Comments (0)

Job Boom

Jay makes up for his toe post with a review of a Business 2.0 [not online] story on the upcoming job boom. Since it isn't online, I'll have to remember to grab a copy next time I work at the bookstore.

"Jobs, Demographics, and Our Future"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:54 AM | Comments (0)

Gracias and Welcome

Thanks go to Cynthia for the addition of TAM to her blogroll.

And welcome fellow Battlestar Galactica fans.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2003

Sports Webloggers Wanted

Like sports? Want to write about it? Want a chance to get in on the ground floor of a cool new addition to the blogosphere? Then join Kevin and I at the soon-to-be-open SportBlog. We're looking for contributors. All the details are over at Wizbang.

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

Duck is Pro-Suicide

It's hard for me to see how Howard the Duck could be taken out of context. He told Oregon Public Radio that, "I think states have to make up their own mind" on assisted suicide. He went on to say:

I as a physician would not be comfortable administering lethal drugs, but I think this a very private, personal decision and I think individual physicians and patients have the right to make that private decision.

It's the typical pro-death line. "I wouldn't kill anyone myself, but people should be allow to do so." Duck is trying to have it both ways. He never said if suicide was right or wrong. Such an abstention from moral reasoning is by default pro-death.

"Presidential Candidate Howard Dean Endorses Assisted Suicide"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 03:29 AM | Comments (18)

Franken Triumphs Over Fox News

A federal judge tossed out Fox News' legal attempt to stop the sale of Al Franken's new book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Judge Denny Chin said, "Parody is a form of artistic expression protected by the First Amendment. The keystone to parody is imitation. Mr. Franken is clearly mocking Fox."

Since a federal judge considers Franken's book to be a parody and no one objected, then why did Harvard give Franken a paid fellowship to write it? I'll ask again: how does Franken's parody advance the Shorenstein Center's objective to "advance existing research in press/politics and to provide an opportunity for distinguished experts to reflect on their discipline"?

In Michelle Malkin's latest column she too mocked Franken's Harvard fellowship:

So Franken is remorseful about offending his high-minded liberal benefactors at Harvard, who supported his book "research" under the guise of "bridging the gap between journalists and scholars" and "helping the press improve its role in democracy."

"Fox Loses Bid to Stop Sale of Franken Book" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 03:14 AM | Comments (0)

CEO Drops Windows Not Ball

A bad experience with the Business Software Alliance over unlicensed software made Ernie Ball CEO Sterling Ball switch from Microsoft to open source software. His business is still standing.

This goes to show that MS doesn't have the monopoly its critics claim. Ernie Ball dumb MS and lived to tell about. The EU is set to punish MS for antitrust violations. The bureaucrats in Brussels need to read this interview.

"Rockin' on Without Microsoft" [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 02:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2003

A Diversity Myth

David Brooks points out something the diverstiy police dare not speak:

Maybe it's time to admit the obvious. We don't really care about diversity all that much in America, even though we talk about it a great deal. Maybe somewhere in this country there is a truly diverse neighborhood in which a black Pentecostal minister lives next to a white anti-globalization activist, who lives next to an Asian short-order cook, who lives next to a professional golfer, who lives next to a postmodern-literature professor and a cardiovascular surgeon. But I have never been to or heard of that neighborhood. Instead, what I have seen all around the country is people making strenuous efforts to group themselves with people who are basically like themselves.

At the end of his essay, he redefines what good diversity should entail:

It's probably better to think about diverse lives, not diverse institutions. Human beings, if they are to live well, will have to move through a series of institutions and environments, which may be individually homogeneous but, taken together, will offer diverse experiences. It might also be a good idea to make national service a rite of passage for young people in this country: it would take them out of their narrow neighborhood segment and thrust them in with people unlike themselves. Finally, it's probably important for adults to get out of their own familiar circles. If you live in a coastal, socially liberal neighborhood, maybe you should take out a subscription to The Door, the evangelical humor magazine; or maybe you should visit Branson, Missouri. Maybe you should stop in at a megachurch. Sure, it would be superficial familiarity, but it beats the iron curtains that now separate the nation's various cultural zones.

Just ignore Brooks' call for mandatory national service.

"People Like Us"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)

Ouch

I don't think writing about your swollen toe is a great way to generate traffic. But what do I know? Jay got another link from me.

"Not Tonight, I Have a Toe Ache"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)

Flash Mob No Go

Last night Milwaukee was to have joined New York, London, and other cities in hosting a flash mob. The surprise was it didn't happen.

It was to occur last night at Jazz in the Park at Cathedral Square. Participants were to pretend to ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles and make the motorcycle sound "potato potato potato" (fitting since the 100th anniversary bash is this weekend). Then they were to disperse.

Unlike other flash mobs, this one was known beforehand in the Journal Sentinel and on WTMJ radio. The media did just what I did and joined the Milwaukee flash mob Yahoo! group. A local news station even had a camera crew at Cathedral Square doing a countdown. A backup plan and a backup plan to the backup plan were put together. But only a few people showed up so the flash mob organizer canceled.

The organizer will try again at another time.

"Flash Mob Rumored to Act out Downtown"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:45 AM | Comments (4)

Taco Bell's Recall

I guess Taco Bell doesn't want to sell a lot of chicken soft tacos. [via Drudge]

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

August 21, 2003

Help Jay

Jay Solo want to get to 20,000 visits. A marathon through his blogroll is his method. He's done really well today. Help him out. If you love to find new weblogs Jay's is the place.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:41 PM | Comments (1)

Justin Raimondo, Come Back Anytime

I haven't had a good Paleowatch post in a long time, but thanks to a visit from Mr. Antiwar.com himself, Justin Raimondo I've been inspired.

It seems a bored Mr. Raimondo was cruising the Net and found this post on antiwar marching and his attack on Andrew Sullivan. He couldn't help responding to my remark that "next time I'm feeling ill, Dr. Raimondo will be the first Net writer I'll call for a diagnosis."

Next time you're feeling ill? Buddy, you ARE ill. Keep watching us paleos: we're watching you Likudniks, too....

Justin must be have forgotten to get a pack of cigarettes. Or he's trying to quit. Either way it sounds like he's having a major nic fit. However, I will humor myself and respond to this troll-like remark.

Next time you're feeling ill? Buddy, you ARE ill.
Dr. Raimondo is at it again, diagnosing from afar. He must have really took Newt Gingrich's idea of telemedicine to heart. He thinks Sullivan has some AIDS-induced mental disorder, and I'm just plain "ill." What skill. Forget writing diatribes a few times a week, Raimondo should go on Oprah or get his own television show opposite Dr. Phil. Where did Dr. Raimondo get his medical degree anyway? Was it a reputable school here in the states or some fly-by-night quack operation running out of a beach resort in the Grand Caymans?
Keep watching us paleos: we're watching you Likudniks, too....
Fellow war supporters, you better be updating your copies of Ad-aware to make sure Raimondo and his ilk do not have spy-ware monitoring what we read e-mail to our Vast Neo-Con Conspiracy (I'm having that trademarked). It sounds paranoid, and we really shouldn't be very worried. Come on. Do you actually think people that look like this and who drone on and on about Israel controlling U.S. foreign policy are capable of serious computer cracking? Raimondo looks more likely to be caught with mounds and mounds of child porn than cracking into computers.

Then there's the reference to "Likudniks." When it comes to a (relatively) free country being attacked by terrorists from a neighbor who have many ties to leaders of that area then I'll back the attacked country. I'll support an Israel that doesn't deserve to have its citizens be targets for homicide bombs no matter how many examples Palestinian sympathizers offer of Israeli oppression. This isn't a question of liking Jews over Arabs. If the tables were turned and Palestinians were being targeted by Israeli terrorists, I guess I'd be an "Arafat-nik." If Arafat and the Palestinian Authority was serious and/or had the capability to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad peace would have a better chance. That doesn't make me some Jew-lover. It makes me someone who knows who are the instigators and the victims instead of clouding one's judgement with quasi-anti-semitism.

Justin buddy, if you want engage in a serious debate I'll use the words of American hero Todd Beamer, "Let's roll!"

P.S. This isn't the first time Raimondo has gone after minor webloggers. Last year, he went after Fredrik Norman. Fredrik is interning at AEI, a think tank filled with neo-cons. *Gasp* Raimondo's conspiracy theories just might be right.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 10:31 PM | Comments (3)

MWI: Mowing While Intoxicated

My locale sure isn't boring. Here's what happened just up the road from me:

The question of what constitutes a motor vehicle has become the central issue in the case of a man accused of operating a riding lawn mower on a street while drunk. Barry S. Davis, 44, of Hartford, appeared in Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court on a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated Tuesday. Davis admitted to drinking a six-pack of beer, but said he did not know driving a lawn mower while intoxicated was illegal. Judge Andrew Gonring asked Washington County Assistant District Attorney Peter Cannon what the definition of a motor vehicle was. Cannon told the judge, according to state statute, a motor vehicle is any vehicle that is self-propelled. "We believe it applies" to this case, Cannon said. Davis claimed in court he was simply crossing the road. "I wasn't weaving, swerving, nothing like that. I couldn't knock a chair over with it even," he said. But, according to the criminal complaint, Hartford Officer James Zywicki pulled the man over after seeing the mower move side to side on Grant Street and then seeing then nearly go in a ditch to avoid oncoming traffic. Davis spent Tuesday night in the Washington County Jail, then was released after signing a $750 signature bond. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 3 for further proceedings.

"Man Accused of Operating Lawn Mower while Drunk"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2003

Why is Franken a Harvard Fellow?

A couple of posts down I wondered why Al "Fair and Balanced Except When I Lie to John Ashcroft" Franken was a paid fellow at the Shorenstein Center at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. I've gone straight to the source and am still confused.

According to the Shorenstein Center's website "[f]ellows are domestic or international journalists, scholars, and/or policymakers who are interested in the influence of the press on public policy and politics."

Then there's the fellowship program's objective:

The purpose of the Fellows Program is to advance existing research in press/politics and to provide an opportunity for distinguished experts to reflect on their discipline. Our goal is to foster a collegial and intellectual environment that will enrich and complement oneís knowledge of the field. The primary focus for a fellow in residence is a paper (approximately 25 pages in length) on a topic examining and analyzing the influence of the press on politics and public policy in the domestic or international arena.

How does Franken fit into this? His background includes performing and writing for Saturday Night Live, co-writing the movie When a Man Loves a Woman, and writing the books like Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot and Other Observations and Why Not Me: The Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency. He is neither a journalist, scholar, nor policymaker. And last time I heard just because you can make fun of the news doesn't mean you're any good at examining the "influence of the press on public policy and politics." The closest I can see for Franken being qualified is he's a Harvard graduate and had a daughter studying there. It looks like Harvard's "old boys network" in action.

With the $17,500 stipend wasted on Franken 35 people could attend BloggerCon in October. Franken's new book isn't even out yet and it already looks like there would be more intellectually stimulating from a weblogger gathering than Franken's attempt at humor. If I were a Harvard alumni or donor I'd be upset in how school officials are wasting away research money on a dishonest comedian.

[via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:47 PM | Comments (2)

TAM on Daypop

Daypop's Top 40 must be on the fritz. My post on Warren Buffett and Prop. 13 is tied for 11th. But only two other weblogs linked to it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

A Taxing Solution

Jay Currie writes:

As the RIAA's "sue your customer" campaign begins to run into stiffening opposition and serious procedural obstacles it may be time to think about a "Plan B". A small levy on storage media, say a penny a megabyte, would be more lucrative than trying to extract 60 million dollars from a music obsessed, file sharing, thirteen year-old.

A tax for online song trading, where have I heard that before?

"Blame Canada" [via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Franken at Harvard

What's more obnoxious: Al Franken lying to John Ashcroft to pad an upcoming book; or Harvard's Kennedy School hosting Franken as a fellow last spring?

Also notice that Fox News doesn't consider Bill O'Reilly a journalist. At the end of the story they refer to him merely as a "Fox News personality."

"Comedian Al Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

A Blood Test is Better

Gender Genie is a joke. I entered three of my posts, and the algorithm was wrong every time.

[via blogdex]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 08:29 PM | Comments (1)

A No Worm Zone

Glenn Reynolds and Matt Welch are getting swamped with virus/worm e-mails, yet TAM toodles along with no problems. Why this stuff happens to other people and not me, I don't know. I have plenty of protection. A firewall and anti-virus software help, and I update Windows ME whenever Microsoft tells me to. But since I'm writing about this something bad will happen to my computer. It will probably happen just when I'm about to begin my fantasy football draft that starts in less than one hour.

Here's a message to the computing gods: I'm not bragging, just making an observation.

I'm doomed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)

No Ruffini Quote

Blaster links to a WaPo story on President Bush's campaign website. Unfortunately, there's no mention of Patrick Ruffini.

"Bush Campaign Reaching Out to Bloggers"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:10 PM | Comments (0)

Smart and Pretty

She's pretty, supports a flat tax, and running for governor. Two questions: Is Ms. Adams single? And how long do I have to live in California before I'm eligible to vote?

Brooke Adams for Governor [via ESR Musings]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:05 AM | Comments (0)

Prop. 13 and Scheer

Stefan Sharkansky points out a consequence of Prop. 13:

Because property values are reassessed to market value only at the time of a sale, there is an enormous advantage to long-term owners at the expense of those who enter or re-enter the market. It is precisely a form of rent control with the same undesirable side effects. Do you want to give young entrepreneurs with growing families a reason to leave California to start their businesses elsewhere? Prop. 13 is the solution for you!

He then does some digging into the property holdings of capitalism-basher Robert Scheer.

"Weekly Canard" [via InstaPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:41 AM | Comments (1)

"How About Them Carnivals?"

Other than forcing us to view Dallas Cowboys history (Dallas' 5 Super Bowl victories aren't even close to Green Bay's 12 league titles), James at Outside the Beltway has put together a great Carnival of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

Reality Bites

Mark Edwards has a reasonable explaination for how a photojournalist was mistaken for an Iraqi guerilla and killed.

"An Exercise in Reality [via Four Right Wing Wackos]

UPDATE: Thanks to Matthew of A Fearful Symmetry for this link to Spartacus.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 01:10 AM | Comments (3)

Free-Market Electricity

Tyler Cowen on liberating electrical markets:

In the long run you would have a) much cheaper home or local generation, b) a decentralized system, immune to terrorist attack, c) no significant regulatory issues, it would be like buying a toaster, and d) perhaps a system that is more environmentally friendly (of course this depends, you donít want people dumping system waste into the water table, or being stuck with hard-to-dispose-of batteries, letís hope for solar panels, and donít even ask about the guy who gets fried in the backyard trying to fix or operate his system instead of calling in an expert).

I know this idea is harder to sell than terrorism futures. ďHey, pay thousands each year, right now, for decades, your grandchildren will have something great but of course I am a Hayekian and canít tell you right now exactly what the good future outcome will look like!Ē

Still, I donít think we should dismiss the laissez-faire idea outright. Look at it this way, letís say you are a technological optimist who believes that energy can be virtually free within fifty to one hundred years. Might this be one way of getting there? The best way?

But for Matt Yglesias, he'd prefer some "nice, comfortable, regulations."

"Laissez-Faire in Electricity Supply"

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

Fantasy Football Help

CBS Sportsline has a nifty index of players' durability. It's not perfect. When it comes to QBs nobody's tougher than Brett Favre.

---

After looking at a number of mock drafts and draft results [here, here, here, and here] RBs will go fast. That means you have to go after quality right away at that position because little may be left when you need to fill in slots. That also means that quality players at other positions will fall. In the SI draft, Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe fell to the 7th round.

---

USA Today gives you a listing of player projections. Just plug in you league's scoring system.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

A Thank You & Some Blegging

[Navel Gazing]
After adding up the monthly stats from my web traffic monitors I've learned that TAM has had over 30,000 visits this year. At that rate there would be more than enough visitors to sell out a Brewers' game. Thanks to all my readers and fellow webloggers who have linked to TAM. Sometimes I get cranky about TAM's place in the blogosphere, but the numbers prove a bunch of people are interested in what I have to say.

Many of you visit TAM through your bookmarks. If you have a weblog I'd be honored if you'd put TAM on it. Also, use the trackback feature. TAM doesn't get enough of those. It's a easy way for me to find your weblog. If you don't think you have the time to weblog, that's ok. Just tell your friends about all the neat, insightful stuff you find here.
[/Navel Gazing]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2003

Baghdad Bombing

Salman Pax on today's bombing:

was there about an hour after it happened. really bad. very quick response from the American military, the helicopters with red crosses on them were going back and forth and there wer always three waiting to get the poeple to hospitals. ambulances going back and forth. the whole area cordoned off. the worst was having to talk to people who have relative and family in there. it is a car bombed there is no question about it.
you realize this is the second car bomb, the jordanian embassy.
there is a friggin' Iraqi idiot now on Jazeera saying that the security responsibility should be given over to the Iraqi Governing Council. Fuck off, this is not about American presence in Iraq. these attacks have nothing to do with the so called resistance. These are fucking idiots who destroying all the efforts to help this country get back on it's feet. the fucking Governing Council could not control this mess the moment the Coalition Forces move out we are plunged in chaos. We have entered a dark dark tunnel and we have no idea what will happen now.

"Bad Scene, Very Bad Scene"

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

New Battlestar Galactica

I understand how some Battlestar Galactica fans are peeved at the new mini-series coming out in December. They changed the gender of two characters, Boomer and Starbuck; and they made the Cylons into humanoids.

If the writers and producers of the new series wanted to make a new kind of science fiction series they could have started from scratch, but as Ronald D. Moore put it,

When the idea of Galactica was brought to me, I quickly realized this was a really good way to go. Hereís an existing franchise. I donít have to walk in and sell them the whole conceptóokay, letís do science fiction againówhich is hit or miss sometimes. Itís always an expensive proposition. Other than Star Trek, many are the bodies of the dead.

The documentary-style filming should definitely set it apart from the rest of sci-fi television.

"Taking the Opera Out of Space Opera"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 08:46 PM | Comments (3)

Draft Tomorrow

To all members of the Webloggers League the draft is less than 24 hours away. If you can't make the live draft make sure you edit your pre-draft rankings so you don't get stuck with picking Michael Vick in the first round. That was the only draft hint I will be giving you. For the rest of the night I'll be plowing through mock drafts, schedules, and stat sheets to put together the ultimate team that will rule the blogosphere. I'll pass on any good sites I find beyond the obvious (ESPN, CBS Sportsline).

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

That heat you feel isn't from the lack of A/C due to a power outage. No, it's just the latest edition of the Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 07:05 PM | Comments (1)

GeorgeWBush.com

Now I know where Patrick Ruffini disappeared to. He's the webmaster for President Bush's campaign website, GeorgeWBush.com. To think I knew him when he was only a trouble-making College Republican at U of Penn. Congratulations, Patrick.

Following in the footsteps of Howard the Duck, the website is targeting webloggers (why oh why has "blog" and "bloggers" taken such hold?) with buttons, banners, and a newsfeed for web sites or weblogs. What the campaign needs is an RSS feed for news aggregators and to give webloggers more flexibility.

"Bush-Cheney í04 Launches Grassroots Action Site at GeorgeWBush.com"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:20 AM | Comments (12)

PoliBlog vs TAM on Prop. 13

Don't worry, hostilities haven't broken out between Steven and me. It's not some lame attempt to generate some "news" during the August doldrums. It just a discussion on California's Proposition 13 and a better way to finance local government.

Steven links to how Prop. 13 works:

Section 2 of Article XIIIA of the California Constitution (enacted by Proposition 13) establishes an acquisition-value assessment system. It provides that property is to be assessed at its value when acquired through a change of ownership or by new construction. Thereafter, the taxable value of property may increase annually by no more than the rate of inflation or two percent, whichever is less.

Steven sees this tax limitation as unfair:

I understand the root cause of the taxpayer revolt in the 1970s that led to Prop 13, but clearly this distorts the fairness of the system. It seems to me that if my house and your house in the same neighborhood are valued the same, we should pay the same amount in property taxes.

It may be unfair for the latter buyer, but the market-assessed method for property taxes is unfair to the person who has lived in a home for a significant amout of time. Suppose person A bought a house for $100,000 in 1990. In 2000, person B bought an identical house next door for $200,000 (a result of the dot-com boom). Assuming the same tax rate is applied to both properties, B is paying twice as much as A. It's seems unfair to B because they're both using a similar amount of government services. But it would be unfair to raise A's taxes just because B spent more on his house.

In another post, Steven and I go back a forth on the property tax versus a user tax. I commented:

In my perfect world, property taxes would be based on use of city services or land size instead of the property's value.

Steven responds:

Well, that would be a usage tax, not a property tax. Plus, how does one exactly calculate that? For example, even if one drives less than one's neighbor, one may still get other benefits from the roads (such as their use in shipping in items you buy that you neighbor doesn't--it is difficult to quantify).

Property taxes, by definition, are an assessment against the value of the home. Prop 13 distorts the way that value is assessed, and creates inequity in how citizens are taxed.

No tax is economically neutral. Adding another cost onto anything creates incentives to minimize it. An example of this are the narrow houses in Amsterdam. When taxes were determined based on the width of the home, smart Dutchmen built narrow houses. When it comes to the roads, the gas tax seems like it works fairly well at focusing on the bigger users. When I mentioned a tax based on property size, I was thinking in particular the amount of road going past one's property that needed snow plowing (Wisconsinite's brain at work) and sewers.

How you would calculate the tax is to take the total levy (government spending) then divide it by the taxable land in the governmental area. It would end up being a certain dollar amount per square feet of land. Larger land owners would pay more since it would seem they used more government services. There would still be distortions--those unintended consequences--but it seems more just than basing taxes on property values that are beyond the control of property owners.

In the California situation, I see little need for tax increases or "reform" that amounts to tax increases when government spending balloon these past few years. Revenue hasn't been California's problem since the paper on Prop. 13 Steven linked to states that "The property tax has proven to be a stable revenue source for local governments, growing almost 10 percent per year between 1980 and 1992; even in 1992, a recession year, the annual increase was 7.9 percent." Any fiscal problems with local government is the result of out-of-control spending not fluctuating tax revenue. Much of the spending increases is beyond the control of the legislature due to propositions (example: Arnold's after-school initiative). I'm from the Friedman school of taxes: to shrink government you must shrink the revenue that flows into it. Prop. 13 prevents the beast from being fed more.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:15 AM | Comments (1)

August 18, 2003

Problems with Electrical System

Lynne Kiesling nails what's wrong with the electrical system:

Generation is largely governed by market processes, but transmission and retail distribution remain heavily regulated. The investment decisions of transmission owners and the retail rates that they can charge to their end customers all hinge on rate cases that are decided by state-level regulators. The rates that regulators allow take into account changes in costs, required investments, and the payment to the utility of a rate of return on the assets they own. For much of the past decade this rate of return has been substantially lower than what utilities could earn from doing other things with their money, so they did not invest in building much new transmission capacity or in upgrading existing lines. Nor did a regulatory environment that is a relic from the 1930s, constructed to govern and control local, vertically integrated utilities, either have the incentive or the wherewithal to force the utilities to invest in transmission assets that would carry power to customers in other states.

This lack of investment in the infrastructure that carries the product exchanged in growing, vibrant wholesale electricity markets has become a problem -- not an overnight problem, as those who follow the industry have been concerned about transmission capacity for at least five years. The numbers offered this weekend suggest that electricity volume has increased 30 percent while transmission carrying capacity has increased only 15 percent. This fact illustrates the mismatch between the dynamic markets for wholesale power and the rigid, maladaptive set of state-level regulations and incentives that govern transmission investment decisions.

"The Solution, Not the Problem" [via InstaPundit]

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

Buffet and Prop. 13

James and Steven (and here) both yapp on Buffet and Prop. 13.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Steel Tariffs Continue

The International Trade Commission voted to extend steel tariffs for five years. While this seems good for American steel manufacturers (they now claim 89% of the domestic market) overall, it hurts an already weak economy. Caterpillar wants the tariffs lifted to grow manufacturing jobs, and consumers end up paying more for steel-based products. The U.S. has already lost a WTO case, so if President Bush maintains these trade restrictions the integrity of that body could be at stake.

"U.S. Agency Votes to Extend Curbs on Steel From China, Russia" [via BushBlog]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Hayek Comic

James (via Dean) linked to "The Road to Serfdom in Cartoons". For those of you way too lazy or time constrained to read the actual book (it's not very long) it offers the jist of Hayek's argument against economic planning.

What struck me was Look published this in their magazine and General Motors printed it as a booklet. Oh have times changed. You'd be hard pressed to find something this anti-statist published in a mainstream periodical or put out by a corporation. The former is hooked on Big Government while the latter would find such "radical" ideas in TRTS too "controversial."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

Jets Not Extorting

Michele rants on the New York Jets' new policy of making people on their season tickets waiting list pay to stay in line.

The economist in me has no problem with paying to stand in line. (If you read James Fallows' Atlantic article on Rupert Murdoch you know they do it on Capitol Hill.) My beloved Green Bay Packers have over 50,000 people on their waiting list. It's common for new parents to put their child's name on the list immediately after birth so they have a possibility of getting season tickets by the time they're 40. For a really small-market team like the Packers paying to be in line would be a good money-maker. Sure, people will be ticked and drop out of line, but that would only make those left move up that much faster.

Where the Jets went wrong is for their president Jay Cross to say the charge was to keep fans "in the family." That's gobble-dee-gook. That's not even good spin. He could have been honest by saying that since there is so much demand just to wait to get Jets' tickets it is appropriate to charge for the privilige. Phil Mushnick is just wrong when he writes, "Jets are now charging something for absolutely nothing." That's not true. The Jets are charging $50 to get on the list for season tickets. Fans saw value by going on the list when the cost was zero, and they'll see value when they pay their $50. Phil certainly showed that any economics classes he took ever rubbed off on him.

With the Jets (and Packers and Redskins) having huge waiting lists for season tickets, that tells me those teams charge too little. Demand is outpacing supply. Of course, I'm being pretty simplistic. Teams want to connect with people. Having very expensive ticket prices could and do alienate fans. Just look at Michele's reaction. Then there are teams like Oakland and Arizona who can't fill up their stadiums. In their cases, if they want to maximize stadium revenue they should lower ticket prices. Since they don't some other factor comes into their decision-making. It might have something to do with shared revenue (ticket money is partially shared with the visiting team) or with television money.

"Jets' List Real Steal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in EconomicsSports at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)

Booked Up

Someday I will go to Archer City, Texas.

"Author McMurtry Makes Texas Town a Used Book Oasis" [via PubliusTX]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:45 AM | Comments (0)

Liberal Weblogs

I don't read many liberal weblogs. Shame on me. Occasionally I'll read Brad DeLong to get the Clinton economic spin. I have enough trouble finding time to read the conservative/libertarian weblogs. But lists from Daniel Drezner and James Joyner provide good places to visit.

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

Buffett Supports Raising Taxes

The perfect way to be labled a RINO (Republican In Name Only) is to sign on to Warren Buffett's claim that California property taxes are too low. He said he only paid $2,264 on his California house, but over $14,000 on his Nebraska home. Nobody is stopping the Omaha billionaire from handing over more of his money to the California government. If he's so enamored with higher taxes he could start paying them immediately. He doesn't which means he wants others to be forced to pay more too.

Great investor, lousy defender of liberty.

"Buffett's Tax Criticism Draws Rebukes" [via Drudge]

UPDATE: Arnold reaffirms his support for Prop. 13.

"Arnold Speaks! (On Paper.)" [via PrestoPundit]

UPDATE II: Arnold's other economic advisor, George Schultz opposes any tax increases. Hey Arnold, I don't know a lot about running a campaign but my advise would be to let your spokesman speak and let your advisors advise. Let them disagree, but make sure they do it away from reporters.

"Renowned Economists Oppose California Tax Increases" [via PrestoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:57 AM | Comments (0)

Webloggers League

The league draft is in two days. I don't recognize all the players' weblogs by team name, so if you want leave a comment with your team name, weblog, and URL. I might actually play around with my template and add the list. I know at least one of you doesn't have a weblog. Don't worry, the rest of us will just rag on you for not having one. Dems the breaks.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:49 AM | Comments (2)

Blogosphere "War"

The Frank J. vs. Glenn "war" is still dumb. I have no horse in his race. Frank J. looks like he's suffering from a heat-induced neurosis, while Glenn links to weblogs that are quite inferior to TAM (I won't name any names...yet). But if either of them wants TAM on their side I do have a price. Put me on your blogroll and I'll think about it.

"The Force Grows"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:37 AM | Comments (0)

A Real Weblog War

Kate is the victim of a nasty weblogger and an overcautious government agency. Just from some posts on a weblog and (presumbably) a telephone call, Child Protective Services (CPS) came to Kate's home to investigate. I've read her for a few months and never even suspected she was any threat to her daughter. CPS came to the same conclusion and called the complaint "malicious." While doing their job, I don't think they should have even been there unless they had a real suspicion that something harmful was taking place. If evidence like screaming from the house or bruises on the child were found, then sure investigate; but some posts and comments on weblog? Give me a break.

What happened to Kate is a downside to being a widely-read weblog. A little less popularity in the blogosphere does have its benefits.

[via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2003

Bill's Not Very Bright

Because I think Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) is a pompous ass for declaring the U.S. electrical grid like that of the third-world, I offer this brief analysis by that famed GOP electrical engineer, Rich Galen:

The North American Energy Reliability Council which tracks such things has determined that, including last week, there have been seven grid failures since the big one on November 9, 1965.

None lasted for more than a day.

Let's go to the blackboard:

Mr. Mullings. Didn't we talk about this math and physics business last time?

Yes, but this is just long division, not quantum mechanics.
The number of days between November 8, 1965 and August 14, 2003 is 13,793.

The number of days in which some portion of the national power grid failed during that period is 7.

Dividing 13,793 by 7 we get 0.000507504

Moving the decimal two places to the right (and rounding up) we get a failure rate of 51 THOUSANTHS of one percent.

Stating it the other way, the power grid (which was described by former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson as being like one in a "third world country") has been up 99.949 percent of the time over the past 37 years.

How do you say "Cork it, Bill!" in Spanish?

"Snow Day"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)

Those Smart French

Here's a great way to bring tourists into France:

A French mayor has brought in a new law against smelly tourists.

It allows police to stop people leaving the beach in swimwear for an odour check. Anyone found to be too smelly will be ordered to cover up or get a fine.

"Mayor Passes New Laws Against Smelly Tourists" [via Boycott Hollywood]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 03:22 AM | Comments (0)

No Baby Boomlet

According to Snopes, I'm all wet on my prediction of crowded maternity wards out east in nine months.

"From Here to Maternity"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:18 AM | Comments (0)

Blame Ohio

Forget Canada. Forget Lancing. Investigators are looking at transmission lines near Cleveland, OH.

Politicians are preening for the cameras when talking about the blackout. Gov. George Pataki (R-NY) said it was ironic that the National Electric Reliability Council monitored this blackout. "If ever there was a misnomer, it's the 'electric reliability council.' We did not have reliability," he said. The last major blackout on the East Coast was in 1977. That's 26 years ago. 26 years of anything running 24-7 without major hickups is pretty darn good in my book.

At least Pataki's yapping wasn't as asinine as former Energy Secretary Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-NM) who had a great line for television when he said, "We're a superpower with a third-world grid. We need a new grid." Iraq has a third-world grid. North Korea has a third-world grid. Liberia has a third-world grid. A quick glance at the earth at night shows the real difference between first- and third-world grids. Richardson has both eyes and a brain so you can assume he just said what he did for attention.

Wired magazine's timing was good. In this month's Infoporn section they look at how by 2013 most of the world will be connected into one power grid. So if someone in Ohio screws up again the French might be feeling it. Now, that might not be such a bad thing.

Then there are some enlightening stuff from the blogosphere. Sparkey (perfect name) geeked out on graphs and wants to know what happened that morning. He writes, "It could very well be that had morning event not occurred the grid could have recovered from the afternoon transient."

Steven Den Beste has two good posts. One on why it takes time to get the electrical grid back online. The second one is a primer on how the electrical grid works.

The People's Republic of Seabrook has comparison images of the East before and during the blackout.

Finally, Cox & Forkum have a pretty good prediction of the politics on the blackout.

Then on a lighter note, Iraqis offered a few suggestions on how to deal with blackouts.

"Ohio Line Failure Likely Caused Blackout"

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

August 15, 2003

Lowe Helps Arnold

At first glance, I thought Arnold was going way to the left by asking Rob Lowe to join his campaign. But Lowe will only be gathering celebrity endorsements. He won't be making policy like his West Wing alter ego did.

I'm also not upset with Warren Buffett helping Arnold. He's a Democrat who likes confiscating dead people's wealth. In the same story about Lowe it mentions that George Schultz and Buffett will co-chair Arnold's Economic Recovery Council. Schultz's free-market bent will counteract Buffett. A smart Democrat and a smart Republican working together sure make Arnold look bipartisan. What Arnold is doing is gathering people from all over the political spectrum who want to help California out of its economic mess. It's very civic-minded. It's good politics and probably good policy.

"Actor Rob Lowe Joins Schwarzenegger Campaign" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:35 PM | Comments (2)

Blame Lancing

Forget Canada. According to a Wisconsin power monitor there was "a deep voltage sag" near Lancing, MI.

"Wisconsin Company Says Blackout Originated in Lansing, Michigan" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:22 PM | Comments (1)

Blame Canada

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and "investigators" (whatever that means) are blaming a "faulty relay at a station in Ontario that caused a key transmission line to disconnect."

The AP relied on a website at George Mason University. Unfortunately, it must be really popular. The page on "Electric Utility Industry Perspectives" is unavailable.

What can't be disputed is the focus of the outage will be centered on the Lake Erie Loop.

"Canada and U.S. Blame Each Other"

"'Lake Erie Loop' Focus of Blackout Probe"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:34 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2003

Blackout Blame Game

The power went out and immediately the politicians and bureaurcrats started up the blame game. First, Canadian officials blamed the outage on a lightning strike in Niagra, NY. New York officials dismissed it. Then the Canadians blamed it on a fire at either a nuclear plant in New York or Pennsylvania. New York and Pennsylvania officials dismissed that. Some U.S. officials think the problem was in Canada. Ontario Hydro is positive the "widespread outage did not occur on our system" because "there was no indication that there was anything wrong in our system prior to the outage."

On a slightly carnal note, watch to see if in nine months there's a boomlet in births. Sex seems to happen a lot when the lights go out, and there's nothing else to do.

Then on a funny note, there's always ScrappleFace to make us laugh, even if it's an inside joke. Will there be a baby boomlet from bored webloggers? Stay tuned. [via InstaPundit]

"Canada Seeks to Explain Blackout's Cause"

"Largest-Ever Blackout Hits Eastern U.S."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

Crazy Days of August

Frank and Michael have both lost it. I'd say it was because they're on the East Coast and they don't have air conditioning. But then how would they be able to post?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)

"Fair and Balanced" Meme

Fox News was pretty dumb to sue Al Franken, but I'm already tired of people pasting "Fair and Balanced" all over their weblogs. Seeing it once was funny, twice was boring, any more and I just roll my eyes.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

Arguing over Deflation

I smell a good econ weblog war between Greg Ransom and Brad DeLong.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:15 AM | Comments (0)

Left-Handers Day

Yesterday, with all the (scary) hoopla about National Underware Day, I missed Left-Handers Day. Just like there won't be any pictures of me in my underware, there won't be any pictures of me showing off my left hand. Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:03 AM | Comments (0)

Warning: Petty Post

[whining and navel gazing]

I'm glad the story about a Milwaukee human shield being fined is getting around the blogosphere. Mr. Clancy's should get no sympathy for backing Saddam. What irritates me is RWN and Cam Edwards both linked to the story with no trackback or hat tip to me.

Do I know those two webloggers got the link from TAM? No. With stuff like Google's new News Alerts they may have gotten it somewhere else. According to Technorati, only two other weblogs linked to the Clancy story. Since the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is my local paper, and RWN and Cam Edwards both link to TAM they had an opportunity to read my post.

I'm not mad at either John or Cam. With all the news they're tapped into they just may have forgot the source. I've done it too. What bugs me is I felt this story had legs and would spread throughout the blogosphere. It's made it to the Volokh Conspiracy, and I would have loved to get a bunch of traffic from there.

How come I have a feeling I'll be submitting this post to next week's Bonfire?

[/whining and navel gazing]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:18 AM | Comments (2)

Webloggers League Full

The league is full. The draft is next week so get your mock drafts and cheat sheets together. For the rest of you on the outside looking in there will be occasional updates. Especially if I'm in first.

My first week's victim, I mean opponent is Mr. Wizbang himself, Kevin.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:59 AM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2003

Bonfire and Carnival Entires

TAM is in both the Bonfire of the Vanities and the Carnival of the Vanities. I'm proud of one post and not proud of the other. I'll let you decide which is which.

UPDATE: Ladies, sorry I forgot to link to the Carnival. It's a few hours late, but it's fixed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:50 PM | Comments (2)

The Political Economy of Protectionism

Reason's Ronald Bailey and *gasp* the NY Times editorial page are correct that agricultural subsidies and tariffs are wastes of money and harmful to the poor in developing nations. However, let's look a little at the politics of these subsides in the U.S.

A few weeks ago, there was some buzz about the outsourcing of tech jobs to places like India. Politicians have called for a stop to this. I have even heard people worried that all the good, high-paying jobs will leave the U.S. Workers here will be stuck with low-paying retail and service jobs. Few thought the New Economy would be similar to the Old Economy with lower-priced labor hired for tech support and computer programming.

Then we have farmers. In the U.S. they're looked at in a romantic light. We have a picture of a man of the land working from sun up 'til sun down just to put food on his family's table and ours. The farmer is in constant contact with nature. He doesn't worship it like radical environmentalists do, but he has a deep respect for what nature gives and takes away. This closeness to the earth makes him for in touch of what it means to be human. Such wisdom that comes from hard work, patience, prudence, and common sense results in the ideal American citizen.

This view of the farmer goes as far back as Thomas Jefferson who wanted the new country to be a land of citizen farmers. In a letter, Jefferson wrote, "The cultivators of the earth are the most virtuous citizens, and possess most of the amor patriae." As it turned out, the U.S. looks more like Alexander Hamilton's vision of a land of businessmen. Nevertheless, Jefferson's bucolic picture still hangs on the wall of the American mind even if many of us have never once walked around a farm.

Through the 20th Century, America lost it's huge number of farmers, yet became the most productive agricultural nation on earth. Improved equipment, fertilizers, techniques, and science led to commodity markets flooded with corn, wheat, milk, and other products. Such output forced farmers to get more productive--which usually meant getting bigger--or to find niches like organic farming.

Economic trends ran smack into romantic visions. The result is a plethora of government subsidies and trade barriers. Price supports were enacted to prevent the disappearance of the family farm. Products like mohair and cotton are subsidised because at one time they were considered essential to national security.

When these programs are even mildly threatened, those people who stand to lose the most will fight the hardest. The rest of us who pay most of the costs (explicit and implicit) don't get involved because we're not directly affected. In Jonathon Rauch's book Government's End takes an insight from economist Mancur Olson:

In other words, small, narrow groups have a permanent and inherent advantage, and "often triumph over the numerically superior forces because the former are generally organized and active while the latter are normally unorganized and inactive."

Combatting this combination of deep-set romanic vision with special interest politics requires not just accurate economic arguments. It also requires an alternative view of the ideal America.

"Harvesting Poverty"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

Financing Social Security Reform

Here's a serious post dealing with how to finance a transition from old fashioned Social Security to private retirement accounts.

"Transition Financing, Not Transition Costs"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

H-D Party Secret

With so much silence about what stars will be at the big Harley-Davidson 8.31 it much be big names. Tickets are free from local Harley-Davidson dealers so keeping the lineup secret until showtime would prevent a massive rush for tickets. Let's let the mind wander and guess who will be there:


  • Bruce Springsteen
  • The Rolling Stones
  • AC/DC
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • A Led Zeppelin reunion

Fleetwood Mac don't feel like the hog type. AC/DC might be a little too much for the doctors and lawyers who buy H-D motorcycles now. Led Zeppelin is only a dream, but I wish it would happen. My best guess would have been the Boss, but he's scheduled to play Giants Stadium that night. So, I'll have to go with Mick, Keith, and the rest.

"Harley Party Lineup to be Secret Until Lights Go Down"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 02:21 AM | Comments (0)

David Brooks Interviewed

David Brooks, author of Bobos in Paradise and new New York Times columnist tells how he writes,

I have a very old-fashioned way of writing. I carry notebooks around and observe how people behave. I fill up notebooks and lay them out on the floor. Each pile is a paragraph. And I sit and I stream them all together. I have no memory. I have to write everything down. I've never had writer's block. I can't think without writing. I can't think of what I believe in unless I write it down. That's the form my brain takes.

Do like Brooks, and you too could get a gig opposite Mark Shields. On second thought, you could still get to hang out with Bill Kristol.

Also, let the record show that there's not much distance between a liberal and a "Teddy Roosevelt conservative."

For further reading, Brad DeLong reviewed Brooks' book.

"Once a Chicago Liberal, Commentator now a Teddy Roosevelt Conservative" [via Daniel Drezner]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:06 AM | Comments (1)

August 12, 2003

New Bonfire

I ashamed to admit it, but TAM has an entry in this week's Bonfire of the Vanities. And I thought I had a pretty good week.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

Mock Draft

To get you fantasy footballers ready for next week's draft here's a mock draft from NFL.com. Based on it, lots of running backs will go early.

"The Solo Mock Draft: August"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Lambeau Niches

Here is further proof that Green Bay Packers fans are the most devoted in all of sports. I guarantee Packers fans will just eat this up. Now, if only they could find a way to have people buried at Lambeau Field.

Can you imagine any Minnesota Vikings fan wanted to have anything related to the Metrodome near their grave? The die-hards still want Metropolitan Stadium back.

"Packer Fans Can Take it with Them to Memorial Park"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

Commerical Flights to Basra

Since we don't read enough good news from Iraq, here's something positive:

British Airways has been given permission from the US-led administration in Iraq to resume flights to the country after a gap of 13 years.

BA got the go-ahead from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to start services to Basra, Iraq's second largest city captured by British forces during the war.


Progress is being made. Iraq is slowly returning to the global community.

"BA to Start Flights to Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

Human Shield Fined

Maybe it's the August doldrums, but over these past few days it's been really hard to post something, anything. But this story just needs to be shared.

When Ryan Clancy went to Iraq to protest the war, he knew he was breaking the law. He thought the penalty was a $500 fine, a price he was willing to pay for the cause of peace.

But when Clancy recently got a call from federal officials, he learned the stakes are much higher. Authorities have fined Clancy $10,000, and if he doesn't pay, he could spend up to 12 years in prison.

"I have no intention whatsoever of paying any money for having gone over there and worked with children," said Clancy, who has an education degree from Beloit College. "It's a bizarre and arbitrary charge."

Clancy, 26, of Milwaukee, is charged with violating sanctions the U.S. and other countries passed in the early 1990s prohibiting travel to and trade with Iraq. They were in effect in February, when Clancy arrived there as one of nearly 300 protesters from around the world who camped out near power plants, water treatment facilities and hospitals to act as "human shields" in hopes their presence would prevent American bombings.


Clancy was one of the peaceniks who road that damn double-decker bus into Iraq. The feds really shouldn't be wasting their time on a punk like this who was in the middle of Saddam's authoritarian Iraq and still came out opposed to the war. Get this quote from Clancy,
The U.S. was interfering in an extremely destructive way, punishing Saddam's victims and breeding more terrorists.

Well, by going to Iraq he was supporting a brutal regime. The war freed Iraq's people. By toppling Saddam, they now have a chance to breath free and rise to their God-given potential. If he really "cared about the children" he would have backed regime change years ago. It just goes to show you can still be stupid even if you have a degree from a good school.

"Back from Iraq, Activist Finds Price of Protest is $10,000 Fine"

UPDATE: Midwest Pundits links to a similar story involving a Florida woman.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 03:21 AM | Comments (3)

August 11, 2003

Reagan Changed Robinson's Life

Greg Ransom not just endorses AHNOLD! but Peter Robinson's new book How Ronald Reagan Changed My Life. Greg thinks Robinson writes better than Peggy Noonan. If it's true, he's one hell of a writer.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2003

Less Than 10 Days...

That's all the time you have left until the draft of the Webloggers Fantasy Football League. Three spots are still open with the winner having major bragging rights. He or she will be the first bonafide champion of the entire blogosphere. Doesn't Webloggers League Champion have a better ring than "blogfather?" And Glenn doesn't even have the guts to join. Since you really, really want to sign up, here are the details.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

Gregory Hines is Dead

Gregory Hines' death came out of no where. I didn't know he had cancer. He was a wonderful tap dancer as well as a funny partner to Billy Crystal in Running Scared. Godspeed, Gregory.

"Actor Hines Dies of Cancer"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:44 PM | Comments (0)

Seeking Web Designer

Kevin (Mr. Wizbang) and I are working on starting up a sports weblog. I'm the ideas man and Kevin is the tech geek. What neither of us are any good at is design. We both relied on a great designer (thanks, Joni), and are looking for someone to come up a design fitting a embryonic media giant. It's a few weeks before the NFL starts so time is of the essence.

Kevin has more details, and you should contact him if interested.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

Pack Over Falcons

Packers won, but it's pre-season. At least Favre wasn't hurt. I had to work, so I didn't see any of the game. Therefore, no pithy comments or insight.

"A Georgia Peach"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)

Nintendo in Trouble?

Nintendo has stopped making new GameCubes so inventories can shrink. This may be a sign that the company may go the way of Sega and leave the console game market. (They still rule the portable market with their Game Boy.)

Also, the company wants to develop simpler games. As a modest game player, I love all the whiz-bang graphics and epic storylines of games like Final Fantasy, but I won't/don't have the time to spend 40+ hours playing. There's other media that catches my eye. I've got books to read, tv to watch, and posts to write. In addition to the games being too long, some are also hard to grasp quickly. I'm still not used to the analog controller on for my GameCube. I don't have the same discrete control playing Mario Sunshine as I did playing Super Mario Brothers. (Yes, I skipped the Super Nintendo and N64 consoles.)

I'm waiting for the next-generation Tetris--the crack cocaine of video games.

"Nintendo Stops GameCube Production"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 02:32 AM | Comments (8)

August 09, 2003

WMD in September

According to Robert Novak, Iraqi WMD will be shown to the world next month.

"Discovering WMD" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 08, 2003

Nicely Said, Uncle Bill

This comment pretty much sums up my feelings toward Microsoft's "horrible" monopoly:

I don't get it.

The browser is free. You can install it and not use it. Considering the cost and size of Hard Disks these days, the footprint is not that big.

Of course, if you are running an IBM XT with a 10 Meg disk, you have a problem. But then Windows won't run either.

The media player is also free. -- all of the above apply to this software also.

I have both installed -- don't use Media Player (any version) and rarely use Internet Explorer.

What people seem to be complaining about is how the stuff is packaged. What they seem to be asking for is wheels from a Chevy, engine from a VW and transmission from Vovo.

What they are really doing is dissing Microsoft for what amount to religious reasons -- even our bloody athiests!

A pox on all your houses. If you hate Microsoft, buy Mac or an abacus and keep the damned government out of it.

Now if Microsoft sends a bunch of thugs over to the local abacus factory to beat the crap out of Steve Jobs, then the government has a role to play.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 05:43 PM

August 07, 2003

See Me at BloggerCon

Today was a long day dealing with a bad night's sleep. No real substance (no jokes) tonight. However, my check is in the mail and the schedule has been worked out so I will be at BloggerCon on 10.04 (my birthday by the way) at Harvard. You should come to just to talk to me and some guy from Tennessee who gets a little more attention than me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 06, 2003

New Daschle Post

Sen. Daschle's missing post has made it onto his weblog.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:34 PM | Comments (1)

Arnold on The Tonight Show

For all of Arnold Schwarzenegger's bashing of politicians, he sounded like one on The Tonight Show. "There's a disconnect between the people and the politicans." "The politicans are failing." "The people are paying their taxes and raising their families." He's against the "special interests" and for "reform." Arnold isn't talking like a different kind of politician. What he did well was stay on message. He hammered it down that Gray Davis has to go. He told Jay Leno, "man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor."

"Schwarzenegger Announces Calif. Gov. Bid"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

Pun-tastic

Ravenwood comments on Arnold jumping into the governor's race.

"Will Davis be Terminated?" [via mtpolitics]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 10:07 PM | Comments (1)

French Tourism Hurt

I wonder how Chirac, his cronies, and French Bush-bashers feel about their America bashing, now? Tourism is down 20%, much of it due to the lack of American tourists. Even with some good deals I found to Paris, I'm still not tempted to go. I'm going to Boston in October instead.

"French Tourism Under Pressure"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

Germany Taxing Its Way to Prosperity

Two stories demonstrate why the German economy is screwed up. First, the German unemployment rate is up to 10.4%. 4.35 million are out of work and looking for a job. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's solution is welfare and labor market reforms plus tax cuts. But while the German federal government tries to stimulate the economy with tax cuts, cities will be taxing doctors and lawyers and closing of tax loopholes. So tax cuts will leave one hand of government and go right into another. Forget Iraq, the German economy is starting to look like a quagmire.

"German Dole Queues Lengthen"

"Cash Rescue for German Cities"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)

Drezner's Moved

Daniel Drezner has left BlogSpot. Change all links accordingly.

[via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

More Number Problems for Graham

Poor Sen. Bob Graham. Numbers just continue to haunt him. This from the Orlando Sentinel:

For the first time in the more than 16 years Graham has served in the U.S. Senate, his popularity has fallen below 50 percent at home, the poll shows.

"Historically, Graham has always appealed to a certain number of Republican voters in Florida," pollster Brad Coker said Tuesday. "Running against the president, he certainly is driving away some of the Republicans who used to support him."

"Graham's Popularity Plunges" [via Political Wire]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)

Arnold's In

Drudge is reporting that Arnold Schwarzenegger told The Tonight Show he's running for California governor.

UPDATE: The BBC confirms Schwarzenegger has thrown his hat into the race. Since the story has nothing to do with Blair or Bush, I trust its accuracy.

"Schwarzenegger to Run for Governor"

UPDATE II: Fox News is reporting Arnold's in. Since The Tonight Show is on NBC, you know they couldn't wait and let Fox News only have the story.

"Schwarzenegger Says He Will Run for Governor" [via BushBlog]"

"Schwarzenegger Running in Calif."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

Tom Daschle's Missing Entry

After reading Sen. Tom Daschle's weblog "Travels with Tom," one would get the impression that South Dakota is one lousy place to live. Everyone complains about health care. Health insurance is really expensive if people even have it. Everyone Tom talks to has some horrible condition that making them pay hundreds of dollars a months for prescriptions. Health care clinics are underfunded, understaffed, and overworked. His entries sure wouldn't make it into any South Dakota tourism brouchure.

Now, thanks to TAM's crack team of snoopers (Drudge has nothing on them), I got a hold of a missing entry:

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Driving up to Mount Rushmore, I saw a lonely caravan of people along the road. I stopped my Cadillac Escalade to see what their problems were. These people were wearing nothing but rags and pushing carts filled with bodies. A dirty man who looked like he hasn't been into one of South Dakota's fine underfunded clinics was at the front of the convoy. The cart master saw me and yelled, "Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!"

A grey-haired man who looked even dirtier than the first came up to us with a bundle flopped over his shoulder. At first, it looked like an old rug the local Native Americans used to bury their dead with, but then I noticed the bundle squirming. If the person wasn't dead, it looked like he soon would be. The grey-haired man yelled, "Here's one." A voice from the "dead" person replied, "I'm not dead!."

"What?" asked the Cart Master.

"Nothing. Here's your ninepence," replied the grey-haired man. I wondered what poor straights the grey-haired man was in that he didn't have any U.S. currency.

The conversation then went like this:

Dead Person:
I'm not dead!

Cart Master:
'Ere. He says he's not dead!

Grey-Haired Man:
Yes, he is.

Dead Person:
I'm not!

Cart Master:
He isn't?

Grey-Haired Man:
Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.

Dead Person:
I'm getting better!

Grey-Haired Man:
No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.

Cart Master:
Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.

Dead Person:
I don't want to go on the cart!

Grey-Haired Man:
Oh, don't be such a baby.

Cart Master:
I can't take him.

Dead Person:
I feel fine!

Grey-Haired Man:
Well, do us a favour.

Cart Master:
I can't.

Grey-Haired Man:
Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.

Cart Master:
No, I've got to go to the Robinsons'. They've lost nine today.

Grey-Haired Man:
Well, when's your next round?

Cart Master:
Thursday.

Dead Person:
I think I'll go for a walk.

Grey-Haired Man:
You're not fooling anyone, you know. Look. Isn't there something you can do?

The cart master then smacked the "dead" person on the head while he was singing, "I feel happy. I feel happy."

"Ah, thanks very much," said the grey-haired man.

"Not at all. See you on Thursday," said the Cart Master.

It's such a shame to live in a country where families sell their dead because they don't have the health insurance to keep them alive. It's all because of the policies of President Bush and his heartless Republicans. His "compassionate conservatism" extends to the brutalized people of Iraq, but what of the people in his own country? It's gotten so bad, it's beginning to look like a scene from a movie.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

Still Room

Only 14 days left until the Webloggers League draft. Seven are in. That means there's room for three more teams. Having a weblog isn't a requirement. To join, just follow the instructions here.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:20 AM | Comments (0)

Kudos, Eh!

Thanks for the link, Tim.

Go check out Right On! for conservative comments from up north.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:45 AM | Comments (0)

August 05, 2003

Greatest Women

Meryl Yourish writes on the "sexism" of John Hawkins' lists:

However: The list is as sexist as the last one, for several reasons. Hillary hatred goes beyond partisan-bashing. Hillary hatred has huge amounts of sexism involved. From the first moment it became clear that she was going to be an active First Lady, the howls from people who think that First Ladies should be seen and not heard came out. The screams about how she was not elected president, her husband was, rose to the heavens. Many of these objections came from the same people who ignored the fact that Nancy Reagan was an active part of Ronald Reagan's presidency. She prevented him from having meetings with world leaders because she believed his horoscope was bad for that particular time. This was documented in books afterwards, and whispered of while he was in office. And I have always felt that his Alzheimer's disease struck long before we knew about it, and questioned who exactly was running the Reagan presidency during those last years. Reagan's famous "I don't recall" answers during Iran-Contra may actually have been true, and not simply dodging the question.

But that's still only a small part of why the list is sexist. Right wing bloggers couldn't find a single woman to put on the Best American list. Some even came out and said that no woman "deserved" to be on that list (nicely refuted by Kate). Yet they've managed to find two women to go on the Worst Americans list, and threw in one for the honorable mention while they were at it.

Once again, your sexism is showing.


So blasting Hillary Clinton for behaving like an unelected co-President was sexism and not blasting Nancy Reagan for advising her husband is too. Huh? If anything it's an anti-liberal bias. More likely, what it was was criticism of activities in the public eye (Hillary) versus those in private (Nancy).

But the way the whole "Right-Wing blogosphere is sexist" meme is going, there's no way John Hawkins, et al could win.

Let's play a little affirmative action game. I'll put together a list of webloggers' choices for the greatest women in American history. I want lists from all across the political spectrum. I want lists from people who think Margaret Sanger wasn't a racist eugenicist. I want lists from people who think Phylis Schlafley was the only person who defended our homeland from unisex bathrooms. The deadline is Tuesday, 8.12, at 11:59 p.m. Then next week Wednesday evening, I'll post the list. E-mail me or leave a comment.

"Of Course it's a Sexist List"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)

What Law are You Judging?

Matthew has a vigorous post on Justice Ginsberg's appreciation for international law.

"And Then I Came Undone . . ."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:51 PM | Comments (0)

Death Down Under

Australia is on the cutting edge of suicide methods. A few years ago, Dr. Philip Nitschke built a computer-controlled IV killing device. Now, the group Exit Australia had a public display to see which cars were the best producers of CO. The more CO the car pumps out, the easier it would be for people to run a hose from the exhaust pipe into the car to suffocate.

Exit Australia has gone beyond the "mainstream" euthanasia movement to advocate the death of non-terminally ill people. Exit Australia spokesman John Edge said,

I saw a guy die from this a few years ago and it left a lasting impression in my mind. No way in the world would I ever go down that path. I'm also totally opposed to being incarcerated in a nursing home should my health deteriorate to the point where I can't look after myself.

Why should people like me, who don't want to be kept alive if we get to that situation, be forced to live on - at great expense - when we wouldn't want to be here?"


For Edge, a nursing home is akin to jail and economics is a proper justification for suicide.

Last January, Dr. Nitschke declared that people should take an elderly's decision to die seriously even if that person is healthy:

I pointed out that it's not uncommon that people get to a point in their adult life - possibly around 80 - that rather than wait for something to go wrong, they feel in a very rational way that they want to end their lives at that point, that they've come to the point where their lives are best ended.

It seems to me that that's a very considered decision.

Should we be surprised that people are trying to push the suicide line out farther and farther? Next, these people will advocate the killing of the retarded or those with diseases that impede on their quality of life. Got multiple sclerosis? There isn't a cure, and life won't be easy. Stop any potential pain and suffering to you and your family by jumping into your CO generating car and hitting the accelerator.

"Euthanasia Proponents Hold Public Exhaust Fume Demo"

"Activist Wonders, Why Limit Suicide Option To The Terminally-Ill?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)

Gary Wolf Visit's TAM

Wolf, author of Wired: A Romance was nice enough to leave a message thanking me for mentioning his book [also here]. If a personal message from an author isn't a great way to buy someone's book, then I'm a marketing idiot.

Wolf also has a weblog with comments on his book.

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

Gay Marriage at JunkYardBlog

I don't know how drastically legalized gay marriage would change our culture, but I do know it would change things. Let me quote the final paragraph from B. Preston's post on the subject:

No one is an island. I keep beating on that point because itís true. Gay marriage isnít likely to affect my marriage or yours. But it will change the legal definition of marriage, and it will change the cultureís perception of the purpose and meaning of marriage, and will change how the society relates to marriage in terms of morality and law. The choices we make with regard to gay marriage today will affect our society for generations to come, possibly forever. Whether we like it or not.

Most of those changes will be in ways completely unexpected by pro- and anti- gay marriage advocates.

"Gay Marriage and the Influence of One Marriage on All"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:47 AM | Comments (0)

Thoughts on Worst Americans

John Hawkins' list sparked some spirited responses [and here]. Many of the complaints had to do with Bill and Hillary Clinton on it. Let's face it, in the big scheme of things, attempting to nationalize health care isn't as bad as actually nationalizing part of it (LBJ's Medicare and Medicade) or attempting to create a new country out of a part of the U.S. (Aaron Burr) or killing 189 people (Tim McVeigh).

But ranking the Clintons so highly isn't necessarily a sign to Right-wing wacko-ness. It's just an example of society's lack of historical knowledge. The public will get interested in cultural histories (Seabiscuit) and biographies (John Adams and Benjamin Franklin) but little else. Sure, Stephen Ambrose sold lots of books on World War II, but I'd argue that his efforts to get into the heads and hearts of the soldiers amounted to more cultural history than military. To show the lack of public desire for real historical depth, the Amazon bestseller list as Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything at number 10.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:34 AM | Comments (3)

Flynt Wants O'Reilly Dead

Larry Flynt decided to insult, defame, and stomp on those of us who believe in a loving God. He's organized a day of prayer for the death of Bill O'Reilly. I think he's a blowhard who loves the sound of his own voice, but I change the channel. What I don't do is get down on my knees and ask God to kill him. This disgusting man wants to be California's governor. That state's politics can't be that corrupted as to give him a chance.

"National Prayer Day - Pray for the Death of Bill O'Reilly" [via A Fearful Symmetry]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:15 AM | Comments (5)

Navel Gazing Traffic Post

Yesterday, TAM had a real good traffic day. Thanks, Zombyboy. If recent trends continue, today should be even better. For some reason, Tuesdays have out did Mondays. I understand the Monday bump since people are back to their computers from weekend activities, but I don't know why Tuesdays would be better.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:36 AM | Comments (2)

August 04, 2003

Those Wacky Episcopalians

They'll let anyone into their church.

"Episcopal Church Appoints First Openly-Muslim Bishop"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Worst Americans

The VH-1 of the blogosphere strikes again. This time John Hawkins lists the worst Americans in history. I voted and here's my list:


  • FDR
  • LBJ
  • Aaron Burr
  • Benedict Arnold
  • James Dewey
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Richard Nixon
  • Jackson Pollack
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Chief Justice Roger Taney*
  • Justices Blackmun, Brennan, Powell, Marshall T., Burger, Douglas, and
    Stewart*
  • Paul Samuelson
  • John Wilkes Booth

* As an exercise for the audience, I'll let you guess why these Supreme Court Justices were picked.

"Bloggers Select The 20 Worst Figures In American History"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:04 AM | Comments (6)

August 03, 2003

Lofton in HOF

Today, James Lofton was enshrined in football's Hall of Fame. He becomes the first Green Bay Packer to enter after the eras of Lombardi and Lambeau.

His numbers are deserving: 14,004 receiving yards, 764 receptions, and an 18.3 yards/catch average.

Lofton spent most of his career in Green Bay but left under a dark cloud when he went on trial for sexual assault. He was aquitted but his days in Titletown were over. He had three chances for Super Bowl glory, but he was on the Buffalo Bills.

Green Bay eventually forgave Lofton for bringing shame upon their town and team. He now is also enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and has his name on Lambeau Field's Ring of Honor.

"Lofton's Big Catch"

"Image Makeover Helps James Lofton"

"James Lofton Goes from Titletown to the Hall of Fame"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:09 PM | Comments (2)

McNamara's Still Alive?

Matthew at A Fearful Symmetry goes after Robert "Strange is my middle name" McNamara and writes about just war theory and the ICC. Mmm. Beefy!

"Robert S. McNamara, Wrong Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

One Clever Duck

Sharp-eyed Betsy points out Howard the Duck's low-budget campaign gimmicks are reaping big dividends. Is Duck still against that part of Bush's tax cut?

Meet the Press ran Duck's commercial this morning:

Iím Howard Dean. Iím running for president, and I approved this message because I want to change George Bushís reckless foreign policy, stand up for affordable health care and create new jobs. You know, when you think about it, in the past two and a half years weíve lost over two and a half million jobs. And has anybody really stood up against George Bush and his policies? Donít you think itís time somebody did? Visit my Web site, join my campaign, because itís time to take our country back.

If you have the bandwidth, you can watch Duck's commerical.

"Dean Will Run TV Ad in Bush's Home State"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)

Photography

Lynn writes on her love of photography. She prefers the "act of taking pictures" to looking at them. That's why even after she put 200 into albums it has "barely made a dent in the collection."

As an art form, I thought I'd be best at photography. I can't draw, can't paint, and can't sculpt. What I could do is look through a viewfinder and press a button. One Christmas, I asked for a camera. I hoped to get some point-and-shoot camera. I was pretty sure I wouldn't get anything with a telephoto lens. What I got was a Polaroid instant camera. I wasn't enamored with it. My parents didn't realize that my interest was beyond mere family snapshots. Simple pictures of relatives and friends bored me.

But when you have lemons, you make lemonade. I trucked my clunky camera around the yard and burned through a cartridge of film occasionally. My shots never turned out looking like something in National Geographic. That was too much to expect, but as a kid I was not patient with things that didn't come easily (still not). I blamed it on the camera, and after a few years of occasional shooting, it got lost in a closet. In the past few years I've taken gone on trips and brought along disposable cameras. A few shots have come out looking better than average tourist, but many have subjects at slightly awkward slants or with too much background.

Paging through photo essays doesn't interest me, and I can't name a single photoblog. Yet I think about what makes a good picture. Why does black and white "show" so much more than color? What made Ansel Adams' work so inspiring and Robert Mapplethrope's porn so disturbing? (Yes, he did much more than the controversial work he's most famous for.) Is it like writing: you only get better by doing? Is the art in taking the picture or taking lots and lots of pictures and picking out the best ones? Maybe if I know more about the process of photography I can get better.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 07:01 PM | Comments (3)

A Doctor's Letter

A very sad and disturbing letter was printed in The Washington Times. A neonatologist writes about his experience learning his profession. The first disturbing scene is where he's assisting in a hysterectomy/therapeutic abortion:

I already had assisted on two other hysterectomies, one for endometrial cancer and the other for a benign tumor. I had been taught during those first two cases to "always open the uterus and examine the contents" before sending the specimen to pathology. So, after the professor removed the uterus, I asked him if he wanted me to open it, eager to show him I already knew standard procedure. He replied, "No, because the fetus might be alive and then we would be faced with an ethical dilemma."

Another scene involves a partial-birth abortion:

One day, the obstetrical resident who was rotating through the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was excited that he was going to get to learn a new procedure, a type of abortion. This obstetrical resident explained to several of the pediatric residents and me that a woman in labor and delivery in her late third trimester had a fetus who was breech (a baby positioned buttocks, not head, first) and also was severely hydrocephalic.

The resident described how he was going to deliver the body of the baby and then, while the head was entrapped, insert a trochar (a long metal instrument with a sharp point) through the base of the skull. During the final portion of this procedure, he indicated that he would move a suction catheter back and forth across the brainstem to ensure that the baby would be born dead.

Several of the pediatric residents kept saying, "You're kidding" and "You're making this up," in disbelief. The pediatric residents all had experience caring for infants and children with hydrocephalus and had been taught that with any one infant the degree of future impairment is difficult, if not impossible, to predict.

Later that afternoon, the obstetrical resident performed the procedure, but unfortunately the infant was born with a heartbeat and some weak gasping respirations, so the baby was brought to the NICU. All live-born infants, even if it is clear that they were going to die in a short period of time, were always brought to the NICU so they could die with dignity, not left in the corner of Labor and Delivery.

I admitted this slightly premature infant, who weighed about 4 pounds or 5 pounds. His head was collapsed on itself. The bed was a mess from blood and drainage. I did my exam (no other anomalies were noted), wrote my admission note, then pronounced the baby dead about an hour later.

Normally, when a child is about to die in the NICU and the parents are not present, one of the staff holds the child. No one held this baby, a fact that I regret to this day. His mother's life was never at risk.

Dr. Swingle's conclusion is that "the difference between a fetus and a premature infant is a social distinction, not a biologic one."

If it is wanted, it is a baby; if not wanted, it is a fetus. When I started medical school, I viewed abortion as just another medical procedure and the products of conception as tissue. After 20 years of practicing neonatology, I now know this is not the case. I believe that after abortion became legal, the mantra of "it's just tissue" took hold in the medical and lay communities, and most never stopped to question if it were correct.

More than 1.2 million induced abortions are done annually in this country; roughly one out of every four pregnancies is terminated by abortion. Medical or social euphemisms such as TAB, D&C (dilation and curettage), choice, women's health or reproductive freedom don't change the fact that abortion is a violent and unethical ó if legal ó procedure. Elective abortions have degraded both the medical profession and the women who have made this choice.

[via Ben Domenech]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 02:55 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2003

Glenn Reynolds Interview

For some reason I can't listen to Christopher Lydon's interview with Glenn Reynolds. What has to be mentioned is Glenn looks much better in this picture than this one from an interview published last month. Vacation time does wonders for him.

"Instajournalism: Glenn Reynolds' 'functioning anarchy'" [via me]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

NASCAR Dads

Sen. Graham Cracker (D-FL) is just seeking out the hottest demographic in politics when he began sponsoring a race truck: NASCAR Dads. Even with all those numbers of the cars and trucks I don't think it will help Sen. Cracker's math skills.

"In Sun Belt, Politicians Vie For NASCAR Dads" [via Betsy's Page]

---

In another story on my favorite innumerate, Sen. Cracker told Britt Hume he thinks President Bush committed an impeachable offense.

"Graham: 2004 Could Bring Bush's 'Impeachment'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Niger, Uranium, and the SOTU

Hindrocket wonders what Niger could have possibly offered Iraq except for uranium. He then asks, "Would someone please tell me what known facts have "discredited" the claim that Iraq tried to buy uranium in Niger?"

What's given the administration all the trouble is the President himself said the uranium claim shouldn't have been in the State of the Union speech. From what's come out so far, those 16 words were accurate back then and still are now. This is a scandal started by the administration's attempt to fix a mistake that didn't happen.

"Iraqi Nuke Hawk Went to Niger"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)

More "Best..." Movie Catagories

Only The Eye offered some movie catagories. After catching up on sleep and with live Led Zeppelin playing in the background, I can now fill in the blanks.


  • Best Historical Fiction: Gettysburg--That was tough because I'm not sure Eye is looking for something more fictional. As for my pick, I had so much sympathy for the characters on both sides. I oppose much of what the Confederacy stood for yet I was deeply moved by the courage of the men marching to their deaths in Pickett's Charge. My second choice is Lawrence of Arabia.

  • Best Spaghetti Western: The video to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus"--I know I've never watched anything in this genre from start to finish. Westerns rarely pique my interest. However, I may catch the new Kevin Coster western in a few weeks. I know Depeche Mode's video was inspired by spaghetti westerns, and I've seen it. So there.

Send me some more catagories. And for discussion I'll offer this one to the audience: Best Movie Starring a Man Named Steve. My initial pick is The Thomas Crown Affair because I haven't seen Steve McQueen in The Great Escape and Bullitt had too many long pauses. Your thoughts?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:43 AM | Comments (6)

August 01, 2003

Music's Future According to O'Reilly

In an interview, Tim O'Reilly had this to say on the future of the music business:

In the end, I think that DRM is a non-starter, at least as currently conceived. It's baffling to me that the content industries don't look at the experience of the software industry in the 80's, when copy protection on software was widely tried, and just as widely rejected by consumers. As science fiction writer William Gibson said, "The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." The software industry was the first to face the issue that bits are easily copyable. It was also the first to try to create artificial boundaries to that copying. But because copy protection greatly inconvenienced customers, it slowed the adoption of any software that used it. We're seeing exactly the same thing now with music, where copy protection schemes have caused consumers to reject the crippled offerings of the commercial online music services.

And it's just foolish, because we have many counter examples of free services being replaced by higher quality paid services. A good example is the ISP industry. In the late 80's, many of us in the computer industry got our email and usenet news via a cooperative dialup network called UUCP. Users agreed to have their computers call each other at specified times to exchange mail and news; it took about 3 days for a message to propagate from one end of the network to another. But as soon as Uunet, the best connected site on the usenet, started to offer higher quality commercial connectivity, the free uucpnet vanished in a matter of months. And of course, once Uunet switched to offering TCP/IP networking, the commercial internet was born.

This isn't to say that some mild access controls might not be appropriate. For example, ISPs require you to have a subscription account, and to identify yourself by logging in. But there are no cumbersome controls on what you can do after that point.

For this reason, I believe that the content industries will flourish online once they stop fighting their users and start offering them what they want at a price they think is fair. That's the way it works in every other field of commerce! And we're already seeing this with Apple's music service, the closest yet to a system that users feel is fair and usable. As soon as Apple rolls it out on Windows (or as soon as competing vendors learn the lessons Apple is teaching), we're going to see a whole new ballgame.

And as the content industries are discovering, existing copyright law is quite enough legal protection for them to put a stop to the most serious of copyright infringers. This is much the same lesson learned by software vendors.


I forgot about software companies trying to use various technologies to prevent piracy. That fix failed yet we still have companies like Microsoft making money.

When O'Reilly says that "existing copyright law is quite enough legal protection for them to put a stop to the most serious of copyright infringers" is he supporting or opposing RIAA's lawsuits against college students and their issuing of supoenas?

If consumers decide that they only want to buy music online if it has very few use restrictions (i.e. plain-old MP3s) and if P2P networks continue to operate (impossible to shut down) then Big Music will have to, at least, use legal attacks against the biggest suppliers of illegal music files. It won't completely close up the free music hole (there still is pirated software), but it would ease the bleeding.

"Tim O'Reilly Interview: Digital Rights Management is a Non-starter" [via Scripting News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 07:47 PM | Comments (3)

Bye Poindexter

John Poindexter is leaving. Fine. His baggage prevented him from adequately defending innovative defense ideas. Whoever replaces him has to have the political skills to take on the "Moron Storm." (Thanks for the great name, Steve.)

"DARPA Head Poindexter Set to Quit"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)

What's in a Name?

Steve Reardon Verdon is an economist who has an interesting weblog with an unpronouceable name. Does he hang out with the New Criterion bunch? Go bug him.

Deinonychus Antirrhopus

UPDATE: Sorry Steve about the name mix-up. Now I know how Kevin feels when he biffs it.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:38 PM | Comments (5)