October 31, 2003
Alright, I will do one quick post. Philip Winn is celebrating Reformation Day and has a review of the movie Luther.
"Not Halloween, Reformation Day!"
No posting for a while tonight. I'm catching up on this week's Charlie Roses and Booknotes. Do check out a load of Halloween posts at Blogcritics.org.
Rock 'n Roll Miles
Ed Driscoll posts on what happened when Miles Davis put together the "greatest rock 'n roll band you ever heard."
"Miles Goes The Distance"
Wisconsin is Leaning for Bush
A new Badger Poll shows 46% of Wisconsin voters want President Bush re-elected. 45% want someone else. That may sound good for the Democrats, but their candidates have little name recognition. Also, 50% of respondents said Bush as doing a "good" or "excellent" job as President. Only 21% see his performance as "poor."
Like in 2000, Wisconsin will be a battleground state. That means plenty of campaign stops by both candidates. The Badger state will again be in the political spotlight.
"State Split Evenly on Bush, Poll Indicates"
Strong Being Investigated
Elliot Spitzer's Wall Street investigation has reached Wisconsin where Richard Strong, Chairman of Strong Capital Managment, is accused of making improper trades in his mutual funds. Whether he did anything wrong or not index funds where fund managers aren't needed look better and better.
"Strong Ready to Step Down if 'Necessary'"
October 30, 2003
Union to Back Duck
Howard the Duck is about to get the endorsement of SEIU, the largest member union of the AFL-CIO further securing his place as Democratic front-runner. This may be a crushing blow to Gephardt who is counting on union support to help him win the nomination.
Three Years Ago
The Bush Recovery
The economy had a good third quarter. GDP rose 7.2%, the highest rate since 1984 (the year a GOP President got re-elected); initial jobless claims fell 5,000 last week, and
Unlike the past two years, any boost in the economy wasn't solely dependent on business spending. Firms finally started spending again which suggests they'll hire more workers and sustain the recovery. Housing growth remains strong too. All this good news could be harbinger for a good Christmas shopping season.
Steve briefly comments.
"Economy Rocketed Ahead in 3rd Quarter"
"Economy Grows at 7.2 Percent Annual Rate in Third Quarter"
Covering Montana Politics
A Passionate Link
Go visit Earthly Passions which is wise enough to link to TAM. ;-)
October 29, 2003
We Have a Winner
Kevin Holtsberry started up a weblog devoted to books. He already has a good post on high art and Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style--which I'm reading currently. Collected Miscellany has immediately been added to the blogroll.
Universal Health Care Means Gov. Monopoly
Steve Verdon points out an important part of any universal health care plan:
This is why with universal coverage legislation you see in all the legislative mumbo-jumbo a section which outlaws private insurance. The universal insurance program offered by the government is basically a big pooling equilibrium. So if private insurance is not outlawed, then the government is left with only the high risk/high cost people. It should also be noted that in this situation (i.e., pooling equilibria), the low cost individuals are subsidizing the medical care for the high risk/high cost individuals.
We'd be trapped in a monopoly. Based on the government's record with other monopolies, education and the post office, I shiver at the thought.
"Moral Hazard, Adverse Selection and Insurance"
MLB is the Best
Sure the Donald Rumsfeld doll (it looks too much like a Ken doll to be called an "action figure" and the Dennis Miller doll are pretty cool, but can they compare to a Martin Luther bobblehead? I don't think so.
[via Betsy's Page]
Michael Schiavo Going to Court Again
Michael Schiavo is challenging the Florida law that let his wife be fed. No surprise here. I just wonder how Teri's life would have been different if Michael would have actually spent the malpractice award money on her rehabilitation instead of lawyers.
"Husband Contests Law in Florida Right-To-Die Case"
Our First Square Metrosexual President
Howard the Duck declared himself a "metrosexual" in Colorado. No word yet on what shirt and tie combo will be the in thing for winter or when he's getting his hair highlighted.
Lots of Good Posts
Who Censored Blogger Rabbit? is hosting this week's Carnival of the Vanities. Read it.
Week 8 Freaks of the Week
My latest Freaks of the Week is up at SportsBlog.org.
October 28, 2003
SEC's Cold Shoulder
The SEC has frozen the accounts of an ex-FleetBoston employee on grounds that insider trading took place around the announcement of the company's merger with Bank of America. Here's the kicker:
[Guillermo Garcia] Simons has apparently not worked for FleetBoston within the past year.
It's kind of hard to be an insider if you're not inside. I know, I know. Anyone who trades on information not provided to the public can be considered an insider trader. That just shows the law in its current form is goofy.
So, because the SEC was afraid "that the assets could leave the country" they got a judge to freeze an entire family's accounts. This isn't justice. It's called being guilty until proven innocent.
The lesson to be learned is not to act on any hot tip even if you think the tipster isn't an "insider." Acting on it could set you up for a showdown with the SEC. Also don't buy any financial instrument in a large enough amount to garner notice.
The new Bonfire of the Vanities has been posted for your reading displeasure.
John Hawkins has put together another weblogger list. This time it's a list of Right-wing webloggers' most-influential books.
Hey, GOP dudes! David Brooks writes that you're acting like the Dems did in their heyday when they were the Congressional majority. And guess what? He's right!
"True Believers, Please Rise"
Conservative Media Invasion
City Journal's Brian Anderson e-mailed me personally to let me know about his article on the conservative invasion of the media. Ok, it wasn't addressed to me personally unless he thinks I post by the nom de plume American Mind, but getting real, non-spam e-mails due to my weblog is a good thing.
The article is pretty good. He sees three prongs to the invastion: Cable networks' need for content and the ability to carve out niche audiences; the explosion in successful conservative books (something I should have noticed since I work in the industry); and the dominance of Right-thinkers on the Internet.
I have to take issue with the premise of the article's title. Just because the public is more expose to conservative thinking does not mean we're winning the Culture War. Since the 50s and 60s (and David Frum argues the 70s) our culture has been severely wounded. 1.5 million children are (legally) killed every year through abortion. Divorce is commonplace. Out-of-wedlock births are considered an acceptible lifestyle choice. And the sacredness of marriage is under attack. Many of these problems have gotten better in the last decade, but conservatives are a ways away from claiming victory.
Also, conservatism is changing. It's becoming more libertarian as shown by the "South Park Republicans." This group of truly neoconservatives accepts a live-and-let-live approach to homosexuals (include me on that) along with coarser language and pre-marital sex. It's an objection to "the image of conservatives as uptight squares—crusty old men or nerdy kids in blue blazers" as on college student told Anderson. Discarding conservative stereotypes is all well and good. I'm a prime example. I worry that this 21th Century conservatism has internalized much of the Left, morally harmful parts of the Culture War. I also worry that conservatives will become morally lax to the point where groping women (in Arnold Schwarzenegger's case) is looked at as a slight flaw.
"We’re Not Losing the Culture Wars Anymore"
ID to Send a Letter
The Post Office wants to require identification to send items out. This is another reason their monopoly should be broken. We'd get better service, lower prices, and more privacy if UPS and FedEx were competing for my business.
"Post Office Proposes Requiring ID on Mail"
TAM doesn't post much Wisconsin news. That's probably because I listen to a lot of local talk radio where they go over everything. However, there is at least one weblog to get Wisconsin news commentary: Boots and Sabers.
War on the Home Front
Do you think all the important fighting of the Islamist War is happening overseas? Do you want to serve your country but for any number of reasons (financial, familial, etc.) can't? Here's Dean Esmay:
It's time to take the gloves off, kids. The real war is for hearts and minds here at home, and the enemy is the pernicious pack of lies that Iraq is a "quagmire," that the Iraqis hate us, that our forces are losing, that our casualties are heavy, or that we did this for "imperialist" reasons.
This struggle might be even longer than the one our boys are fighting in Iraq.
Chris Wallace to Host Fox News Sunday
Chris Wallace as new host of Fox News Sunday is a mild disappointment. The only reason I see for Brit Hume not getting the job is that it's another day at the office, and he didn't want that. I just hope this isn't Fox News' way of trying to earn accolades and tone down their perceived bias (no more than the other networks). As Brit Hume told Howard Kurtz, "We don't think we can ever be approved of by the journalistic establishment as we know it."
I'm surprised to read in Kutz's story that FNS is fourth in the Sunday yap-fests behind CBS' Face the Nation. How can you lose to Bob Schieffer when it seems like he's sleeping during much of the show.
A President for Life
From today's Presidential press conference:
Q Sir, in your last campaign, you said that the American public was not ready for a complete ban on abortion. You're about to sign legislation that will ban a certain abortion procedure known as partial birth. Do you believe that the climate has changed since the last campaign and all abortions should be banned? And do you believe your brother made the correct decision in Florida when he intervened in the case of a woman who had been ordered by the courts to be taken off life support?
He's right about the state of the culture. People care more about allowing the freedom to choose to kill their unborn child than the child itself. They are more concerned about post-birth women's autonomy than pre-birth women's.
The abortion debate has been in a stalemate even since Roe v. Wade. That is because through some really bad judicial reasoning the court federalized the issue. Without Roe abortions would be legal. The Supreme Court took the issue away from the states and made D.C. the focal point. Dumping Roe would not send women into back alleys to risk their lives. It would just return the debate back to the individual states where legalization or illegalization should be decided.
"U.S. Not Ready for Total Abortion Ban, Bush Says"
October 27, 2003
One Very Cool T-Shirt
[via Fredrik Norman]
Duck Doesn't Trump Plato
Anyone who thinks the Howard the Duck campaign is some kind of innovation in democracy has drunk too much of the Kool-Aid. It's a decentralized marketing campaign pushing a candidate as the product. The same techniques used in Burlington, VT could be used to sell soda, cookies, or software. That's not bad since I'd be really scared at what socialistic pap Duck supporters could conjure up. His campaign isn't about generating governing ideas from the bottom up. The Revolution won't be televised or broadcast over the Net, and Howard Dean doesn't turn 3000 years of political study on its head.
"Joe Trippi's Killer App"
October 26, 2003
Serving His Country
Rich Galen will be putting his Mullings column on hiatus for a few months. Why?
If everything goes according to plan, just about this time next week I would be winging my way east as a civilian employee of the United States Department of Defense with the task of helping to see that the full story of what the US is accomplishing and what the Iraqis are accomplishing in Iraq is being told to viewers, listeners, and readers in America and around the world.
The DoD made a great choice.
"Mullings Goes to War"
Cold, Hard Cash
Chris Noble (not Nobel which would be very fitting) is hosting this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
No one tries to understand the other. No one wants to discuss. No one wants a healthy debate. Everyone just wants to throw mud and start fights. That's the thing that annoys me the most - sites that obviously post material that is specifically designed to start an argument or a controversy. And when the controversy begins, anyone who takes the opposite side is made to feel like a traitor.
Sounds like the blogosphere is looking like the talking heads on cable news. This is a good lesson to learn: it isn't the institutions or technology, it's the people.
The only way I can respond to her confusion about not "belong[ing] anywhere if my only choices are the left or the right" is to tell her that no one's purely on the either end (or corner). I'm on the Right but I oppose the death penalty. That doesn't make me a moderate or a (non-classical) liberal. Any seriously thinking person won't walk in step with any ideology. Don't be afraid of a label. That's just a way our brains organize knowledge. We still have to think in order to understand the world around us. In many ways, you define the label, not the other way around.
Ok Sports Weekend
The Badgers looked bad, but the Vikings lost, and my alma mater swept the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It turned out to be a good sports weekend even without the Packers playing.
"One Less Undefeated Team"
"UMD Skates to 4-2 Victory, Earns Sweep of Gophers"
The case is kind of corny, and it's too expensive, but if anyone wants to give this editor something in return for all the pithy commentary you've come to expect here Battlestar Galactica on DVD would be joyously accepted. Heck, if you just want me to stop with the Howard Dean=Howard the Duck references, a bribe would certainly do the trick. ;-)
"'Ragtag, Fugitive Fleet' Still on the Move"
Traveling to Cuba
The Senate went along with the House and passed a bill allowing U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. Should President Bush veto this? It's been over 40 years of the embargo and travel restrictions and Cuba is no closer to freedom than when Castro first made it a Communist prison island. After 40+ years of an ineffective policy, shouldn't something new be tried? The U.S. has fairly normal relations with China and even Vietnam. What makes Cuba so different? I lean toward ending the embargo and conquor Cuba with American capitalism, but I want to hear some good pro-embargo arguments.
Weblogs as Portals
If Tyler Cowen is right, then TAM will never become an uber-weblog. He writes,
Glenn is so successful because he understands the idea of blogs as portals. (This is my view, not Glenn's own self-description.) Blogs that offer too much of the author, and the author alone, are vulnerable to other blogs that cream-skim them, and other blogs, thereby offering the superior product. The question is not who can write the best stuff, but who can collect on the best stuff, and comment on it most effectively.
I consider this weblog as my version of talk radio (minus the sound) and a place to write. TAM isn't a portal. It's a content generator. Tyler is correct that with so many good weblogs around good portals like Glenn and the many weekly Carnivals are desparately needed to prevent info-drowning.
To counter Tyler is Professor Bainbridge with a number of points. His strongest is that technology can make a portal weblogger obsolete:
My news aggregator already does a better job of finding stuff in which I'm interested than does Instapundit (no offense to Prof. Reynolds, as I did enjoy last week's Instalanche).
To defend Tyler, a good portal requires an editor with a keen eye and the ability to add insightful remarks. Glenn does that extremely well.
This argument had many "thinker vs. linker" parallels that John Hawkins has written about.
"The Future of Blogs, More"
October 25, 2003
ANSWER is at It Again
For anti-war/Bush bashing coverage, visit Michele.
Frank J on moderates:
There is now a Centrist Coalition blog. I hate moderates... much more than even liberals. I bet Satan is a moderate; the best way to get evil accepted is to package it with some good. That's what moderates do; they're always like, "Oh! I'm so special because I don't take a firm stance on issues, and I see value in everyone's viewpoints." I bet right now a moderate is reading this and partially agreeing with it. Damn you!
"Bite-Sized Wisdom..." [via Blaster]
Badgers Lose Again
Two weeks ago after beating #3 Ohio State, the Wisconsin Badgers were giant killers. Now, after a loss to Purdue last week and a loss to lowly Northwestern today, the Badgers are imploding. Two weeks ago, the Rose Bowl was in sight. Now, let's see if the team can get through another game without anyone getting hurt.
One Step Closer to Better Self Defense
Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. It now goes to the State Assembly then to Gov. Jim Doyle. He will probably veto it. Senate Minority Leader Jon Erpenbach doesn't expect the veto to be overturned.
"Senate OKs Concealed Weapons"
Duck Will Get Nomination
I'm just going to say it. No longer will I keep my Howard the Duck prediction all to myself. I predict Howard Dean will win the Democratic Presidential nomination. And no, I'm not just writing this because he's kicking Sen. Kerry's butt in New Hampshire. I'm picking him because he's generated the most passion with Democratic partisans. Weasley Clark had his moment, but he's faded. The rest of them have elicited any excitement or buzz. That's why the Duck is winning in the money campaign and in the polls.
The general election is too far away with too much that could happen to make a serious prediction. My gut feeling is President Bush would beat the Duck, but I wouldn't expect a Mondale or McGovern-type landslide.
A Conversation in Montana
mtpolitics.net got a great scoop. Democratic candidate for governor, Brian Schweitzer left a comment on the weblog which will lead to a multi-post conversation. The first question deals with higher education. This may be a blogosphere first where the candidate engages the weblogger and not the other way around.
"Interview With Brian Schweitzer"
October 24, 2003
Duck Sighting on ESPN
David Bernstein shoots down a canard used by Leftists opponents of school vouchers.
"It's Called Supply and Demand"
Saletan Doesn't Get It
Will Saletan can say all he wants that a partial-birth abortion has nothing to do with a birth because the baby is so small when killed (around 20 weeks). The child is almost completely out of the vagina (Oh, no! Here come the sick Google searches.) then killed. Who cares that babies born at around one pound (500 grams) have only a 14% chance to live. The method is a birth interrupted by a (currently) legal kill. If the child was completely removed from the mother then killed, that would be considered murder. But right now, it's legal to partially remove the child and then kill her. Throw out logic when it comes to defending abortion.
By the way, I love it when abortion proponents like Katrina vanden Heuvel start quivering.
Bailey on Schiavo
Ronald Bailey gets way to analytical over the Terri Schiavo case. He offers long quotes from AMA and National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports. What he doesn't include are the financial and familial benefits Terri's husband Michael would recieve upon her death.
Bailey also doesn't mention that death by starvation and dehydration is a very cruel way to go. Denying food and water to a pet could result in jail time in most states.
Terri might not live long anyway. Who knows how much damage happened because of six days without food and water?
It appears that Bailey is (to use Wesley Smith's words) one of those who "no longer believe that people like Terri Schiavo are fully human."
"Is Terri Schiavo Dead?"
"No Mercy in Florida"
How twisted is this? Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts is celebrating Roe v. Wade by having a prom.
Krauthammer on Easterbrook
Charles Krauthammer comments on the Easterbrook affair.
Nonetheless, the idea of destroying someone's reputation and career over a single slip of this type is not just ridiculous, but vindictive.
Do you think Krauthammer reads TAM? Neither do I.
October 23, 2003
Snow Leaving FNS
Why Tony why? Why would you want to leave the biggest gig of your life as Fox News Sunday host to dive into the highly competitive world of talk radio? And, comparatively speaking, you're much better hosting a Sunday yap fest than doing the radio thing.
College Kids Going Republican
Fred Barnes has more ammunition for his claim of a political realignment. A Harvard University survey found more college students consider themselves Republican than Democrat (while Independents outnumber both), and 61% approve of President Bush as President.
"National Briefing: Education"
Free Trade With Australia
The collapse of free trade talks in Cancun last month isn't stopping the U.S. and Australia from hammering out an agreement. Like Cancun, the sticking point is agricultural products, especially Australian beef.
"U.S., Australia Agree to Fast-track Free Trade Talks"
It will be hard for Gov.-elect Schwartzenegger to get California's economy moving when local governments do ridiculous things like banning Wal-Mart from opening grocery stores.
Easterbrook's Fake E-mail
Here's a new twist in the Easterbrook affair. The folks at Power Line read an e-mail (found crossed out at Brad DeLong's weblog) purported to be from Gregg Easterbrook talking about how Michael Eisner is using Disney resources to ruin his career. Now, Gregg Easterbrook claims the e-mail is a fake. However, in a comment on Daniel Drezner's weblog Power Line's John Hinderaker stands firm in the belief that the e-mail was genuine.
What should we make of this? If Easterbrook is lying about this just to make this affair go away he's damaging his integrity as both a person and a journalist. It also means Eisner won. But I don't know of a history of Easterbrook being disingenuous. So, I'll have to take his word for it that the e-mail was faked.
But what's important is to look for a pattern over the subject's career. In this case I happen to know the person. He's written books and hundreds of magazine articles. But when the firestorm begins, none of that seems to matter. The ADL is after Easterbrook. He's suddenly become radioactive. And all sense of proportion is thrown out the window.
My, that sounds familar. Advantage: TAM!
October 22, 2003
Mix it Yourself
Letting people not only listen to music but interact and remix it is a great idea. I'm not a hip-hop fan and have never heard of Fabolous, but I'm tempted to get the CD. This may bring us to the day when buy a CD (or download) and get all the tracks that make up the songs along with the originals. Like most DIY, most of it will be really bad, but gems will be discovered and music careers made.
"Consumer Remixable CD On the Way"
Bringing the Revolution Home
Evan Coyne Maloney has balls of steel. He filmed parts of a Palestinian conference at Rutgers. He had to endure being called a Zionist and Mossad agent as well as subtle threats ("Are you nervous?"). His post is amazing, but his video is outstanding.
Those people at the rally who cheered, "Long live the Intifada!" felt like "true believers" who would do just about anything for their cause. Would they try to bring the Intifada to the U.S.? Should we expect Palestinian sympathizers to strap on a vest filled with plastic explosives, walk into a crowded shopping mall, and blow themselves up? Bringing the revolution to America isn't new. A group of white, radical college students in the 60s did just that. They were the Weathermen. I hope and pray we don't ever endure a murderous rampage from kids intent of demonstrating their radical street cred.
"Return of the Weathermen"
October 21, 2003
Not to be outdone, Kevin has the best of the worst in the blogosphere with this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Eric Berlin comes out of retirement to host this week's Carnival of the Vanities.
Hersh Perpetuates Lie
Seymour Hersh's latest New Yorker article argues that the Bush administration rejected traditional intelligence-vetting methods. The result being that the President went to war in Iraq on bad information. I'd be more sympathetic to the argument if Hersh didn't rely so much on quotes from anonymous sources. If these people want to seriously accuse the administration they should have the guts to be in the open about it.
What I want to mention is this sentence near the end of Hersh's piece (emphasis mine):
[Iraq Survey Group head, David] Kay was widely seen as having made the best case possible for President Bush’s prewar claims of an imminent W.M.D. threat.
Hersh continues the lie that we went to war because Iraq was an imminent threat. President Bush never said that. In fact, what Bush said in the State of the Union speech was we couldn't wait until Saddam's threat was imminent.
Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.
Hersh is being dishonest by not providing any quotes where Bush or any officials contradict this.
Week 7 Freaks
Schiavo Being Fed Again
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush ordered Terri Schiavo to be fed again. The severely injured woman had her feeding tube removed last week. The Florida legislature quickly passed a bill giving Bush the power to override the court order allowing Schiavo to be starved to death.
"Fla. Gov. Orders Feeding Resumed for Comatose Woman"
UPDATE: The AP calls the Schiavo case "one of the nation's longest and most bitter right-to-die battles." It's more proper to call it a "right-to-kill battle." The only people who want Terri dead are her husband, Michael Schiavo and the doctors he's hired. No one really knows what Terri wants. Her husband claims dying is what Terri would want, but there's proof of such a request. With such uncertainty we should err on the side of caution.
"Fla. Gov. To Restore Feeding Tube?"
No Play Money Here
Milwaukee native, Matt McNally, bought Boardwalk and Park Place to win the U.S. Monopoly championship.
"Passes 'Go,' Collects $15,140"
Critics Bear Responsiblity
Andrea Harris doesn't think weblogging critics of Easterbrook bear any responsibility for his firing from ESPN:
What, we aren't to say anything about someone's stupidity for fear they might get fired? It was one thing to be cautious when someone's life was possibly on the line (remember peoples' fears about Salam Pax when Saddam was still in power?); it's another thing to insist we worry about every media writer's job. The media is a shark pond; if you get careless you'll get eaten. If Easterbrook didn't know it then, he knows it now. If that sounds heartless of me, too bad. Sometimes baby needs to get burnt before he learns not to touch the stove.
So because Gregg is a professional writer critics don't have to be intellectually honest and consider posts within a context? How about if Gregg were an amateur writer who got fired for an ill-worded post? My problem with Gregg's critics is that they shot from the hip and declared him an anti-Semite even though he has no history of anti-Semitism. That's intellectually dishonest, and those critics should be loudly condemned.
In Eisner's Crosshairs
In an e-mail from Gregg Easterbrook Disney's Michael Eisner is out to get Gregg. Disney people have been sent out to stop his book from coming out in a few weeks. If there was over-reaction from members of the blogosphere, what Eisner is doing is despicable.
The best people like you and me can do for Gregg is pre-order his book and let the public know what Eisner is doing. The blogosphere has been very harsh on Gregg. Maybe it can save his career.
"Under the Volcano"
Duck is Still All Wet
Steve Verdon notes that Howard Dean is great at criticizing President Bush, but when it comes to a possible solution to the Social Security problem he offers only "vague pleasantries."
"Dean's Sleight of Hand"
Will Duck Fire Cho?
In the 10.10 entry of her weblog [scroll down], commedian (and I'm using the term loosely) Margaret Cho told the world she wants the Pope dead. In her 10.09 entry, she calls Ann Coulter Cunta Kinte. This seething hate-monger is actually on a stand-up tour that includes a few universities. If Cho were a conservative defaming the Dali Lama and and calling Sen. Hillary Clinton a Socialist, baby-killing slut student groups would be protesting outside the auditorium. While the blogosphere goes off on some poorly-worded thoughts by Gregg Easterbrook (that gets him fired from ESPN) all you hear about Cho is the white noise of web servers humming. No sound comes from Meryl Yourish when Cho writes that Christopher Columbus "killed f**king everybody to prove that the world was round, not actually flat" [10.13]. She even has the audacity to model herself after that Communist thug Che Guevara.
Based on her hateful statements will the Howard Dean campaign let her post on their weblog again? If so, that means they're implicitly endorsing a hate-monger.
October 20, 2003
Money, Money, Money!
Jay Solo is hosting the second Carnival of the Capitalists. There are a bunch of good posts there.
Yourish: An Unapologetic Apology?
Meryl Yourish tried to apologize for her hyper-rant that played some part in Gregg Easterbrook's firing from ESPN. (Meryl talked to Gregg on the phone, and he told her the gig was "a huge chunk of his income.") She really, really tried:
This matter is making me rethink the way I do things around here. I rarely get into blogwars (and by that I mean personality wars, not just disagreements between bloggers), and I didn't think that I was getting into a blogwar when I first wrote about Gregg's TNR blog post. I don't generally do the interpersonal thing. I reserve my ire for national and international figures, particularly terrorists and known Jew-haters. When I first wrote about the Tarantino Easterblogg, I thought of it the same way I think when writing about a news article: Here's something that doesn't sound right, let's point it out.
But she just couldn't do it even knowing her words unjustly hurt someone:
Naaah. I can't do that. There are no hard feelings, he told me on the phone, and I have none here, either. Frankly, if he ever writes something like that again, I'll take him to task all over again for it. How much influence did I have in this affair? Not as much as some people think.
It's hard to admit you're wrong. It's especially hard to admit your wrong when you're a writer read by more than a small circle of friends. Meryl Yourish and Roger Simon were the loudest in their denunciations of Easterbrook. Simon did fess up. Unfortunately, Yourish just can't seem to do the right thing.
It's interesting to note that this post was inspired by Meryl's post titled "Easterbrook: An unapologetic apology?" After writing it she ended up leaving a link to a story on the hoopla and deleted her criticism of Easterbrook's apology. When deleting the post she realized that "sometimes, something that you write has unexpected consequences." That may be the closest we ever get to a real apology.
"The Easterbrook Affair: I Have a Bad Feeling about This"
Score One for Tax Cuts
Hold the presses! Someone thinks this year's Bush tax cuts boosted the economy and got it printed in the NY Times. I would declare it the end of the world if the writer were Paul Krugman.
Edmund Andrews writes,
To the surprise of many naysayers, economic data from the past several months suggests that the $350 billion tax-cut package may indeed have jolted the economy.
Then Andrews passes along many economists' fears that this growth won't be sustained:
The impact of the tax cuts is already fading, most economists believe. Even though the lower tax rates will continue, the economic jolt comes from the initial cut. After that, the economy simply grows in line with the overall rise in wealth.
That's simply a Keynesian static view of the economy. Tax cuts don't just inject money into people's pockets to be spent or saved. It changes people's incentives to work or invest. Business plans that once seem unprofitable under the former tax rules now look profitable. With higher take-home pay, families may now be able to afford big-ticket items like a new home, car, or appliances. A small business may now be started because marginal income tax rates have been decreased and capital spending can be more quickly depreciated. Small changes on the margins can have large effects on the economy.
"Spotted: Evidence That Tax Cut Worked"
October 19, 2003
I pretty much agree with Damian on the Easterbrook fiasco:
But is Easterbrook being antisemitic here? At most, I think he's being somewhat condescending toward Jews - implying that they have to hold themselves to a higher moral standard than other people, because of the way they've suffered. Thanks for the advice, Gregg. But is he saying Jews are selfish or that they're responsible for bringing violence upon themselves? I just don't see it that way.
Rolling in the Dough
Well, since I won't be enjoying Steve Jobs' Net music creation I'll offer up a brief review of Making Dough: The 12 Secret Ingredients of Krispy Kreme's Sweet Success. I'm a Krispy Kreme fanatic. I waited with glee for the day a store opened in the Milwaukee area. The wait was worth it. Until 12.11.01 I only knew the myth of Krispy Kreme, but with one bite I was hooked for life. Also on that day, I felt the customer love (obsession) with the company. While waiting in line for my doughnuts a couple behind me said they drove 90 minutes. There is something special about a company where people will come from over 100 miles away just for your product. In Making Dough there are a few stories of people coming from far away and waiting hours, even days, just to be the first to open a new store. That's tremendous devotion.
At the center of it all is not a hole but a wonderful product. The Krispy Kreme doughnut is sweet, gooey, sticky, and, if hot, melts in your mouth. The company knows it has the greatest doughnuts in the world and focuses all their efforts to get you to try one. Once you bite, they have you hooked. Stores have glass walls turning them into doughnut-making theaters. Wholesale operations provide branding and cheap advertising. Their famous Hot Light lets the public know when they can get their hot, golden, glazed goodie.
Making Dough tells the story of how Vernon Rudolph turned his last $25 into a regional icon. Then Krispy Kreme lost its identity when Beatrice took over after Rudolph's death. Store franchisees saved the company with a buyout that eventually led to the company going public in 2000 and expanding across the country and overseas.
At times the book reads like a long magazine article. It's fluffy (pun intended) in places and glazes (again intended) over some company foibles. But it's still a fascinating book examining an American success story.
iTunes for Windows Activated
Any posting will be put on hold while I download and play with iTunes for Windows.
UPDATE: I'm perturbed. iTunes only works for Windows 2000 or XP, not Windows ME. There goes my late night of legal downloading. :-(
Michele admits to owning an Oasis CD. Heck, I picked up The Masterplan in Boston and have been listening to them again.
October 18, 2003
ESPN Cans Gregg
Gregg Easterbrook got fired from ESPN over a badly phrased post on his New Republic weblog. I agree with Matthew that those webloggers who wildly went off on him are responsible for his firing. Easterbrook has no history of anti-semitic comments, writes for a magazine run by a Jew, and he gets canned. Meryl Yourish can say all she wants that Easterbrook shouldn't have been fired, but in her previous post she doesn't accept his apology and continues to cry anti-semitism since "When Leon Wieseltier says it was an anti-Semitic statement, you know it was an anti-Semitic statement." Sorry, Meryl, but I read the infamous post and didn't notice the anti-semitism, and I think I'm a rather bright person. I noticed a poorly worded post, but knowing what I know about Easterbrook, I focused on the spirit of his thought, not the literal words. Part of weblogging that makes it interesting is the spontaneous nature of it. A writer gets an idea, types it, and hits the publish button. Just like we accept a certain amount of spelling and grammatical errors in e-mail and instant messages so should we accept some brain farts if we want the maintain weblogs' spontaneity.
Jeff Jarvis is right that any hint of offending some group (Catholics excluded) will chill speech.
We have to stop being afraid of strong -- and wrong -- opinions. We have to stop being afraid of mere speech. We have to learn again to fight fire with fire -- words, that is -- rather than with nuclear weapons such as this.
Weblogs, by their nature as purely independent media, will be an outlet for offensive speech and responses to it. However, with the social nature of the blogosphere (the power of the link and comments) ostricism can and will happen. That's something to be aware of when thinking of weblogs as the next big thing in media.
"Gregg Easterbrook and Me"
Like many states, Wisconsin is under severe bugetary pains. So, what does Gov. Doyle want to do? Have every school provide breakfast for kids. It's not just conservatives like myself who question further government intrusion into families' lives. School administrators are questioning the idea.
And Dave Schmidt, superintendent of the Waukesha School District, said his district already provides meals where the need exists, at four schools that have children from low-income families who tend to benefit most from the program, he said. But the other 20 schools in the district don't serve a morning meal because it's not needed, he said.
"Doyle Calls for School Breakfasts Statewide"
Senators Back from Iraq
A group of Senators told reporters of their recent visit to Iraq. Sen. Mitch McConnell pointed out the positive things happening there:
First, I know that all of you must have been taught in journalism school that only bad news is news. But I would argue that in Iraq, good news is news, because if you were there for the last 35 years, you saw nothing but atrocities. Saddam Hussein, as you well know, murdered 300,000 of his own citizens. And if you're an Iraqi, you're probably living in a safer environment today than you were during that period, particularly if you've made a mistake and uttered your opinion on something.
Sen. Lincoln Chafee, a war opponent, spoke of needed investment in Iraq:
I was also struck, as an opponent of the war that the people that we did meet with are happy to get the heavy boot of Saddam Hussein off their necks, and that came through very strongly. However, it's all still not a bed of roses. Somebody is still killing us over there. And I think if we're going to turn the corner, as Ambassador Bremer says, we count on human intelligence, and that's a big word for they got to -- the Iraqi people have to rat-out the bad guys. And that's -- I think if we're going to turn the corner, we have to continue to invest in Iraq so that we can count on that human intelligence because that's going to make the difference.
"Senators in DoD Briefing Room Discuss Recent Congressional Delegation to Iraq"
Herbert Offers Real Perspective
The NY Times' Bob Herbert on the anger toward Ghettopoly:
Trust me, we've got some problems that are bigger than Ghettopoly. We've got insane young men who take their heavy armament into the street and shoot up the neighborhood, and then go back inside to listen to music that celebrates the act of shooting up the neighborhood. That is not a sign of a healthy culture.
"An Ugly Game" [via OxBlog]
October 17, 2003
The Future of TV
With gizmos like TiVo (where you can skip the commercials) and networks like HBO (where there aren't any commericals) I see the age of 100% pay-per-view television to soon be upon us. Our tv will contain a hard drive and connected to the Net. Shows will be downloaded to the tv to be viewed whenever we want. What's needed aren't regulations governing digital formats and equipment. What's needed is allowing the free market to work. If content producers offer their stuff full of bothersome control technology consumers will just no use it. We don't need a bunch of politicians making tech policy to "protect" consumers--the law of unintended consequences eventually bites you in the tush.
Senate Piles Debt on Iraq
If the Senate has it's way the embryonic free Iraq will be saddled with $20 billion in debt. For Democrats (some running for President) it was a way to stick it to President Bush. The House passed a bill without the $20 billion in loans. A conference committee will have to put together a deal. What I want to know is who actually thinks Iraq will pay the loan back? While progess is being made to rebuild the country they're in no condition to pay the U.S. (let alone pay off the debt racked up by Saddam). Burdening a country we want to see succeed with billions in debt isn't smart foreign policy. So, I'm joining this bi-partisan group of webloggers opposing the loans.
"House Clears $87 Billion Iraq Spending Bill"
Up a Brook Without a Paddle
Greg Easterbrook got hammered [and here] by webloggers for what appeared to be anti-semitic remarks. He posts the passage that caused the hoopla in his apology. When I first read it I didn't think it was anti-semetic but thought others would take it as such. For me to really think someone is an anti-semite I have to see a pattern. Easterbrook has no such pattern. Webloggers, like many in society, are too sensitive to being offended. Next time some writing seems offensive, stop, take a deep breath, and do a little research. Immediate posting of righteous indignation may provide immediate calm, but it's not serious discourse.
What a Racist Reagan Was
Via Orrin Judd:
The fact we never capitalized on [the relationship or letters], I think that's what made it work," Lee said. "That relationship was quite wonderful: an old white guy talking to a young black kid as a pen pal. That was a rare event . . . and something that kids don't do anymore. . . . It's a perfect example of the way the world should act."
"Notes From a Friend in High Places"
That Funny Michele
Michele enduring back pain:
When you need to spend a lot of time flat on your back, there's not much you can do, unless you're a hooker. So, when I got home from work early, at about 1:30, I chewed some Motrin, got on the couch and debated making some money while I was just laying there, but my husband didn't feel like going out and finding customers for me. So I read instead.
"Ramblings: Andrew Sullivan in Boxers, Nanny Diaries, Hooker and Marriage"
October 16, 2003
There Needs to Be a Winner
A problem (maybe the problem) in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is there hasn't been a winner. There hasn't been a point where the losing side accepts that the conflict is over, and they should adapt to new realities. That happened in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War II, and the Cold War. Besides the fact that many people would die on both sides, I almost wish Israel the Intifada like all the other wars that threatened the Jewish state's existence. Now, with Americans as targets maybe President Bush will give Sharon the leeway needed to end this conflict by force.
"Why Are We Helping The Palestinians?"
Palestinians Kill Americans
So, Palestinian terrorists weren't satisfied in blowing up Israelis. Now, they've moved on to Americans. These monsters sure didn't heed the lessons of Afghanistan and Iraq. Anytime we want, we can crush them.
"3 Americans Slain in Gaza Convoy Blast"
Ben Domenech on Terri Schiavo
Here's a portion of a fine, fine post:
What strange fashion of humanity is this? This dictum that sets the weak, the dull-witted, the deformed, the unborn, the elderly up as victims of our undying quest for quiet social efficiency? Have we lost what conscience we had left?
Terri is being killed because she's an inconvience to her husband who has "moved on." And the Florida courts become an accessory to the crime.
"The Conscious Death"
Hoystory responds to 60 Minutes II's story on Iraq intelligence. While it's become a broken record in the blogosphere, he points out that CBS claims President Bush's reason for the war was Iraq's imminent threat to the U.S. That is, of course, not true.
If anything happens to the guy that went after that foul ball in Game Six of the Cubs-Marlins series I'm holding The Smoking Gun partially responsible. Publishing his name and some of his bio is irresponsible. It doesn't add to the story. All it does is draw attention to the person.
Credit should go to the Chicago Tribune for not publishing Steven Bartman's name until he made a public statement. He's made himself publiclly known. I hope no crazy Cubs fan goes after him.
"The Fan: ' I am so Truly Sorry'"
"Marlins End Cubs' World Series Dream"
A Legal Kill
The Culture of Death claims another victory. Yesterday, doctors removed Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. Without it she will die in 7-10 days. Her husband claims that's what Terri wants. However, according to Janet Folger, Michael Schiavo would end up with a new family and $1.3 million if Terri dies. Terri's parents have found Michael's efforts to kill his wife for years. They argue Terri responds to them and could be rehabilitated. Doctors have testified that Terri's actions are only reflexes. Being able to communicate is not grounds for death. If that were the case then Stephen Hawking would be dead without his speech synthesizer. Terri isn't on a respirator or a heart and lung machine. She just needs a feeding tube to stay alive. Is she a burden on her family? Yes, but being a burden does not mean you can be killed. This case could have profound affects on how families and courts treat very disabled people.
And what a horrible way to die. Not eating for day can be painful. I can't imagine the suffering Terri will have to endure. Human rights activists scream for mercy toward terrorists held in Guantanamo Bay, but at least they are being fed. They are not trying to save Terri's life.
"Fla. Doctors Remove Woman's Feeding Tube"
"Fla. Court OKs Letting Woman Die"
October 15, 2003
The New York Observer reports that AlGore's new network will be called VTV. What will the V stand for? Victory? Video? Venom? Or just Very dumb?
UPDATE: We have an answer. Steve of Norway said the V stands for "Vociferous." Perfect for Mr. Tree.
Guantanamo Spy Had Files
Ahmed Fathy Mehalba, a civilian translator working at Guantanamo had hundred of files on computer disks when he was arrested last month. He's of Egyptian descent, but I wonder if there's a connection to Syria like the other two arrested for spying there.
"Guantanamo Translator Had Hundreds of Secret Files"
New Carnival of the Vanities
Priorities & Frivolities is hosting this week's Carnival. Enjoy.
Terrorists are Rational
Reilly at Boycott Hollywood questions a comment by the Archbishop of Canterbury:
You can be quite rational and still go out and commit a terrorist act. Rationality deals with the thought process terrorists engage in. If the terrorist's aim is to drive the United States out of the Middle East then a way to do that would be to increase the human costs for U.S. citizens. Taking the lives of thousands of people in New York and Washington, D.C. is a rational approach. Did it accomplish al-Qaeda's ends? No, but that doesn't mean bin Laden, et al. were irrational for carrying out the September 11 attacks. It just means they miscalculated. The opposite of rational behavior isn't irrational behavior it's, to use Ludwig von Mises' words, "a reactive response to stimuli on the part of the bodily organs and instincts which cannot be controlled by the volition of the person concerned."
Calling terrorists irrational takes away some of their moral responsibility. By calling them irrational we make them seem they're not in control of their actions. Let's remember these monsters want to kill as many people that get in the way of their goals. They plot out attacks with complete understanding that innocents will be killed. They're quite rational even if monstrously immoral.
Virtual Book Tour
Last night, Sylvia Browne stopped at my bookstore. Fortunately, I didn't work and have to deal with a few hundred fans of the psychic. Kevin Smokler has developed a way to promote books through weblogs. It's called the Virtual Book Tour. For one day, webloggers promote a book. They can interview the author, hand over the reigns to the weblog for a day, or some other creative activity.
Iraq War Hero
"Good News, Bad News"
Watch Me, I'm a Tree
Great, the AlGore channel. A network devoted to shows like Julia Butterfly Hill on location in tree houses around the world; SUV Update where the suburbanite's favorite vehicle is bashed while the show's host drives one himself; The Joe Conason Right-Wing Lies Hour where Joe and guests harp on Ann Coulter and Fox News every night; and AlGore's commentaries, sure to put the most hyperactive ADD sufferer to sleep. To fill in the rest of the time there will be live satellite pictures of earth from space. This is sure to be Must-See TV.
Democratic Presidential candidates must just love him.
This is why you have to love the Democrats. Just when the eight remaining original candidates for the Democratic nomination for President got out from under the California recall, they had to deal with Wesley Clark. Just when they thought they had a handle on General Wes, here comes Al Gore. Again.
"The Gore Cable Network"
Houston's Best Weblog
Kevin also publishes Reductio Ad Absurdum, another very good weblog.
October 14, 2003
I know someone who'll be looking for a new home far from Chicago after he finds a plastic surgeon at 11:00 p.m.
The Heat is On
A new Bonfire of the Vanities is out. If you think you write a lame weblog, don't fret. Read a few submissions to see how bad webloggers (like myself) can really be.
Nebraska Player Punches Fan
After Nebraska's loss to Missouri Saturday, an angry Cornhusker took his emotions out on a Tigers fan by decking him. As you can see in this video clip, #29 punches someone in the face. The fan crumbles to the ground. According to the Cornhuskers website, #29 is Kellen Huston, but while not being able to clearly see the name on the attacker's jersey, it doesn't look like Huston. No one has filed a complaint or made any arrests.
Robert Reynolds, the Ohio State player who choked Badger QB Jim Sorgi on nation-wide cable television apologized publicly and will serve a one-game suspension. This is what he said:
I'd like to start out by apologizing again to Coach Alvarez and Jim Sorgi for my actions during the game. You know, it was uncharacteristic of me, and I lost my poise for one second, and, as a result, I have to sit out this next game. And I'd like to apologize to my teammates for my actions also, and to my family for having them had to put up with what I've done and just hope we can move on from this. And I'm positive that this will never happen again and is definitely not in my character to do this.
It sounds sincere and missing one game seem appropriate. This event is done with as far as I'm concerned.
"Reynolds Meets With Media To Apologize Publicly"
Things are getting better in Iraq despite all the bad news you see and read in most news reports. Most importantly, good progress is being made to build a democratic republic as Thomas Friedman notes.
October 13, 2003
Guess who said this:
Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave the lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports. For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months, and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM.
You'd think it was some crazy neo-conservative intent on turning Iraq into the 51st. state to be an example for the rest of the Middle East. If you guess that, you're wrong! It was President Bill Clinton who said these words in 1998.
The Weekly Standard then once again makes THE case for war in Iraq:
We have retold this long story for one simple reason: This is why George W. Bush and Tony Blair and Jose Maria Aznar led their governments and a host of others to war to remove the Saddam Hussein regime in March 2003. It was not, in the first instance, to democratize the Middle East, although we have always believed and still believe that the building of a democratic Iraq, if the United States succeeds in doing so, will have a positive impact on the Arab world. It was not to increase the chances of an Arab-Israeli peace, although we still believe that the removal of a dangerous radical tyrant like Saddam Hussein may make that difficult task somewhat easier. It was not because we believed Saddam Hussein had ordered the September 11 attack, although we believe the links between Saddam and al Qaeda are becoming clearer every day (see Stephen F. Hayes's article on page 33 of this issue). Nor did the United States and its allies go to war because we believed that some quantity of "yellowcake" was making its way from Niger to Iraq, or that Saddam was minutes away from launching a nuclear weapon against Chicago. We never believed the threat from Saddam was "imminent" in that sense.
That's the pro-war argument (except for Tom Friedman's tangential case for toppeling Saddam to shake things up in Islamdom). Now, can the anti-war Bush-basher please offer a response without using straw men and misquotes?
"Why We Went to War"
Carnival of the Capitalists
The first ever edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists is now at Business Pundit. If you want to read business, finance, and economics posts the CotC is your thing.
Carnival of the Capitalists
The Second Superpower Scares Me
I'm finally getting my post-BloggerCon thoughts written down, but it's still a ways away from completion. To let you know what I'm contemplating I'll link to Jim Moore's essay on how the Internet is the catalyst for the creation of a movement the rivals the U.S. But it could threaten liberty. Listening to Moore at BloggerCon [webcast is here] gave me an eery feeling that I was listening to a 21th Century Robespierre. After reading his essay, my fear has only been strengthened. Moore is calling for his "Second Superpower" to transend the nation-state. This reeks of transnational progressivism.
"The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head"
October 12, 2003
Fans Rail on Linebacker
Ohio State fans are ticked at linebacker Robert Reynolds for what appeared to be a choke hold on Badgers QB Jim Sorgi. On a Buckeye's fan board, on person wrote:
I'm terribly ashamed to be a Buckeye fan today. Not for the loss so much as for the actions of Robert Reynolds. Had we won, it would have been scarred and shameful. To beat them by choking their quarterback . . . no.
"Buckeyes' Fans Pile on Linebacker"
A Beating in Beantown
I don't remember a sports rivarly this nasty since that Packer defensive lineman Charles Martin grabbed the Chicago Bears' QB Jim McMahon and slammed him into the turf.
"Book Details Bears-Packers Rivalry"
Despite a cheap shot (or choke) by a Buckeye defender, the Wisconsin Badgers pull off the program's biggest win since the 2000 Rose Bowl. After Badger QB Jim Sorgi left the game with an injured throat, Ohio State figured Wisconsin wouldn't use the pass with second-stringer Matt Schabert running the show. But Schabert showed everyone he had nerves of steel by running for important first downs and completing a beautiful throw to wide receiver Lee Evans in the fourth quarter to regain the lead.
Now, everybody sing along: "On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!..."
Or we could dance if the badger song site was up.
"Singing in the Showers"
October 11, 2003
Jeff Jarvis is having a good post-BloggerCon conversation with Jay Rosen. Rosen came away with a similar feeling that I did:
Well, I would be cautious about proclaiming any revolution. That was the one thing in the Harvard conference I found unwise and unnecessary. The weblog is an exciting form, the Internet holds many marvels, and the more I think about it, the more different the emerging pattern seems — compared to what we’re used to with The Media. But it’s a big leap from, “wow, this is way different” to “the revolution is upon us.”
I promise in a day or two I'll post something on my BloggerCon experience. I will touch on the same revolutionary feeling Rosen talks about as well as why I was the token conservative there.
Capt. James Yee has been charged with two counts of failing to obey a lawful order. He hasn't been charged with espionage even though he was found in possession of classified materials. In the same AP story it mentions that a translator who worked at Guantanamo, Senior Airman Ahmed I. al-Halabi, is accused of gathering information to send to Syria. Yee studied Islam in Syria. Coincidence? It looks like Syria has connections with prisoners at Guantanamo (including al-Qaeda?), or else why would they bother running a spy ring?
"Army Charges Chaplain at Guantanamo Bay"
October 10, 2003
Clarke at Bush Fundraiser
Milwaukee County Sheriff and Milwaukee city mayoral candidate David Clarke was at a President Bush fundraiser last week. In last year's sheriff's race, Clarke ran as a Democrat. This appearance as well as his many conversations on local talk radio reinforce the impression that he is a Republican.
"That Old Milwaukee Feeling for Bush May Be Waning"
Krispy Kreme Invades England
My how marketing is different when an American sweet goes British. Krispy Kreme opened its first store in England at Harrod's. In the U.S. one of these golden glazed goodies (the crack cocaine of junk food) goes for about $0.75 cents. Across the pond, the tactic is to make these donuts into a Starbucks-type gourmet item with an upscale price. Each donut there sells for $1.49.
"Krispy Kreme Tempts British Sweet Tooth"
Bo Black is Finished
Bo Black's almost 20-year reign running Summerfest is over. She stepped down three months before her contract expires. Entertainment director Bob Babisch takes her place until a permanent replacement is found.
"Summerfest's Black Steps Down Before Contract Expires"
Arnold's Win Isn't Revolutionary
Greg Easterbrook backs me up that Arnold's victory doesn't change the political make-up of California or the country:
In the last generation California has swung from super-liberal to ultra-conservative to establishment Republican to supposed Democratic permanent lock (political analysts were saying this just one year ago!) to, now, the first cybernetic governor--who does not represent any vast, sweeping shift either. He represents only what he is: a popular guy who won a gimmicky event at a time voters were ticked off. Remember how recently Jesse Ventura was supposed to totally, utterly transform state politics?
It's like the scare that came from Le Pen's second place win in France's Presidential primary last year. He only got 17% of the vote, was later crushed by Jaques Chirac in the general election, and people freaked out. Such bad instant analysis may be ok to fill up some spare time, but it's valueless compared to perspective.
New Politics on the Left Coast
This writer isn't the type to declare the political tides have shifted after on election, and one strange one at that. Unlike Roger Simon, I won't say the two-party system is receding. But Joel Kotkin's demographic analysis of the California recall hints at a new California politics. If true, expect the two parties to adjust their messages and approach new constituencies. Don't expect one or both of them to dry up and blow away.
Rush Drug Update
A reporter from the National Enquirer (I know, oxymoron.) was on a talk radio show in L.A. adding to the Rush Limbaugh drug story. Mike Walker, the reporter, said Rush was taking up to 30 OxyCotin a day, and that may have caused his deafness. Boston yapper Howie Carr put it bluntly last week when he said Rush is a junkie. People who hate Rush are salivating and can't get the word "hypocrite" out of their mouths fast enough. We should extend compassion to him even if he didn't extend it toward others. Rush fans (like myself) have to hope the police do a thorough investigation, and the prosecutors don't treat him more harshly just because he's a celebrity.
Battle of the Weblogs
John Cole covers a magazine weblog spat where Tapped's Richard Just calls a private school's ad in National Review racist. Jonah Goldberg responds.
Maybe Tapped writers should go back to posting anonymously.
"The Corner V. Tapped"
October 09, 2003
Neil Postman R.I.P.
Media critic Neil Postman died last Sunday. For a medium so in tune with the workings of media, I would have expected to have known about this sooner. My exposure to Postman was Technopoly. It was a good criticism of the need to use new technology for its own sake instead of trying to fit it into a full human life. Jay Rosen, a BloggerCon attendee, was a student of Postman and has posted some thoughts.
"Neil Postman (1931-2003): Some Recollections"
One way to cut down on e-mail (solicited and unsolicited) is to have your e-mail alias shut down. Anyone who's been trying to send e-mail to shackbar--at--free-market(dot)net probably has had it bounce back. Free-market.net has come under some money troubles and has rolled out a new encrypted e-mail service. After briefly looking at the specs I don't know if it provides a basic alias. So, until further notice, send any e-mail to sean--at--theamericanmind(dot)com or shackbar--at--yahoo(dot)com.
[UPDATE: I went through my member settings at Free-market.net and again activated my alias. I don't know if that will work. If it does, FMN will be getting a nice donation. If not, then I'll be up late tonight switching over a lot of e-mail lists.]
The Immigrant Contribution
One thing we can take away from Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory is how America has been richly blessed by the contributions of immigrants. It's cliche to say the U.S. is an immigrant nation, but that doesn't make it any less true. Think about it: it takes tremendous courage to give up the place of your birth, travel thousands of miles, and start a new life in a new world. Millions have done it because the promise of America was so appealing. We see in immigrants' lives hope, promise, fear, and frustration. It's human evolution within a lifetime.
You can get a glimpse of the immigrants' experience from Madhu's post on remembering an Indian broadsheet.
Dems Think Arnold's an Empty Suit
If Schwarzenegger is to fix California government's problems he's going to need the help of a Democratic-controlled legislature. From State Senator Sheila Kuehl's comments that doesn't look promising. The Dems don't respect the governor-elect at all:
He will be received civilly. We have received everyone civilly. I don’t know if everybody is going to go to the State of the State (speech). Because frankly I don’t think there is going to be a lot of content that anyone’s interested in. What’s this guy got to say to us about the state of the state? Nothing.
More on the Myth
In a given year, the number of divorces may well be half as large as the number of marriages that year, but this is comparing apples and oranges. The marriages being counted are only those marriages taking place within the given year, while the divorces that year are from marriages that took place over a period of decades. To say that half of all marriages end in diveroce, based on such statistics, would be like saying that half the population died last year if deaths were half as large as births. Just as most people were neither born nor died last year, so most marriages did not begin or end last year.
Sowell then uses some actual (though now dated) data to find out what portion of the population has been divorced:
According to census data for 1992, 11 percent of all adults who had ever been married were currently in the status of divorced persons. If 50 percent overstates the divorce rate, 11 percent does not include people who had been divorced but were now remarried, or those who were never married. However, these census statistics are relevant to the claim that traditional marriages are disappearing, for remarriages are still marriages. Married couples outnumbered unmarried couples by about 54 million to 3 million. (p. 59)
I still wonder if there is a longitudinal study going on where we can have some idea of what percentage of marriages in a given timeframe end in divorce.
Nobel Prize in Economics
Two statistical whiz-bangs won the Nobel in economics. I am not a statistical whiz-bang so I will withhold judgement.
UPDATE: Tyler Cowen has some links on the winners' work. He writes, "Very good picks, economists use their contributions all the time, note that their work is of less interest to the general public than is usually the case." Quite the understatement. [via The Knowledge Problem]
Kimball on Intellectuals
Bernard Chapin has a lively review of Roger Kimball's Lives of the Mind. In the review, Chapin quotes Kimball's definition of conservatism from a National Review article:
What, after all, is a conservative? He is someone who acknowledges the fragility of civilization, who seeks to conserve the manners and morals, the habits and prejudices that have enlivened society, preserved liberty, and opposed tyranny.
"Book Review: Lives of the Mind"
Here's a compliment from Fire of The Chapin Nation:
Sophisticated endeavor to be sure. I think you'll like it. This guy has done a good job. We could learn from him.
October 08, 2003
Go to Carnival
FBI Looking for Illegal Jordanians
Here's a blockbuster story from Milwaukee. An Arab businessman who used to run Arabian Fest (now called Arab World Fest) has been charged with illegally obtaining visas for Jordanians. Out of twelve people who remain in the U.S. because of the visas 5 live in the Milwaukee area, but 7 are missing. Mhammad Abu-Shawish used his position as Arabian Fest president and executive director to send official letters to Jordanians who took them to the U.S. Embassy to get visas. But the letter recipients came to the U.S. after Arabian Fest was held (usually in early September). FBI informants heard Abu-Shawish obtained sums as high as $10,000 for the letters.
Along with the fraudulent visa scam, Abu-Shawish is also accused of misusing a $75,000 federal block grant. He's accused Milwaukee alderman Robert Donovan of knowing about this scam. That makes Donovan the fourth alderman that we know who has been investigated by federal investigators in the last 1 1/2 years.
"Ex-Arab Fest Head Charged in Jordanians' Illegal Entry to U.S."
"As Allegations Unfold, Alderman Finds Himself Mired in FBI Investigation"
The newest Bonfire of the Vanities is up. This week, Kevin has added a twist. Readers can vote on the post that should be recalled.
How Clarke Can Win
Charlie Sykes looks at how Milwaukee could elect conservative David Clarke as the city's first black mayor.
"White Voters, Black Candidates"
My latest Freaks of the Week column is up on SportsBlog.
Oliver Willis on candidate weblogs:
If you expect the candidates to be blogging, you need to get out more. Especially for Bush, quite frankly if the leader of the free world is spending his time blogging in front of the fricking computer I'll introduce the articles of impeachment myself.
I'd help Oliver make it a bi-partisan issue if said President didn't add TAM to his blogroll.
Hasta La Vista Davis
After Arnold ever gets around to speaking, I'll be popping the only movie political watchers should be watching, Total Recall.
"Davis Loses; Schwarzenegger Wins"
October 07, 2003
NFL Joke Voting
Here's a reason why fans shouldn't vote for NFL rookie of the week. Jacksonville's QB Byron Leftwich threw for 336 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's a great performance even for a seasoned veteran. Yet he's down in the voting because hoards of Packers fans (including me) have stuffed the ballot for linebacker Nick Barnett. He had 12 tackles and one sack, but even I think Leftwich had a better week.
GW's Campaign Weblog
At BloggerCon there was a session on Presidential campaign weblogs. All the panelists were Democrats because Bush-Cheney 2004 didn't have one. I even mentioned that I was dissappointed so far with Bush-Cheney's Internet efforts. That's surprising since Patrick Ruffini, the campaign's webmaster, used the weblog medium to great effect.
But I spoke too soon Saturday. In my inbox was a link to the campaign's new weblog. For a new weblog it's not bad. I'm happy to know that it isn't being used to repackage press releases. There's only one post on a campaign event. The rest are links to news stories and opinion pieces the support the Bush-Cheney agenda. The weblog doesn't accept comments. It might not be that the campaign doesn't care about supporters' feedback so much as they've seen the Duck weblog and don't know how to handle a conversation that large. (At BC, the chief weblogger for the Duck said they were getting 2000 comments a day.) So it's being used as another way to get their message out (there is even a RSS feed!) instead of as a community organizer.
The "Half of All Marriages End in Divorce" Myth
Blog of the Moderate Left continues the myth that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. This claim comes from a superficial glance at some data. According to the National Center for Health Statistics via The World Almanac in 2001, there were 8.4 marriages per 1000 population. There were 4.0 divorces per 1000 population. All that tells us is that in sheer numbers there were about twice as many marriages in 2001 than divorces. That doesn't tell us that half of all marriages formed in 2001 will end in divorce. Simple data like this doesn't allow us to make a conclusion either way. To do that we'd need to track a large sample of marriages.
"Jesse Layeth the Smack Down"
Global Flash Mob
They don't have any cultural and/or political significance but it's interesting watching this phenomenon just to see the birth, growth, and quick death of a fad. The high point for FMs might be 10.25. That's when there will be a Global Flash Mob. So, if you stumble upon a group of people flailing away like they're at a Grateful Dead concert but without the music. They might not be high on illegal drugs just flash mob kool-aid.
Gehry's Real Innovation
Frank Gehry's may be horrendous from an artistic perspective, but his company has made some innovations in how buildings get built. Gehry' encourages close contact with the builders before construction takes place. He said in a BusinessWeek article linked by Virginia Postrel,
We spend a lot more time with the subcontractors so when we get to the final drawings, we solve most of the technical problems. You know where you are going before you start construction, so you minimize the surprise from the owner's standpoint. You get all the bad news up front.
"Aesthetics is the Killer App"
New Republican Party
Daniel Weintraub posted a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dee Snider at an Arnold rally. He entitled the post, "The New Republican Party?" On a certain level it is. Arnold, Snider (or even Ted Nugent) aren't your stereotypical, staid Republican. Personally, I don't subscribe to the cliche GOP look. This picture is not what comes into your mind when you think of a conservative Republican. [Yes, I did the Hot or Not thing. That dirty laundry is now out in the open.] Back in college there were a few years where I, at most, got two haircuts in a year. (Eye, can you confirm that?) So with the long hair and the goatee I called myself the Human Hairball. Thankfully, there are no pictures of those years floating around the Net, but with this mention that will change. At College Republican state conventions (college politicos' excuse to satisfy their politics addictions while getting drunk at the same time) I took it as a badge of honor to be one of the few CRs with an earring. I thought (and still think) that too many members of the party are too straight-laced. Of the two major parties, the GOP is the freedom party. Even in the last decade I've noticed a greater live and let live tolerance from party folk.
Unlike the Democrats, we openly discuss the abortion issue at meetings. The GOP is more accepting of heterodox opinions. In my case, I oppose the death penalty and tried to remove pro-death penalty resolutions from CR platforms. (Again, the Eye can confirm.) I was a distinct minority, yet tolerated. So from the standpoint of issues, the GOP is accomdating. Yet when it comes to personal appearance they take the subdued approach.
If the allegations against Schwarzenegger that he's a serial groper are true, do Republicans want that in a party leader? Is the New GOP such a big tent that even sexual assaulters have a place at the table? (Boy, would Sen. Bob Packwood be mad. He was a few years too early.) It's not good for the GOP to accept that attitude of a California Republican woman who said, "In the '70s, if I wasn't groped, I was offended!" It sure looks hypocritical to accept Arnold's wandering hands while condeming President Clinton's "unique" use of a cigar.
On this I'm in agreement with Tom McClintock. If it's true Arnold did violate the rights of women as recently as 2000, then he has no business as California governor. He can still be a Republican and work to get Republicans elected, but the GOP has no use for a person who habitually ignores the equal freedom of others.
"The New Republican Party?"
Weblogs: The Next TheGlobe.com
Home sweet home. You'd think that sitting around for a few hours wouldn't drain you, but that's what travel does. At least I flew Midwest which has two-across seating so you aren't forced to know what perfume your neighbor is wearing. Midwest's baked-on-the-plane chocolate chip cookies are a plus too.
I unwound tonight with the Boston-A's game and the Indianapolis Colts' amazing comeback. But you don't read TAM to get the highlights of my day (or maybe you do). I know you guys are waiting with baited breath for my take on BloggerCon 2003. Don't fret, it's coming. I'll post some pictures I took too. Dan Bricklin was going photo-crazy at BC and caught Glenn Reynolds, Esther Dyson, and me in one. I have pictures with each individually. Lucky me!
To give you a taste of what thoughts are floating in my head, here's Oliver Willis' take on BC participants' wild-eyed view of weblogs:
Blogs are transformative tools, they're doing amazing things and they are enabling wonderful advances. On a personal level, if it weren't for blogs I wouldn't have improved as a writer (debatable, I guess) and there is certainly no way little old me would have made it on the front page of the Boston Globe. That's great for me on a personal level, but it ain't changing the world.
I want to let it be known that one of the highlights of BC for me was meeting Oliver. He and I disagree politically, but he's smart, can write, and knows his football.
"Deflating The Blog Bubble"
October 06, 2003
Odds and Ends
I'm still in an undisclosed location in the heart of the People's Republic of Cambridge. BloggerCon continued today with a number of different discussions and the event was opened up to more people. From meeting so many interesting people, hearing lots of provocative opinions, and coming away with some observations it will take me a little while to process it all. One quick observation is that I felt like the token Bush backer there. Sure, Glenn Reynolds, Eugene Volokh, and Jeff Jarvis (pro-war liberal) were there, but the place was filled with Duck devotees and Bush-bashers.
BC was a great way to spend my birthday (Saturday, 10.04). Now, I'll get to go home and celebrate with my family. My fun just won't stop.
The first Milwaukee flash mob took place on Wednesday. Doing a quick Google news search found zero media coverage so I'll reprint the discription of the mob from the Brew City Mob Yahoo Group:
The first (is it the first?) MFM was a success. Today at exactly 5:30, a crowd of approximately 40 people converged on the Starbucks at Farwell and Brady. We'd been instructed to act like tourists, calling our friends and telling them we were "in Milwaukee, at Starbucks!" We'd been instructed to act surprised about there being a Starbucks in Milwaukee.
Surprisingly (and thankfully) I didn't hear any mention of flash mobs at BC. To me, these little vignettes of cyberspace-meatspace community are a flash in the pan (pun intended) and only a fad.
UPDATE: Saturday night, I chatted with Kevin. He turned the conversation into a good post as to how I felt a little like a part of a circus freak show.
"BloggerCon (Job) Day 1 Update"
October 05, 2003
A Reason to Vote
Here's why Tobacco Road Fogey (thanks for the link) will vote:
I intend to make the leftists dig up at least one more homeless person to bribe and drive back and forth to the polls. The FogeyWife feels the same way, so that doubles the cost to the Democrats to cancel our votes.
Since the marginal value of a vote is close to zero, less economicaly rational reasons are needed. Making the opposition work that much harder sounds good to me.
"The Letter of the Day is P..."
Michele Knows Football
This post is one reason Michele's my favorite NY weblogger. If she weren't happily married I'd kiss her. Us weblogging Packers fans must stick together.
"On the Offensive"
October 04, 2003
Dummy Corp Outed
I'll see about posting my thoughts from the first day of BloggerCon later. But because of the spotty Net connection in my hotel and me being beat from a stimulating day among webloggers I'll just make a brief comment about Valarie Plame's dummy company that got outed with her.
If she was under such secret cover why didn't she donate $1000 to AlGore in 1999? That left a trail for foreign governments and investigative reporters to find. This story is just too strange. It certainly wouldn't make for much of a spy novel.
October 02, 2003
Another Nuclear Power
North Korea admits it's been processing spent nuclear rods to make nukes. While the U.S. has been busy with the Islamist War, NK took advantage of a stretched-thin U.S. military and may win concessions at the bargaining table. I put much (not all) of the blame on President Bill Clinton. He was the one who made the deal that supposedly shut down the NK nuclear program. Clinton is also the one who allowed the military to atrophy enough so the U.S. can't fight two wars simultaneously. Way to go Bill. You left the country you swore to protect vulnerable.
"North Korea Using Plutonium for Bomb Production"
By pandering to the race pimps (and Democratic Presidential candidates) I won't be bothering to turn on ESPN's NFL pre-game for the rest of the year. I accepted them dropping Sterling Sharpe and bringing in Rush Limbaugh, but the network couldn't take the heat from a comment of his that wasn't racist but used the word "black."
Plenty can and should be written, but I'm getting ready to go to Boston today for a vacation and BloggerCon. I'd like to say I'll have a computer with me, but my new toy still hasn't arrived in the mail. If it shows up today I'm having it FedEx-ed so I can have it for Day 1 of BloggerCon.
"Limbaugh Resigns from NFL Show"
Just Plain Weird
It's great to love a football team, but to go so far as to create a musical with a strange title like Packer Fans From Outer Space is just too much.
"Tickets Available For Packers Musical At Meyer Theatre"
October 01, 2003
I haven't found any stock weblogs. It should be a natural for this medium: it's geeky, there's a ton of info to wade through and filter, and people are interested in investing. CotC should help me discover some of these type of weblogs.
New Hampshire or Bust
The Free State Project has decided what state to take over for libertarianism.
Drum roll please...
And the winner is...
Granite state realtors can't wait for all the new business.
And He Can't Count
Julian Sanchez on my favorite Democratic Presidential candidate:
The header on the website of longshot candidate Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) is now referring to him as "the original blogger," which is an interesting way to describe his longstanding OCD habit of cataloging his every bowel movement for posterity in small notebooks. Does that make loons who've wandered the streets for years talking to voices in the air "the original cell phone users"?
"The Original Nutbag"
Carnival 54 Where are You?
This week's Carnival of the Vanities is available for your reading pleasure.
Pipes on the Guantanamo Spies
Plame/Wilson has taken attention from a very important story: the Islamist spies arrested for spying on Guantanomo Bay. Daniel Pipes was on The O'Reilly Factor to talk about the three arrests. Here's the essence of Pipes' point:
My view is that terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. Terrorism is what the enemy uses against us. We're not really defining the enemy when we talk about terrorism. We have to go a step further and talk about the enemy himself. And that is, I would say, those who support militant Islam. And that would apply to Khomeini, that would apply to Bin Laden, to al Qaeda...
"The Guantánamo Arrests – What Do They Mean?"
Pipes also names at six other Islamists who have used the U.S. military as a means to attack America. Most notable is John Allen Muhammad, one of the DC snipers.