March 31, 2004
First Reaction to Air America
I just listened to a few minutes of Janeane Garofalo on Air America. Why did she bother having Dave Chappelle as a guest? I haven't watched his show and can't remember ever watching any of his stand up, but on "The Majority Report" he's sputtering, stuttering, and mumbling about a recent incident with a airline gate agent and airport security. Garofalo wanted to talk about the Right's use of language, and Chappelle mumbles for five minutes making no particular point. The point of good talk radio (liberal or conservative) is to have something to say and do it in an entertaining manner. In the brief time I was listening, I heard nothing being said and wasn't entertained.
[via Oliver Willis]
UPDATE: Doc Searls has lots of material about the first group of stations airing Air America as well as some advice to become more Net-centric. Then there's Glenn with plenty of other reactions from the blogosphere.
Corporate Reform and Entrepreneurship
Stephen BoykoHere and Aron Gottesman have something to ponder when looking at the government's response to "Enronitus:"
What is ironic is that having demonstrated the virtues of the capitalistic system, American policy makers are now trying to recreate the governance regime of European ancestry. Sarbannes-Oxley type regulation is a large operational tax on job creation that gives rise to unintended consequences. The more top-tier regulatory commands strive for predictive capability, the more imprecise the management of micro-cap commercial activity. The more commands add costs to the micro-cap market, the greater the incentive to go underground and/or offshore to conduct business. This, in turn, causes the US micro-cap market to become less transparent, less innovative and less productive.
Belle Waring at Crooked Timber hates peeps. She hates them more than I do.
Here’s my special fun-filled Peeps trick: put a marshmallow Peep in the microwave (on a plate) and set for one minute. It’s a flaming orgy of sadistic Peeps-destruction! Mel Gibson’s got nothing on me (though I doubt the edifying spectacle will cause anyone to confess to murder.)
A peeps only redeeming quality is it gives you the ability to bite its head off. You can do your best Bill Murray Caddyshack impersonation with them.
My favorite Easter candy are the Reese's peanut butter eggs. If I find them on sale after Easter, I buy up as many as I can. They're bigger than ordinary Resse's peanut butter cups and have a different mouthfeel when you bite through the chocolate and into the peanut butter.
Dumb White Athlete
Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung told a reporter that Notre Dame had to lower their academic standards to "get the black athlete" and have a stronger football team. Boifromtroy has plenty to say [via SportsBlog]. Let me just add an interesting stat:
Percentage of black players on ND's football team: 55.2%
POP! There goes Hornung's theory.
"Hornung: Notre Dame Must Lower Standards"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Have Fun with This
Da Commissar discovered an old Russian map of Bloggahland. Oddly, TAM isn't on it even though it's older than most of the other weblogs named. But then, I don't remember meeting any Vodka-breathing Ruskies. Now, this is a more accurate map.
March 30, 2004
Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann told reporters:
"[He's] not very careful in how he handled his money."
"He is clearly negligent in handling his money."
"It appeared he engaged in some double billing."
These aren't good quotes to have directed at you eight days before an election. That's what happened today to Milwaukee Mayor Marvin Pratt. The District Attorney filed civil charges [pdf] against Pratt for campaign finance violations which could cost him $2500. Criminal charges could have been filed but some of the trips Pratt is accused of double billing for were beyond the statute of limitations. McCann said, "it would have been very proper for a district attorney to issue charges."
The double billing involves Pratt paying for city-related business trips out of his campaign account. He then got reimbursed by the city. Instead of returning the reimbursment to the campaign account he put it into his personal account. The former alderman's excuse is that because of other campaign expenses were paid out of his own pocket he was "owed" by the campaign.
Pratt has been surrounded by the tainted air of this campaign finance scandal for weeks. The D.A. has now provided an outside opinion that Pratt's campaign is extremely sloppy in its bookkeeping. With all this bad publicity, Pratt is dead even in the race for Milwaukee mayor. His opponent, ex-Congressman Tom Barrett, has been pummeling Pratt with radio ads. After all that rhetorical beating the race is only a dead heat. A good reason for that is Pratt's stranglehold on the Black vote. 80-90% have stuck internalized Pratt's racially-charged message of "It's time." From listening to the response from Pratt's supporters on talk radio they've only been galvanized. They see this as an attack by the white establishment on a black man seeking Milwaukee's highest office. One supporter told the Journal Sentinel, "I'm still going to vote for Marvin. They're just scrutinizing him because he's trying to make a change for the black people."
Pratt has agreed to pay the fine and wants to move on.
"Pratt Charged with 5 Civil Campaign Violations"
"Undecided Voters Most Likely to React"
"Complaint Won't Slow Pratt Campaign"
"Pratt Campaign Ship Still Afloat"
Quote of the Day
H.J. Heinz Co. wants to squash the idea that ketchup sales with help or hurt Sen. John Kerry. A company spokesman had this laugh-out-loud comment:
It's just crazy. We haven't been involved in politics since Morris the Cat ran for president in 1988.
"Heinz Seeks to Disavow Kerry Connection" [via Drudge]
Gizomodo on Simputer
Joel Johnson at Gizmodo took the advice I e-mailed him and posted on the Indian Simputer. He's skeptical:
Although the Simputer originally had some innovate ideas, such as letting different users store their data on cheap, swappable memory cards and village-based software packages, it's unclear if the $240 monochrome PDA (a more expensive color version is available) is really that much better for Indians than anything else.
"Indian PDA 'Simputer' Launches"
Earlier yesterday, Dreamhost had a problem with one of their routers. That's why you couldn't read my insights. Since you're reading this DH got the problem fixed. This was the worst problem from DH in the three-plus years TAM has been hosted by them. Not bad. But it was annoying to have another tech problem come upon me after I fixed an earlier one.
On the new computer front, I'm going to wait until the updated WinXP comes out later this year. That is unless I find a really sweet deal on eBay.
March 29, 2004
Weekend Pundit and Dean both think people will be killed at the party conventions. I hope not, but with the virulent anti-Bush fury kindled by a Presidential candiate along with Net-powered organizing tools also used to some significant effect by that same candidate angry people will be out in force. I predict no protesters will die at the conventions. From my brief Google research, I found no report of anyone killed during the anti-WTO riots in Seattle, and that's the worst-case scenerio I'd imagine in Boston and NYC.
Cool New Indian Handheld
John Kerry, Lou Dobbs, and the neo-mercantilists will shudder that a new handheld computer has been launched in India. The Simputer was designed for India's poor to cross the digital divide. The Linux-powered device is loaded with programs including a web browser, MP3 player, and an array of everyday productivity programs. The cheapest model sells for $240 while one loaded with a smartcard reader, built-in microphone and speakers, and a color screen goes for $480. Too bad for us living outside India. It's not being sold internationaly...yet.
"Cheap Handheld Computers Sold in India"
March 28, 2004
I'll Eat Like a Soprano
Tonight's the family is celebrating my sister's birthday. She wants Italian, and a Maggiano's recently opened up at Mayfair Mall so that's the plan. After returning from Phoenix and getting back into my work clothes, I noticed I ate a little too well. Five days of consuming big steaks, ballpark hotdogs, beer, and Applebee's bar food goes straight to the waist. Tonight, I'll tackle big plates of pasta. Luckily, I'm still at an age where I can adjust my diet and see the results quickly.
Over the past 12 hours I've had an WinME problem (first major one in 3+ years) with explorer not liking the WININET.DLL file. I fixed it using the help from this forum. This is a reason for having a multicomputer house. I would have had to enter purgatory by calling up Dell's help desk. Are they still sending calls to India? This incident has reminded me that I'm due for a new desktop loaded with WinXP, lots more memory, a big hard drive, a DVD player, and USB 2.0 so I could start thinking about getting an iPod. I rarely gameplay and use my computer mostly for surfing, weblogging, and (legal) music downloading. I'm partial to Dell because this machine has run so smoothly, but does anyone have any other suggestions for other companies? Are eMachines still as poorly constructed as I remember them? How about HP, Compaq, or Gateway?
March 27, 2004
If You Don't Know Then Shut Up
Sen. John Kerry blasted the White House for character assassination on Richard Clarke. You'd think that such a bold remark would come from some serious thinking. You'd think Kerry looked at Clarke's inconsistent statements. If you thought that, you'd be wrong. Here's what the AP's Nedra Pickler (That has to be a made up name) wrote near the end of the story:
Kerry, who spent much of the past week on vacation in Idaho, said he had not heard or read any of the testimony before the commission.
"Kerry Slams White House Attack on Clarke"
March 26, 2004
The Transportation Security Administration is yet another example of inefficient government:
About one-quarter of the nation's commercial airports no longer want government employees screening passengers and baggage, preferring private companies working under federal supervision, a congressman said Thursday.
The government is failing to effectively use scare resources because it doesn't have an incentive to economize. The only way a private business can make a profit is by taking in more money than it spends. To use a little bit of economic jargon, they try to maximize revenues while minimizing costs. If a private firm fails to at least balance out revenues with costs then it will cease to exist. Government, on the other hand, has no profit motive. The ultimate incentive is that politicians want to be re-elected. One way to do that is to appear to "do something" to solve a problem no matter how economically unsound it is. No conspiracy is needed. Blame doesn't have to be put on idiot bureaucrats. It's just a matter of incentives and not having the ability to collect and digest time and place-specific information. It's similar to why the Soviet Union's economy collapsed.
Finally, let me toot my horn and quote what I wrote almost two years ago:
Airport security was passed only for Congress and the President to demonstrate that they were doing something about airline security. They made no case that a properly monitored collection of private firms couldn't do the job better. (Europe contracts security out to private companies.) So now, we're stuck with nationalized airport security with all its bloat and inefficiency.
I told you so.
Thank God I'm Lutheran
Because I don't have to train myself to endure this.
March 25, 2004
Kerry's House of Ketchup #5
March Madness not only hit the basketball court but also Sen. Kerry's tomato-filled campaign. He took a break from campaigning and "meeting" with his foreign backers to ski. It was weird enough seeing a 60-year old man snowboarding, (but not weirder than an 80-year old man skydiving) but then we find out he called one of his Secret Service agents an "expletive" (to use the NY Times' word) for knocking him over on the slopes. Now, on to the posts.
March 24, 2004
Open for Submissions
Tomorrow, the next edition of Kerry's House of Ketchup will be unleashed upon the world. Send me your submissions. If I like them I'll link them. If I don't like them, try again next time. Jeff at Protein Wisdom, I won't forget you this time.
Abort or Fail
Bad news on the abortion front in Canada. A student was given a failing grade because he refused to take part in abortion procedures.
"Medical Student Being Failed at University of Manitoba for Not Providing Abortion Option"
Teen Bomber Stopped
March 23, 2004
Miss me? I've returned from 90 degrees and sunshine and come back to 40 degrees and rain. Normal posting will resume tomorrow evening. In the meantime, note that Condi Rice knew plenty about al-Qaeda before Richard Clarke had to talk down to her. Then, for you GOP-types in the West Bend/Washington County (WI) area, there is a Bush-Cheney training session tomorrow night. Here are the details:
Who: Bush Volunteers, Precinct Captains, and everyone who
I plan on attending.
March 22, 2004
More on McCain Comment
There's some local reaction to John McCain's Kerry-coddling last Friday. Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb wants some of that McCain "straight talk" the former Presidential candidate mentions often. For instance, Robb wants to know what was the overheated rhetoric that upset McCain. It didn't come from Vice President Dick Cheney because, as Robb writes, "I'm not sure Cheney is capable of inflamed rhetoric." If examining a Senator's past voting record isn't the "kind of rhetoric" that is "helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice" then what would the senior Senator from Arizona prefer?
"McCain's Spin on Kerry Defies 'Straight Talking'"
March 21, 2004
God Himself Touched These Arms
That photo is the best one I've taken so far. I'm going to have to invest in a new digital camera with a zoom lens when I come back next year.
Give Him a Pulitzer
Thomas Friedman has another column based on his trip to India. There's much I don't agree with him in this piece. He thinks it's important for India's future that the government run much of the infrastructure now being built in private enclaves. However, his on-site reporting give his readers a colorful, three-dimentional view of outsourcing, the most current issue in political economy. Next year, the Pulitzer committee shouldn't even bother with nominations. Just give Friedman the award. He's doing an outstanding job.
"Software of Democracy"
Expanding the Pie
Miguel Helft found an example of the job-creating benefits of outsourcing. Extending the division of labor worldwide isn't just a zero-sum game. Finding the cheapest, most efficient uses of scarce resources is what has brought Americans the rich lives they live today.
"Offshore Complexities: Jobs there Mean Jobs Here"
UPDATE: For further reading, Tyler Cowen has some interesting links.
McCain's Big Mouth
So, Friday was my first non-travel day on vacation. I was all set to relax, watch baseball, and let nothing bother me. Unfortunately, I bought that day's Arizona Republic and what was on the front page but Sen. John McCain stabbing his President and party in the back. I can respect McCain's opinion that Sen. John Kerry isn't soft on defense (his voting record proves otherwise), but he didn't have to state his displeasure publically. McCain is also not pleased with tactics of the Presidential campaigns. He said they're "not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice." The Arizona Senator provided no specifics to what he called "the most negative campaign earlier than I've ever seen" (you can thank the Democrats for moving up and compressing the primaries). Instead, McCain wants the candidates to talk about "Medicare, Social Security, education, what we're going to do about the deficit and overspending."
McCain's comments make little sense. He doesn't want to criticize Kerry, yet being a loyal Republican, he still backs President Bush. Why does McCain support Bush? Why does he want him to win over his friend? McCain didn't explain. McCain also wants the most important issue, national security, to be removed from the Presidential debate. Does he actually think there's little difference between Bush and Kerry when it comes to the Islamist War? The candidates have found plenty to disagree about.
What McCain has been silent about is the unintended consequences of his campaign finance/First Amendment restriction law. He hasn't said anything about the rise of the 527s or the George Soros pouring millions of his personal fortune into anti-Bush groups. I thought McCain wanted to get money out of politics. How come neither he nor Sen. Russ Feingold have taken responsibility for the distortion of political speech?
"McCain Backs Kerry Defense Record"
March 20, 2004
What Good Timing
Thank God, I'm on vacation. Because I don't feel the need to comment on the crud spewed by the anti-war/anti-Bush/anti-Israel/anti-America protesters. For commentary, I leave it to Michele.
"Do They Hear What I Hear?"
March 18, 2004
Off to Phoenix
I'm escaping the cold and snow of Wisconsin for a few days of sunny hotness in Arizona. The Brewers' Spring Training is in full gear, and I'll be there to catch the action. There's something really nice about sitting in a ballpark with a cold beer in hand watching baseball. If there are any TAM readers in the Phoenix area send me an e-mail (sean --at-- theamericanmind --dot--com) or leave a comment. Maybe we can have a confab. I am bringing a notebook computer and digital camera with me. Supposedly my hotel has Wi-Fi so I hope to do a little posting. If I can't then I'll catch you all next Wednesday.
No, Howard Dean, M.D. is not running for President again. He's now running Democracy for America. The weblog is still pumping away posts to satisfy the kool-aid drinkers. From his op/ed DfA is a rehash of his campaign platform except the person he wants you to vote for is Sen. Kerry, not Dean, M.D.
Part of me just wants him to go away, but another part salivates at the thought of more ridulous Deanisms that preach to his
"Dean Campaign Evolves, Refocuses"
Cuba and the Election
There are cracks in Florida's Cuban-American voting block. Some of these usually steadfast Republican voters say they'll vote for Sen. John Kerry. With Florida a toss-up state again in this year's election it could mean Bush defeat.
These Cuban-Americans say Bush hasn't done anything to forward the end of Castro's brutal regime. But after 40+ years opposing both Democratic and Republican Presidents only the Grim Reaper will end Castro's reign. These people seem too removed from reality. Castro, with his bloody resume known to all, doesn't threaten the U.S. like Islamists. Sep. 11, 2001 not only changed the U.S.'s approach to the Middle East and Europe, it also changed its focus. Islamism threatened to kill millions and topple our way of life. Since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro hasn't been that kind of threat.
I feel for the Cuban-American community. When Janet Reno and President Clinton allowed armed police to rip little Elian Gonzalez from a loving, free family and sent him to the communist prison island, it was an assault on all freedom-loving Americans. But even then I realized that American foreign policy toward Cuba had to change. The status quo of a unilateral embargo wasn't freeing a single Cuban. Instead, it has helped Castro rally Cubans against the Yanqui.
Do Cuban-Americans really think Sen. John Kerry will be tougher than President Bush? He didn't vote for Helms-Burton, but told a Florida audience he did. He told Tim Russert he wouldn't life sanctions, but then told the Miami Herald that some sanctions should be eased because "the isolation that in my judgment helps Castro." On the Elian Gonzalez affair, there's more circus-like contortions. Kerry didn't agree with sending Elian back to Cuba, but wanted him reunited with his father.
Many Cuban-Americans have lost faith in both parties. Maybe instead of blaming Presidents they should re-examine their premises.
"Cuban-Americans Look Beyond Bush"
"Kerry's Stances on Cuba Open to Attack"
My boss is an old Yes fan. When I mean old Yes, I'm talking about their art-rock, 19-minute songs/compositions, and post-psychadelic album covers. Me, I'm a Trevor Rabin-era Yes fan. He moved the band out of their progressive doldrums and into the domain of pop rock. While doing that they maintained their magnificant musicianship. I bring this up because Yes has come out with their old albums remastered and filled with bonus tracks. A few nights ago, my boss had Tormato playing in the store. (I wonder what the patrons were thinking?) My curiosity drove me to discover that 90125 had also been remastered. I bought it, and it hasn't left my CD player since. The remastering brighten all the instruments. The keyboards were crisp, and I heard vocal harmonies I never heard on my old CD. The bonus tracks include the Cinema (the band name before Jon Anderson joined) version of "It Can Happen," and an extended dance mix of "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and an a capella version of "Leave It." 90125 has stood the test of time. For an album born of the 80s there's no cheese factor. The songs are catchy and full of energy, and you will be amazed at the production. The layering of instruments and vocals is stellar.
Not That Infuential
BlogRunner put together another list that drops TAM down to #142 as "most influential reporters and bloggers on the web." That's down from #61 in an earlier analysis (I think. I can't make heads or tails of BlogRunner's methodology.). Intuitively, it feels better (or maybe I'm just not giving myself that much credit). There's still something weird when I'm ranked higher than James Joyner, OxBlog, NRO's The Corner, and Stephen Green all with much more traffic than TAM. This list inspires me to ask myself (and you by default) this question: Which would I/you rather be: influential or popular? That's not to say I/you can't be both, but which would I/you choose if I/you could only choose one?
For me, I'd rather be influential. I put a lot of mental effort into my writing. If I were just a popular read I'd be bummed that all my effort was going in one ear then out the other. Since I find ideas important having something sink into my readers is satisfying. The trouble is in the blogosphere popularity is more easily measurable by counting links and hits. "Influence" is much harder, if not impossible, to quantify.
[via Dave Winer]
Some GOP Humor
The RNC offered this limerick on St. Patrick's Day:
There once was a man from Nantucket,
"A Wee Bit of Mischief From the RNC…"
March 17, 2004
Things Won't Be the Same
Bummer. Kevin is taking maternity leave along with his wife.
Join in the Fun
The SportsBlog basketball pool has only five participants. I want more. Know this, blogosphere bragging rights are on the line as well as a dozen Krispy Kremes to the leader after the Sweet Sixteen. All the details are over at SportsBlog.
The loss of the Bush-supporting Popular Party in last Sunday's elections is more complicated than merely capituating to Islamist terrorists. The PP tried to spin the story and lost public confidence. Initial suspicion of ETA was reasonable, but when van with detonators and a Koran tape were found the PP should have backed away. That's not to say that many pro-socialist votes weren't to advance appeasement.
Kerry's House of Ketchup #4
Consider this latest edition the pre-NCAA basketball tournament edition. It's also for me this is the pre-Cactus League edition since I'll be headed down to Phoenix tomorrow to watch lots of baseball during the day (Go Brewers!) and lots of basketball at night (Go Badgers!).
UPDATE: I changed the date of this post because it was posted today. I was working on it yesterday when my web hosting company had a system outage. This post is also linked to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.
March 16, 2004
Aaron's Rantblog is hosting this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Influence? What Influence?
There's something wrong with BlogRunner's analysis of the most influential webloggers and reporters on the Web. The names at the top appear correct even if I'd change the rankings, but if you wander down to #61 you'll find me. I'm more influential than John Hawkins, Peggy Noonan, Power Line, and OxBlog? I don't think so. If I am then there's little correlation between influence and traffic.
March 15, 2004
In and Out
Last month, Wisconsin state law enforcement plugged into the Matrix database. Last week, they pulled that plug.
"Wisconsin, New York Unplug Matrix"
Wisconsin is one of the competitive states Kerry and Bush will be bombarding with ads and personal appearances. The 17 others are:
Sensing on SSM
Donald Sensing has written far more and far better than I on same-sex marriage. He has a WSJ essay (based on this post) arguing the marriage wars were lost with the introduction of the birth control pill. Sensing also has a solution to SSM: sever the church-state relationship. Think of it as a more fleshed out version of my compromise [also read this post].
Then read Dean's post, especially the comments.
Ignorance is Bliss
Mark Hasty will be helping us tournament junkies. His qualification: he's "a clergyperson who hasn't seen a single college basketball game all season." As long as he doesn't pick any of the #1 seeds to lose in the first round (even St. Joe's) he should be fine.
Bomb Defused in Karachi
Pakistani police defused a "huge car bomb" outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi. A 750-liter fertilizer bomb (think Oklahoma City) was found in the van. A member of the Karachi bomb squad said, "If this exploded it would have caused massive destruction." Any upcoming elections in Pakistan we should know about?
"Huge Car Bomb Found Near U.S. Consulate in Pakistan"
Some really good ladies deserve some attention. The UWGB women are headed west to play Houston next Saturday in the Women's Basketball Tournament.
"A Return Engagement for Resilient Phoenix"
For those interested, I set up a tournament pool. Details are over at SportsBlog.
"Pool Now Open"
Panthers in NIT
UMM gets its first NIT invitation. They play Rice Wednesday in Milwaukee.
"Panthers Preparing for First Trip to NIT"
March 14, 2004
It's Tournament Time
Print out your brackets, pour through the possibilities, and put on your prognostication hats. The teams have been picked, and the analysis and arguments have begun. At SportsBlog.org I've post my thoughts on Wisconsin getting a break by going to Milwaukee in the first round (and hopefully second).
"From Steel City to Brew City"
UPDATE: It's no surprise the Badgers make the front page of the Journal Sentinel.
"Staying Close to Home Fine with UW"
March 13, 2004
Submit to Ketchup
In the next day or two I will be posting another edition of [begin big, booming music] Kerry's House of Ketchup [end big, booming music]. This time, in addition to scouring my blogroll looking for good stuff, I'm opening it up to submissions. Send me your best Kerry-critical post from the past week. Let me state this up front: Kerry's House of Ketchup isn't a linkfest free-for-all like the Carnival of the Vanities and all its offspring. Like the NCAA basketball selection committee, I make the final decisions. Send links to email@example.com or leave a URL in the comments.
TAM Endorses Barrett
Next month, Milwaukee voters will chose its next mayor. After last month's primary the choices are either Tom Barrett, a former Congressman who never saw a tax increase he didn't vote for or acting mayor (by way of John Norquist's resignation) Marvin Pratt who is now being investigated for problems with his campaign funds. What a decision: either a liberal tax-and-spender or a guy who could be indicted after the election.
Milwaukee is the most important city in Wisconsin. What's good for Milwaukee is usually good for the rest of the state. It's safe to say we all want a vibrant as an economic and cultural center. Neither Barrett nor Pratt are politicians I would ever vote for if running alone, but in this case they're not. For conservatives and non-liberals in Milwaukee it's a choice of picking the lesser of two evils. If I had to pick a candidate, I'd vote for Barrett. I do so because I know what I'd be getting: a Lefty career politician. However, he's been honest during his career. With Pratt there's too many storm clouds over his head. If Pratt were to win the election then be charged with mishandling his campaign account that would create chaos in city government. We'd all watch to see how long Pratt would try to resist the pressure to resign. When he did, there would be another election.
Another reason to back Barrett is Pratt's lack of fiscal responsibility. It's obvious Milwaukee's first black mayor can't manage his own campaign. If he can't handle his own campaign's finances why should he be trusted with the budget of a major American city? Barrett gets TAM's endorsement, lukewarm though it is.
"Inquiry Targets Pratt's Finances"
"Pratt Urged to Release Details on Finances"
March 12, 2004
"It is not raining. Madrid is crying"
Eleven million Spaniards marched against yesterday's bombings. Michele has some reaction.
"Millions in Madrid Protest Train Attacks"
March 11, 2004
A Spy in the House of Love
I don't know what "love" Susan Lindauer has, but it certainly isn't love of country. She's been indicted for spying for Saddam's Iraq. Now we know where some of that U.N. Oil-for-Food money went.
Another Bloody Eleventh
My prayers go out to the victims, their families, and all Spaniards. Spain stood with the U.S. in its dark hour. Now, we can return the favor. New York City, Washington, D.C., Bali, now Madrid. We're still at war, and we must win.
"Terror Blasts Kill at Least 192 in Spain"
And Then There Were None
St. Joseph's got their first loss today in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament. Details are at SportsBlog.org.
"Last Undefeated Team Gone"
Steve Verdon is hosting a good discussion on anarcho-capitalism. The idea still seems very pie-in-the-sky to me, but it provides plenty of food for thought.
"Defending the Anarcho-Capitalists"
Job Gains Under Bush
Bill Hobbs sent me a link to a Heritage Foundation study that tries to explain the disparities between the payroll survey and the household survey. If you look at the former it appears the economy isn't producing jobs, but if you look at the later there's been a "surge in employment." Tim Kane offers some explanations for the differences:
This is a technical and methodological question so I'm hoping some of my economist webloggers buddies offer their thoughts.
"Think Tank: Household Survey Accurate, Employment Surges"
Abu Abbas: "Martyr"
Here's another reason to despise Yasser Arafat:
Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, yesterday mourned the death of the "martyr" who masterminded the hijacking of a cruise ship in which a wheelchair-bound American tourist was shot dead and his body dumped overboard.
And we should be surprised suicide bombing is an accepted form of aggression in Palestine?
Somehow Laurence is taking this calmly.
"Arafat Hails Cruise Ship Hijacker as 'Martyr'"
On Kerry's F-Bombs
A virus is a strange explanation for the f-word being found on Sen. John Kerry's website.
A spokesman for Kerry said he believed the Web site was struck by "a virus'' yesterday. He then promised to get back to us with a better story, but never did.
Maybe some yet-undiscovered virus struck both Rolling Stone and Men's Journal just at times when Kerry articles were being written.
Kerry's spokeman either has no idea what pages on the website Drudge wrote about or is an imbecile.
"Kerry’s Web Site Keeps FCC on the Run"
March 10, 2004
Kerry's House of Ketchup #3
Welcome to another edition. We have almost eight months of campaigning to put up with but already the gloves are off. President Bush let loose his first barrage of ads, and Sen. Kerry's Democratic allies went balistic. They complained Bush was "exploiting" Sep. 11, but these are the same types that had no problems using a racial murder in Texas to tar Bush [via The Chicago Report].
The big news today (to me) was the big meeting between Kerry and Dean, M.D. Dr. Duck's statement after the meeting was as boring as a political statement could be. What most struck me was Duck, M.D. not backing away from his bombastic campaign rhetoric. At one point Dean, M.D. said, "I think Senator Kerry is clearly not the person to carry the banner of the Democratic Party because he has acted so much like a Republican". No recanting today. Going from zero to hero back to zero took so much energy out of the doctor. Oh, and by the way, Kerry called Republicans "crooked." Will Collier has a great response.
Now, onto the blogosphere:
Low Primary Turnout
Democrats may not be as revved up as Terry McAuliffe thinks:
At the height of this year's presidential primaries, on Feb. 20, Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe declared that "people are turning out in record numbers" -- even though in the Virginia primary 10 days earlier, the 7.5 percent of Democrats who voted failed to match the only previous Democratic primary, and the figure was well below the 13.2 percent of Republicans who voted in their party's 2000 primary.
I can understand Kerry not generating passion, but the whole Dean, M.D. aura was about bringing dissatisfied voters back to the polls. That didn't happen.
March 09, 2004
That was my score on the Libertarian Purity Test. According to the results I'm "a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much." That seems about right.
[via Professor Bainbridge]
Sep. 11 As Talking Point
Democrats have complained how President Bush "exploited" the Sep. 11 attacks in his first set of campaign ads. The widows complaining on television sound too much alike and too much like prepared talking heads. Have the Bush haters stooped so low? Listen and come to your own conclusion. Then read this Debra Saunders column where she points out that one group that loudly complained, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, is being helped by MoveOn.org.
"Tough One: 9/11 Families Coached"
March 08, 2004
Economics Posts Galore
Catallarchy.net is hosting this week's Carnival of the Capitalists. Read and become enlightened.
March 07, 2004
VDH on Book TV
Victor Davis Hanson is probably the second-most popular non-weblogging writer in the Conservative Blogosphere. He's also received a $500,000 advance for A War Like No Other, a book on the Peloponnesian War. Right now, he's talking about his writings in a taped discussion on C-SPAN2's Book TV.
"Right Way to Farm the Classics"
Why Didn't I Think of This?
For years I've been irritated when a politician (of any party) or a talking head yapped on about what the "American People" thought or speaks for them. Now, there's a website tracking this irritating, yet common, tic.
March 06, 2004
Give some love to Andy Wismar. His Wizblog is one year old.
No Justice No Quiche
March 05, 2004
It's (Not) a Good Thing
From what I've learned from barely following the Martha Stewart trial is echoed by an InstaPundit reader:
So, am I correct in assuming she has been found guilty of covering up crimes the government couldn't prove she committed?
She wasn't found guilty of insider trading or securities fraud just hiding stuff from the feds.
"Martha Stewart Guilty of All Counts"
The talk of Green Bay getting Drew Henson has really quieted. Now, Favre's heir might be Titans' back-up QB Billy Volek. He's big and tough like Favre, but can the Packers fit him under the salary cap?
"Packers Eye Volek as QB"
[Cross-posted to SportsBlog.org.]
March 04, 2004
Another SSM Compromise
Sen. Orrin Hatch has a marriage amendment that might be a workable compromise:
Civil marriage shall be defined in each state by the legislature or the citizens thereof. Nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to require that marriage or its benefits be extended to any union other than that of a man and a woman.
The principle of federalism remains intact. States could legalize same-sex marriage if they wanted to. More importantly, it prevents activist federal judges from claiming the legislative function as their own.
What will trouble social conservatives is that even if this amendment were added to the constitution SSM would probably be legal in every state within 20 years. Also, the amendment wouldn't directly address more creative marriage structures (polygamy, consentual incest, etc.).
U.N.: Miserable Failure
The rather lame "miserable failure" Google bombing has been waged against President Bush, Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, and Sen. Hillary Clinton. However, the true example of a miserable failure is the United Nations for getting hoodwinked for years while Saddam orchestrated a very profitable scam on its oil-for-food program. Companies doing business with Saddam's Iraq inflated costs and paid kickbacks to various foreign bank accounts. So, while ordinary Iraqis were suffering from malnutrition, Saddam and his Ba'athists lived in luxury. The U.N. doesn't have much of a defense. As the NY Times put it:
United Nations overseers say they were unaware of the systematic skimming of oil-for-food revenues. They were focused on running aid programs and assuring food deliveries, they add.
The image of three monkeys comes to mind.
Dr. Khidr Abbas, Iraq's interim minister of health, had this to say about those companies that aided Saddam:
I would say to them, it was very cruel to aid a dictator and his regime when all of you knew what the money was and where it was going. Instead of letting his resources dry up, you let the dictatorship last longer.
You could say that about the U.N. too.
News flash from CNN:
Hit by slumping box office sales for the iconic series, Japan's Toho Co. is planning to shelve its Godzilla films after this year's finale.
"Godzilla Taking a Break -- for Now"
Anger over Bush Commercials
Some families of Sep. 11th victims as well as Democrats are upset that President Bush used some clips of Ground Zero in his new campaign ads. Watch them yourself and see if he really was exploiting the deaths of three thousand people. They were tastefully done. There were no pictures of the planes crashing into the twin towers, and there weren't any shots of the towers crashing down.
To critics it seems Sep. 11 has to fall into the memory hole, or only victims and their families have the right to use those horrible images. Lucy Willett said, "He [Bush] should not be allowed to use those images at all." That's poppycock! Sep. 11 was an attack on all Americans. It attacked our way of life, our freedom, and our prosperity. All who witnessed those horrible events will forever be scarred. All Americans have a claim on those images and memories. Also, that fateful day changed America's foreign policy in a profound way. The post-Cold War era ended, and the nation was at war. Our national innocence was lost when we realized there were people out there with the desire and capability to kill thousands of our fellow citizens. President Bush saw this change and reacted decisively. No longer was international terrorism looked at as a task for law enforcement. No longer would the U.S. tolerate nations that harbored and helped terrorists. Because of al-Qaeda's alliance with the Taliban, Afghanistan became the first point of response. That nation's people were liberated from oppressive rule. Next came Saddam Hussein's Iraq. She too was liberated. Libya read the writing on the wall and gave up its WMD development instead of risking being another causalty to Bush's muscular anti-terrorism strategy. In any evaluation and defense of the President's first term, Sep. 11 plays the pivotal role.
For an off-beat, yet correct perspective, read Michele's post. Now, let's take Bush's critics to their logical extreme. If Bush can't use Sep. 11 images, then John Kerry has to stop mentioning his Vietnam War record. No longer should either candidate use women, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, dogs, cats, baseball games, picnics, American flags, eagles, soldiers, policemen, cars, trucks, trees, sappy West Wing-type string arrangements, celebrities, mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, clouds, flowers, bugs, newspaper headlines, or anything else as a means of persuation. The only ads that should run are 30 seconds of static with only the candidate blandly reciting a portion of his platform. (In the case of Kerry, he can't help but speak blandly.) Not even a whisp of "exploitation" or "manipulation" should be allowed because voters are nothing more than helpless sheep incapable of analyzing what they're watching.
"Sept. 11 Families Outraged by Bush Campaign Ad"
March 03, 2004
Moss in South Beach?
There's a big rumor involving my least-favorite NFL team. More at SportsBlog.org.
"Feeley to Moss?"
Sucking on the Hose
Kevin found a much-needed review of RSS readers. For such a whiz-bang and rapidly expanding technology RSS has tremendous promise. Unfortunately, I find the current set of readers (I occasionally use FeedReader) to be mediocre at best. I'll have to try out Aggreg8. It works with Mozilla and is free. On the down side is it works with Mozilla and the MT doesn't work well with Mozilla I'd need to have two browsers open to read and post.
"RSS Readers: Bringing the World to Your Desktop"
Duck Wins! Duck Wins!
Howard Dean, M.D. won the Vermont primary. What does it mean to get your first (and only) primary victory after you dropped out of the race? And what does it say for Kerry that he lost two-to-one to a man who wasn't even campaigning?
Also bad in its timing is a new children's book that came out yesterday:
"Dean Wins at Last, But Too Late"
March 02, 2004
Kerry's House of Ketchup #2
Welcome to the Super Tuesday edition of Kerry's House of Ketchup. For you last-minute undecided voters, Joshua Muravchik writes about "Kerry's Inner Dove." Mark Steyn is gathering a list of weapons systems Kerry's voted to cut. Then, National Journal reports Kerry is the most liberal member of the Senate.
For some more reading, here's material from the blogosphere:
New U.N. WMD Report
U.N. weapons inspectors will issue a report saying Saddam's Iraq didn't have WMD. That backs up David Kay's report. The U.S. is using the findings to see why there was such a disparity between intelligence findings and reality; but the U.N. would much rather engage in defensive postering than in self-appraisal. The U.N. was was just as wrong about Saddam's WMD as everyone else.
"U.N.: Iraq Had no WMD after 1994"
March 01, 2004
The Capitalist Pig
Not only is Jonathan Hoenig a financial talking head for Fox News, he also is managing member of a hedge fund, a book reviewer, and from looking at the Capitalistpig merchandise for sale, an Ayn Rand fan.
"Capitalism Best Cure for Dismal Education System"